Award Booking Service & Frequent Flyer Consulting

Having trouble using your miles for that dream trip? Consider using my travel consulting service, PointsPros!

My team of award consultants is comprised of savvy, passionate travelers. Between us, weโ€™ve experienced over 75 airlines, so we have direct knowledge of most products and airports.ย PointsPros can help redeem miles from different airlines, maximize American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points, advise you as to how best to minimize taxes and fees on award tickets, and ensure you’re getting the best possible value for your miles and points!

After we analyze the best approach for booking your award, we find the award availability, assist you with transferring points as necessary. We can even make the actual award booking, and select the best available seats for you.

I have a fantastic team of experienced travelers working with me to provide the most knowledgeable staff and best service, and we’d love the opportunity toย help make your dream travel a reality. Visit our website to learn more, or to get started on your next trip!

Please note that this is a paid service. If you have general questions on earning or using miles, or are looking for free tips and advice on booking your own trip, check out the Ask Lucky page for easy answers.

  1. Want to use American Express points to fly Bussiness Class to Vietnam in July.

    Which airline will give me the ticket for the least amount of points? Can I fly from New York into Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and out of Siem Reap Cambodia?

  2. @ sam — On most airlines you can do an open jaw ticket, which would be flying into one city and out of another, as you describe. The airline that would require the lowest number of points is entirely dependent upon the availability for the dates you need to travel. Feel free to send me an email at [email protected] with more details and I should be able to help out.

  3. I noticed you are a college student, and was just wondering how you are able to travel so much. I am a college student as well, and would love to be able to travel 300,000 miles per year and gain elite status. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or money.

  4. Lucky,

    I wanted to say how pleased I was with your award planning service. You handled the multiple changes, the time zone I was in (ie Singapore) and the never ending list of questions.

    Your service is worth every cent. I’m sorry it took so long to agree on a final itinerary.

    You are a true pro. I will definitely use you again.

    Moderator-EK Forum

    And tired 1K MM flier…

  5. I would like t o know how I can fly round tripMiami to London on Virgin using Amex points via ANA? I will pay you for your advice-we a
    are two people an have 130.000

  6. Lucky,
    Great blog- I need to know if I need your award help or not. Need to go to Ukraine next year with Mrs. via BA and 241 voucher. Will start in IAH and stopover in London and on to KBP. Is it easier to get awards in Business or First? Not usually a redemption issue but it will be during Soccer Euro 2012 hosted by Poland and Ukraine and I expect them to be more scarce. Should I call Call center 1 day before awards are released on internet?


  7. @ johnny — Generally speaking, first class awards are easier on BA than business class awards, and I find that to be especially true out of IAH. As far as whether or not you need my help, you are looking at a basic roundtrip, so if you plan far out and are persistent, you should probably be able to do it on your own. Otherwise, I’m always around!

  8. Hi Ben,
    My wife & I each have 100K BA miles & would like to fly Business Class BOI-MUC (this Sept. or Oct.) to visit a friend for a few days, buy tix to LHR, tour England and Scotland and then fly home from LHR (or maybe out of Scotland). I know we can use partner AS to get us from BOI to a gateway city. Does this sound like something I could do easily? We are flexible on dates & cities.


  9. @ Phil — British Airways does have pretty good award availability, and September and October aren’t *too* high season, so with a bit of flexibility that shouldn’t be too difficult. Just route through a hub with a lot of award availability (like DFW), and you should be good to go.

  10. Looking for two tickets to Denver CO from DCA or Dulless using points from American Express. When I phone Am Ex they tell me to call airlines first. Call the airlines and they tell me I have to transfer miles first. But how do I know which airlines to trsf to when I don’t have a reservation??

  11. Three of us flying in December LAX-BKK in business … what are our best options for award seats? How many miles needed?

  12. Hi Lucky,
    I have family in Hawaii so we fly out there alot I normaly fly out of Albuquerque NM on United and connect in SFO or LAX as it is cheper then doing ABQ-DEN-OGG or DEN-OGG. When I use miles I try to go for the SFO or LAX conections from ABQ way to much so I try direct from Denver and its perfect for me in terms of miles I would have to use can you please tell me why when I use money its cheper to go threw LAX or SFO then with miles and why its cheper to go threw Denver with miles then cash

  13. In April my United MP miles were about to expire. I tried to redeem them and a system glitch prevented me from being able to book anything. The miles then expired because I could not get support to fix the problem. It took me 6 weeks to get the miles back into my account, and now when I go in to book the same flights in July / Aug as before, they suddenly are 50,000 miles instead of 25.000. Is there a way to get them to give me the 25,000 rate? Also heard that on June 15th United is changing their MP redemptions too… will that help or will it not matter in this case?

  14. I recently got the Citi AA cards for both my DH and myself (150K each). I’m looking at for milessaver business class from SFO to CDG. However, there are no such award tickets available at this level. I’m looking out into march, april and may next year. I prefer to only use 100K for a round trip ticket. What aa shows on its website is 100K Anytime for one-way ticket. Do you have any suggestions? Should I try to redeem these miles on BA instead?


  15. Hi Lucky,

    The feedback on your PointsPros site is awesome. I’m just getting started building up miles and want to plan ahead to book a RT first class award trip to LHR next summer. I have about 63k combined miles with UA & CO. How can I find out how many miles I’ll need for the flight? And should I fly UA/CO or a Star Alliance partner? Thanks in advance!

  16. Hi there,
    Love this to my question..

    I was wondering if there are any credit cards that we Australian’s can sign up for in the USA that will give us Delta skymiles?? Seeing all the bonuses is driving me mad!!!
    Or any other ideas to boost our skymiles from “down under”.
    Thanks heaps
    Karen & Tony…..trying to get to the USA in style one point at a time ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Hey I heard you on NPR this morning! Excellent tip on the coin idea but what kind of overhead costs are there. It appears a $25 roll of $1 coins is about $35 plus $4.95 and $7.95 per bag for shipping. What’s the final cost of your award points then? Again man, really great site! Especially dig the picture story. Great comments hehehehe. Pat

  18. I have 2.7 million miles on American Aadvantage program and that gives me annual Platnium. Is there any benefit of having 3 million miles except for conversation sake? i.e. Exec Plat?

  19. I have 175,000 miles on BA and was looking to fly my self and a friend to australia/new zealand in march of 2012. I have two questions. First, does Qantas open up more award spots as the date gets closer, or do they put them all out up front and once they are gone they are gone? Also, when I went through and selected a flight there were over $600 in fuel surcharges and taxes per ticket. Is this common, or is it something I should call and ask to have removed as with the American situation you mention above?

    Thank you for your advice!

  20. we travel to Zurich from New York at least once a year to visit family. We would typically use points from amex to continental and go business first. (this is very important because my wife has back problems and simply can’t sit in coach for long stretches of time)

    The only airlines that fly to Zurich (nonstop) are: Swiss, Continental/UA; American & Delta (BUT Delta is summer only)

    I have about 600,000 amex points

    Should I transfer about 400,000 to Continental and then to UA (I do not like that idea because I do not know if I will like UA and I don’t like the idea of having so many points sitting at UA)

    Should I rely on the AmEx to BA transfer and then to AA when needed ( I don’t know what AA upgrade policy is or even if this is a viable solution)Apparently I can also use Unuted points on Swiss–that could be helpful

    Any other ideas?–I was confused by the advice I found in the net so far)

  21. (I am new to this website–where would I find a response (if any) to my post on firda–I apologize if inapproporiate to ask

  22. Quick question, who would you recommend Star Alliance wise for a mileage reward ticket (Singapore Airlines vs. Thai Airways) First or Business. Thinking about a trip to Asia for my 30th next year. Most likely Bangkok, also dying to go to Four Seasons Koh Samui, but main concern is over the water segment from LAX (home) or SFO.

  23. Warning! Under no circumstance transfer miles to British Air. They fraudulently advertise that you can take flights with your collected Avious milage but there flights are so limited that it is almost impossible to plan a flight on dates that you actually want to go. I tried 9 months in advance to get mid week tickets. They have plenty of flights available at full price but when I comes to actually redeeming miles they make it almost impossible, unless you want to go to perhaps Iceland in the dead of winter. I am getting the feeling they would like everyones miles to lapse before they actually have to honor their promises. I am thinking of a class action lawsuit for fraud and misrepresentation. Everyone who is collecting British miles beware.

  24. I want to book my flights using Delta Skymiles. When I checked online on Jan. 6 I got an award price of 62,500 per ticket. When I checked back the next day the same tickets were 80,000 each. Why the increase?

  25. Hey, was thinking to book a flight from SFO – MSQ may 13-15 and back on may 31-jun3rd using 150000 BA miles… for 2 people or is that even possible? also have chase preferred 70k which i rather not use…. Thanks, would use your service if it is possible

  26. Why is it that I got to United mileage awards chart and there is nothing there that applies—no chart; nothing enabling me to click on it to get to this nebulous chart…..

    What’s the deal????

  27. Lucky, I just got off the skype phone with UA (am Gold and 2,000 miles from lifetime 1 million); they say that from BNE (Brisbane) to LAX they have NO FF flights on Starwood, and none from SYD to LAX on UA, in Dec. and Jan. They also say that since the merger they cannot provide upgrade awards (from HIR options are to fly Solomon Air. to BNE, or to VLI or NAN and from there to LAX via Air Pacific (Fiji) or via ANZealand. Wanted to upgrade that. So looks like if I want biz RT need to fly Air Pac. (old biz seats) as no options under $6000! Ideas?

  28. OOPS meant Star Alliance. No award flights in Biz or First from BNE, and no way to even consider giving upgrade should I buy a revenue econ on ANZ or another that services BNE – LAX (SQ).

  29. @ Michael — As you know that’s absolute peak season, and unfortunately United has a complete shortage of options between Australia and the US. I’m afraid if you’re looking at using miles, the only option might be routing via Asia to the US, as that’s where the award availability is.

  30. Even the routing through Asis during that time looks tough…at least for Skyteam, not sure about Star Alliance. I’m trying to book award space to Thailand in December/January through KE (best product for Skyteam to Asia from NYC IMO) and it’s more difficult by the day. I know it’s peak season but there’s got to be something.

  31. We’re saving up UR points to transfer to UA for a SAA C tix Jan 2014 (SAN-JNB). So two quick questions:
    1) How does the cancellation of LHR-CPT affect the expected likelihood of award seat availability?
    2) Would it behoove us to make friends with an experienced traveler who might be able to make bookings for us ๐Ÿ˜‰ ??

  32. Hello! I am planning a trip with my wife and I to Singapore and Bali at the middle to end of July, 2013 I have over 600k miles with US Air. I would really, really love to cash them in for Singapore First Class from JFK. I know Singapore Air is very, very proud and stingy on their first class award tickets.

    At this point I am over a year from traveling…in the planning stages now. What are my chances for getting Singapore First Class tickets. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If not I will settle for Lufthansa First Class which I would be more than happy with as well.

    Thanks for your time and help!

  33. I am late in planning a trip from SFO-DEL in mid-late November’12 using DL miles. Tried searching AMS/CDG to DEL and nothing came up for the whole November (using Expertflyer). Have not checked KE yet.
    Any suggestions? In the end, I might have to resort to using AA or Star Alliance miles but I have tons of DL miles I would like to burn.

  34. Hi Lucky,

    Am trying to get 2 HKG – LAX F redemptions with US miles. I’m trying to route via Europe for travel towards the end of July. Am struggling to find anything decent. I’ve got 260k miles to play with.

    Any suggestions or help would be appreciated!

  35. What days / dates are considered “off peak”. I tried to schedule a flight for Aug.2,a Thursday, and the agent told me I would have to use 60,000 miles. If I traveled on Wednesday, the 1st, I could use 25,000.

  36. Does lufthansa also limit 1st class award tickets to a couple of weeks before actual flight for mileageplus going out of caracas venezuela or bogota colombia? i’m trying a june 2013 trip to singapore with wife and found only business class to frankfurt Then no problem in first with Thai. please let me know if due to the specific question i need to contact you directly at points pros. thanks.

  37. Lucky, have you thought about putting together city guides? ie hotel reviews, restaurant recommendations, and tourist suggestions? I know there is a lot of that stuff out there but I think your viewpoint is highly valued and for a nominal fee, say $4.99 I would certainly pay for guide from you. Just a thought.

  38. Lucky,
    Both my husband and I did the 100K points promo from BA last year. We don’t have any immediate plans to go to Europe. What’s the best way to make good use of the points for flights to Asia? Thanks.

  39. My Dad has a BA CC account. He can no longer travel. He has enough points for my brother and I to buy two tickets to the UK. What is the best way to transfer the points? Can he transfer the points?

  40. I NEED HELP! I convinced my fiancรฉ to sign up for the British Airways 100k offer so that we could put the miles toward our honeymoon. We had no specific destination in mind but she mentioned the following: Hawaii, Caribbean, Europe (Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Greece), Asia (Thailand, Vietnam). However, every destination I choose is not available for travel, racks up thousands of dollars in fees, and/or costs around 180k avios. Either I am missing something or this BA deal was a scam. I dread breaking the news to my fiancรฉ since it was all my idea to get the card (in fact, I even convinced her to get the card in her name and not mine because I am a grad student and had no consistent income). I just want to make her happy and start our marriage off right!

    Our travel info:
    From: Chicago
    To: see list above or any other recommended honeymoon spot
    Dates: May 27-June 9 (approx). We are getting married on May 25.
    Avios: 96,000 (currently)-130k

  41. @Aaron – those Avios points are not worthless. From Chicago, they are good for direct flights on American Airlines. Given that you have 100K Avios points and need 2 tickets, I’d redeem those for Hawaii or the Caribbean from Chicago. To get an idea of what flights are available, take a look at this interesting tool , and select OneWorld as your alliance option. Otherwise, you can get on and select “Award Travel” to get an idea of seats available. If you see anything in the “saver” class, then you can redeem those via British Airways. Good luck!

  42. Hello all. I have a trip planned to Europe and booked a round trip/stop-over and open jaw business class award ticket with Delta. My question is, I need to get from Paris to Rome by air since I don’t want to make the long train journey and waste the almost full day doing so. I have about 55K American Express Reward Points that I can change into lots of different air programs. Which European (or American) airline has the best and cheapest one way award tickets in at least a business class (we will have one large suitcase a piece – 65 to 70# so business would be cheaper than paying a luggage upgrade fee)?

  43. @ Richard — You’d be best off booking through Air France as they allow one-way awards and partner with Alitalia, so between those two airlines you’d have the most coverage between the two cities.

  44. I have 287,000 Delta Skymiles and would like to take faimly of 4 to England sometime in March. What would it take to fly someone other than Delta in Business class. Fly out of ATL. Thanks.

  45. @ AP — You’re looking at a minimum of 100,000 SkyMiles per person for roundtrip business class. And if Delta doesn’t have space you’ll want to focus on searching Air France.

  46. Lucky,

    I’m trying to plan a trip to Paris/Munich in the spring. We’ll be flying out of Tampa and have nearly 100k AA miles and ~140k UR points so I was thinking of trying for business/first tickets. Thought you might be able to provide some insight with your experience flying from Tampa. Is there a way to avoid flying through london and would I be able to take advantage of stopovers from Tampa?

  47. @ Viet — Given that you want to fly business class, your best option would be to use American miles in one direction (50,000 miles per person per direction in business class) and Ultimate Rewards points transferred to United in theo ther direction (50,000 miles per person per direction in business class).

    With American you’re allowed a stopover at the North American gateway city, so that would be whichever airport you depart the US from.

  48. Hi Lucky,

    I have roughly 125K ANA Mileage club miles which I transferred from Amex MR a year ago. I’d like to use the miles on ANA’s premium product from the east coast to Asia. Can you suggest a good routing which would maximize the stopovers and also which city is it best to depart from.


  49. @ Todd — ANA is extremely stingy with releasing first class award space, so the major challenge won’t be maximizing the routing but finding the space to begin with. The key is to travel January-March, when they actually release a fair amount of first class award space. Try to get on a flight coded as a “77W” instead of a “777,” as it will feature their newest first class product.

  50. I must have not specified clearly. It seems my 125K miles would not let me fly first class, but rather business class. I would like to be on their newest aisle access product. Is there an itinerary that would could suggest that would let me go to Tokyo as well as a few other asian cities, but still stay within the mileage band?

    thank you

  51. Hey Lucky!

    Wife and I BOTH just received our 40K bonus from the USAir Card…giving us 80K total.

    Any advice on what to do with these miles…anywhere close to enough for a Biz class trip to Carribbean/Europe….or should we wait another year and try and keep building those points up?

  52. Lucky, have you had any luck booking an award ticket with US Dividend Miles from NA to North Asia via Africa(JNB stopover)? I know Europe is OK but heard rumors that it’s possible to route/stopover in JNB too for the same 90K miles in C class. Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated it. Thanks!

  53. @ David — Technically you’re not supposed to be able to, though US Airways has no way of validating routings, so in practice you could probably get away with it with the right agent.

  54. We live in Iowa and the closest airport for us is Cedar Rapid (CID) but we can also use Moline (MLI). We are having a lot of trouble finding award flights during peak season such as spring break (March 16-24). We would love to go to a place such as Vegas, Miami, Hawaii or Seattle. However we can’t find any good award availability. The ones that are available are super expensive and I wonder if they are rational use of the points. Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.

  55. I have miles with American Airlines. I also have lots of ultimate rewards points and a good number of SPG points that I can transfer to other airlines.

  56. Hey Lucky – Sent an email to yesterday but it looks like the site is down or gone today. Is it still a thing? -Jake

  57. Trying to use Cathay Pacific points to book a trip on AA from JFK to LAX. Cathay says I need 30,000 points which I have. How do I see what flights have availability as there are literally hundreds of options non-stop and one-stop from NYC to LA??

    Thank you.

  58. @ Alex — I’d suggest searching award space on If “MileSaver” space shows as being available you should also be able to use Cathay Pacific miles for it.

  59. I’m in the process of planning a trip from DEN to SJO and am wanting to use my BA miles. I did this last year with a trip from SF to Hawaii. I know I can use AA but found a direct flight on Frontier (which partners with AA but not BA). Any tricks or work arounds that I could use? I’d so prefer the direct flight!

    Thanks for the help!


  60. Currently have a bunch of miles on my M&M account and I’m planning to book 5 award tickets in United domestic First Class NYC-ANC in July, is it douable? Where to find avabilty, because i will have to make a booking via call centre?

  61. Hi Lucky
    Long time reader. Maybe just some quick advice. My wife wants to take a trip to hong kong. I have plenty of Amex, UA, Ultimate rewards points. We want to go 1st class or at least business from EWR. what would be my best bet and cheapest in points. Thanks Hope to meet you in MacLean in April for the seminar

  62. Hi Lucky,
    Good stuff here. Quick question regarding AmEx points. Just got the Platinum card with the 100k points and am planning a trip to Italy (and would like to do a stopover in Paris). I also have 20k points through my corporate AmEx and an additional 40k through my Merrill Lynch Amex. Can I combine all of these AmEx points to book award travel, and in your experience what airline would be the best for the transfer? Thanks!

  63. @ SAM — Assuming they’re all Membership Rewards points then yes, you could transfer them all to a common partner airline. While you’d want to look at availability first your best bet might be a transfer to Delta SkyMiles for travel on Air France/Alitalia.

  64. How can I get a Delta flight from ATL to MUC for the base point rate of 60,000 miles? Even flights over 6 months out have inflated point rates of 90K to 130K. There has got to be some way to beat Delta’s scheme to screw you out of your points. Help!

  65. @ jay — Your best chance of finding the low level space is for travel on Air France, so I’d be sure you’re looking at routings through Paris as well. Be sure you’re always sorting by the number of miles required and not schedule.

  66. Lucky,

    Have you been able to book any tickets from LAX to MLE with Skymiles on Korean? I have the LAX-ICN flights but the DL agents are saying they can’t see KE 473/474, they only show it as being ICN-CMB, they dont show the continuation. Do you know the way to get around this? Thanks!

  67. @ Brit — Sorry, wish I did, though don’t have any experience with this. I’ve had no problems booking that flight.

  68. Hi Lucky,
    I love your blog. I’m booking a United economy ticket (revenue) for June 4-16, either SFO-FRA or SFO-LHR. I can do either, at any time, and could change the dates slightly. At this point, I can only get a waitlist for an award upgrade to Business class. I’m United Gold. Any suggestion on how to maximize the likelihood of getting upgraded?

  69. Hi Lucky, I have apx 710K UA miles and 230K USAir. I’m in the DC metro area. I’ve read what you say about LH only opening up first about 2 weeks prior to departure. I’d like to at least go LH business. Is it possible to get round trip on business, then change IAD-FRA or MUC to First and pay the change fee, while keeping the return leg on business, hoping FRA-IAD would open up at 2 weeks? As for US Air, how easy is it to get OS business, IAD-VIE? I’m flexible on the dates.

  70. @ Bruce — You can easily do what you’re describing with United miles though not US Airways miles, where you’d have to start from scratch for such a change. Austrian business seats shouldn’t be too tough using US Airways miles, though. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

  71. Hey Lucky,

    First, I’m a deal hunter (aside from airline miles), and I never knew this world existed. You’ve perked my interest and i thoroughly enjoy reading your blogss!!

    Would like your advise/thoughts on the possibility of the following. My parents want to go to Vietnam in December. I’m thinking with all of your ideas, would it remotely be possible to fly East coast–> European country (preferably paris, stay a few days)–BKK to Vietnam (10 days)–> then Japan (few days) , and call it a final destination in N. Asia?

    They both have USairway miles to redeem so if this pans out, or if the likelihood is even there, they’d use 90k.

    Would love your thoughts!

  72. @ KT — You’re only allowed one stopover in addition to the destination, so you can’t do a stopover in Europe, Vietnam, and Japan. If you decide to stop in Japan there’s a chance an agent would price it as North Asia, though it should be priced as South Asia.

  73. okay. sounds great thanks for the tip. The other question just to make sure.Lets say i wanna do the US-europe-Jpn trip via all business. If one of the leg is a United or USAIR where they don’t offer business, any strategy to get first class? or do i settle with economy for these flights for the 90k chance?

  74. @ KT — If you’re talking about a flight with three cabins, having even one segment in first class will cause the ticket to price at a first class award. For domestic segments on two cabin planes you can book first class without issue.

  75. I am clearly incapable of asking a question that does make sense! I’m trying to fly them CLT-CDG (USAIR), CDG-TYO, TYO-LAX, LAX-CLT….so i know CDG-TYO and TYO-LAX we can book business class with ANA…just wondering about CLT-CDG mainly because they only have envoy or economy….so from what you are saying, unless they pay for first class award, they would be booked for economy on the 90k trip right?

    Thanks again for your quick replies!

  76. I am trying to get 3 economy class tickets form JFk to Dubai for Feb 16th or 17th returning on 22 or 23rd. I have amex miles and alot of american airlines miles. I am flying with children so would prefer direct if psossible.

  77. A note of appreciation for the great job that Jimmy of PointsPros did in finding a way to use FF miles on my trip from the US to Switzerland via Mongolia.

    Just 90K miles, high season, all but 2 short segments in Business, no fuel surcharge…wahoo!

  78. With a Dividend Miles reward to Australia in business, can you route via Europe and Asia? (Is MIA-ZRH-NRT-AKL-NRT-FRA-MIA legal?)

  79. I’m deliberating if I should use (OR NOT USE) the BA companion certificate. I pretty much know that I have to fly BA metal and will not be able to get away from the hefty fuel surcharge; therefore, my dilemma is on what itinerary to use it.

    – Do you know of certain destinations in Europe (after the UK gateway) that have less expensive fuel surcharge?

    My husband and I are also open to go to Asia (via UK). I’d appreciate any information you can provide. Thanks in advance!

  80. I want to use my avios points for 4 flights from London to Los Angeles with a stopover in Washington, flying out end of July returning Mid August.I have accumulated a large number of BA Avios points over the years,approx 150000, but have no idea as to use these points to my best advantage. I would like to travel at least business class on one leg of my journey. BA site shows no availability for my time period. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  81. @ Bella — Are you searching for LHR to IAD and IAD to LAX separately? If so, any availability should automatically show up. Unfortunately over summer it can be really tough to come by award space.

  82. Is it still possible to book reward flights on Lufthansa/Swiss using Aeroplan? Also, why are ZRH-HKG and FRA-HKG blocked for one way for Aeroplan rewards? Is there a way around this?

  83. @ tapolo — What cabin are you looking at? There’s no reason they wouldn’t be bookable.

  84. Is it permissable to book a TYO-PEK roundtrip Business Class reward on SQ with Aeroplan and force the connection in SIN rather than the default options of ICN/PVG/KIX/etc.?

    e.g.: HND-SIN-PEK return PEK-SIN-HND?

    If you have the whole day to travel, you mise as well book SQ Business Class and make the connection in SIN rather than flying CA nonstop…

  85. I am trying to utilize American’s free one way. I will be in HNL and want to return to NYC, and then later in the year add on a free one way with a trip to say London. The only flights I can find back from HNL to NYC are ones that connect in LAX. By connecting, does that eliminate my chance of adding on the free one way later to London? Thanks.

  86. I have 233,000 american express membership points. I would like to cancel my card (they will not honor a sign up bonus that was promised)but am stuck until I can transfer the points out of the account. What is the best use of those points? I would transfer to Starwood but a 3 to 1 ratio is not very desirable. And no more United. Appreciate any advice. Thanks. And I am planning on going to Italy some time in 2013 if that helps …

  87. @ Karen — What do you plan on using your points for? I’d say generally Aeroplan, British Airways, and Delta are the best transfer partners.

  88. Hello Lucky: What do you consider the most aspirational award or premium product from US (we’re flying out of SFO) to Israel using Star Alliance or OneWorld (I also have MR and UR) miles?

    I understand you cannot book first class with El Al, although we would consider flying into Amman since we’d like to visit Jordan as well. Thanks for your thoughts on this–I haven’t found any discussion of this on the travel boards or blogs.

  89. @ Flyerdad — If you can snag the space I’d say that either Lufthansa or BA would be the two best airlines between San Francisco and Israel.

  90. Lucky,
    Long time reader…first time poster.
    Thank you for your blog!
    1. With United, Can I book 1 stopover per segment, or 1 stopover per round trip?
    2. If Lufthansa is not an option, is it worth it to use miles for first on united (to europe) or should I save them and do business class?
    3. Does do a good job of showing all star alliance availability?

    Thank you Thank you!!!!

  91. @ Michael — Thanks for reading!

    1) You can book one stopover on a roundtrip between regions.
    2) I’d do business class if you can’t get Lufthansa.
    3) It does, though it shows phantom award space at times (especially for Lufthansa first class), so I always suggest referencing ANA’s search tool to be sure.

  92. Lucky,

    Pete here again from Scotland! Will be U.S. this October, and I’ve got some time to travel. We have a friend in Thailand and I thought it’d be a great time to redeem some miles. 5 questions: (Sorry!)

    1) I’d love to fly First class on a 747 (I loved your trip report where you can see the runway on approach!). But since AA don’t have 747s, how can I book something using AA miles? Do I need to call AA by phone? And would I still be able to get something for 65k (which is what OMA-NRT costs with AA)?
    2) Could I get the NRT – BKK leg included for the mileage? Or it’s another region? If not it’s no big deal, it’s like $400 cash.
    3) Can you check availability of the front row seats in first cabin before booking? Since sitting right at the front would be the whole point.
    4) There’s a chance to do an out-of-the-way routing via the east coast. But if I’m booking an award ticket, trying to add extra distance is pointless since I’m not earning miles, right?
    5) And you’d recommend Cathay Pacific for 744 first class right?

  93. @ Pete —

    1)Unfortunately neither American or JAL have 747s, so there’s no way you could book an all partner award between the US and Asia 1 on a 747. That being said you can book an award to Asia 2 on Cathay Pacific on a 747, which is 67,500 miles in first class one-way.
    2) If you plan on connecting right away then you could book that for 67,500 miles in first class (the cost between the US and Asia 2). That being said if you have a stopover of any length you’d need to book it as a separate ticket.
    3) Absolutely.
    4) Generally there’s no reason to fly more than you have to unless you really enjoy it.
    5) Yes.

  94. @Lucky – thanks!

    Only follow up question on that – to redeem AA miles on a CX flight, do you need to transfer miles to different accounts? Or can you simply do it over the phone with AA?

    Also – I signed up for Asia Miles on CX website to check out award tickets, and it costs 130k miles for a one way in first class. How do you get it down to 65k…?

    Finally, I was trying to find your blog on the first class cabin again – is the view best from row 1 or row 2?

    Thanks again Ben, much appreciated!

  95. @ Pete — You don’t need to transfer miles. Each airline charges different mileage amounts, so if you have American miles you book through them with their award chart. Cathay Pacific has a different award chart for their own members than American has for travel on Cathay Pacific.

    Row one has the best view.

  96. I have *A award flight with United miles for me and a friend SIN-BKK-LHR-SFO (on TG to LHR then UA to SFO) already booked. Unfortunately he has had to back out of the trip. While I’ve found somebody to replace him, I’m wondering about the easiest way to rebook this new friend since award availability for that itinerary is no longer showing.

    I know you can’t change the name on the ticket, but wonder what tips you might have for rebooking under the new name? Can I split the award ticket and then cancel my friend’s itinerary? Once I do that will united and Thai make those seats immediately available again or is there a refresh time?

    Thanks for your help. I figured I’d ask your advice before calling united.

  97. @ Matt — That’s very risky. Technically you should be able to split the record, though finding an agent at United actually willing to do it is a whole different story.

    As far as booking a different passenger goes, the best you can do is cancel and hope the seats go back into inventory. If this was booked a while ago there’s a very good chance that the space won’t actually go back into inventory, so this is extremely risky. But it sounds like it’s the only option.

    Good luck!

  98. @Lucky

    Turns out that they can’t just cancel one ticket since it was partially booked on another airline. Apparently Thai would have cancelled both of us even if united split the reservation. They did say I could wait until after I check in and then call to cancel the second ticket, which is a workaround for that problem. However, since that trip is not until August I decided to cancel the whole ticket and rebook.

    Although the original availability hasn’t shown up yet, I have similar flights rebooked that I’m hoping to swap out as inventory becomes available. The reps on the 1k line were super helpful and proactive. I think they were also pretty intrigued about my trip, which I kind of like too.

    Btw – this trip is partially inspired by many of your trip reports. LAX – SIN before the A340’s go out of service, long weekend in singapore, then Connecting back through London with an overnight layover on the way to sfo. All on points/miles! Keep up the great work with your blog.

  99. Hello… I have an S Class ticket, Sao Paulo to Paris on Air France, and I am wondering about the possiblity of upgrading to business class using miles from Delta. Do you think this is possible. Thanks. Great blog!

  100. Lucky,
    I’m wondering if you think UA would do this…
    They have premium saver seats available from IAH – HNL on the date I want to depart. I’m in STL and there are no saver seats available on that day to get me to IAH. The day before, on the last flight to IAH from STL there is a saver seat. Do you know if it’s permissible for them to send on that flight and then the HNL the next morning with out charging me extra miles?

  101. I called them and they said I get one stopover per trip. They didn’t mention anything about less than 24 hrs. Know any way I can verifiy the 24 hr rule?

  102. Any thoughts on why saver avilability through UA for TPAC and TATL flights has dissapeared?

  103. @ Levy — Are you talking about for travel on United or just booking through United for travel on partner airlines?

  104. Hi Ben – i am looking at the UA site and availability on UA and partners appears to have dropped of a cliff. There are a few economy savers but premium appears largely gone. I do see parter award availability around non US parts of the world.

  105. @ Levy — Interesting, can’t say I’ve noticed that. What time of year are you looking at availability for?

  106. I am just looking generally. For instance put in any dates to LHR from SFO for June or July. No savers. Looks like the trans Atlantics savers have been pulled. I was seeing similar TPAC. All seemed fine 2 days ago.

  107. @ Levy — Can’t say I’ve noticed a big difference. Summer is generally a tough time to find award space, so I think you may just be having really bad luck. Sorry.

  108. well, thanks for looking. reassuring that you are not seeing a difference. I have been scanning and noticed an overnight change to availability through the UA site. I don’t think its just the summer. all seems to be hit from April through end of year. Anyway…

  109. I would like to use American Miles for two one way tickets from Cairns to SFO. I do not have a preference on airline or routing, as long as we are in at min business. what would be the best option for maximizing miles and comfort. Thank you. Frank

  110. @ Frank — While award space can be tough to come by, your best bet is to shoot for Qantas first or business class via Brisbane, Sydney, or Melbourne, connecting in Los Angeles. American’s website is pretty good about displaying award space for the route.

  111. Hi Lucky,

    Have you noticed that space in First Lufthansa LA to Frankfurt is virtually unavailable. Just Business Class. Any recommendations?

  112. @ Jesse — Yes, space out of both LAX and SFO is very difficult to come by in first class. If you want to fly first class I’d highly recommend connecting at one of their gateways that offer more first class availability, like Seattle.

  113. I’m interested in booking two award seats BOS-SIN, in coach, about 6 months out. UA shows availability for 65k miles per seat (rt) using LH and SQ (routings are BOS-MUC-SIN and SIN-FRA-BOS). I’d like to hold off booking for about a month so I can top off my MP account but I’m concerned that these seats might disappear. Is there a way that I can see how many of these seats exist for my travel dates?

    Even though I have expert mode enabled for my UA searches it does not help me here because these flights don’t show up at all for cash purchases, so I don’t see any fare classes. These flights show up only when I do a search for award flights.

    If there’s no way to see the exact number of seats, do you have a general sense of how many coach seats LH and SQ make available for award travel on Mileage Plus? If need be, I could top off my MP account by paying cash to transfer the needed miles (appx 15k miles) from my wife’s account which would allow me to book these seats now– do you suggest I do that?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  114. @ Steve W — The best way to see how many award seats are still available is by doing a “dummy” booking on Pretend you’re doing an award search, and continue to increase the number of passengers you’re searching for. You can see up to eight seats at a time this way, which should give you an idea of if they’re down to the last couple of seats or have quite a few more left.

    Generally speaking coach availability is quite good. I don’t think it’s a guarantee it’ll stick around for your dates, but if you have some flexibility there’s definitely a decent chance you’ll find what you’re looking for.

  115. Hi Lucky,
    I need to book 3 tickets for my grandchildren to come spend the summer. I have about 275,000 american express miles I can use. What complicates it is the children are unaccompanied minors and huge fuel surcharges. Any suggestions?

  116. Thanks, Lucky.
    Looks like there are 4 seats available outbound on my preferred day but only 2 seats on the return (and we have less flexibility on the return date). So I probably need to jump on these unless I go with another routing.

    If I do this booking, do you know if I’d be able to reserve specific seats in advance via the LH and SQ web sites? If I look at the seating charts for these specific flights & dates via ExpertFlyer, the SQ flights seem to have almost the entire cabin “blocked.” There are a couple of random (non-adjacent) handicapped-accessible seats seemingly open and a few seats are shown as occupied but everything else is blocked. Do you have any idea what that is about?

  117. @ SteveW — To the best of my knowledge Lufthansa allows coach seat assignments in advance, while Singapore doesn’t with a few exceptions (elite members, handicapped passengers, etc.).

  118. Lucky,

    I am planning a trip to Europe and was curious: what is the best star alliance business class product?

  119. I sent an email to the points pros Tuesday evening, haven’t heard anything yet. How long is the typical response time?

  120. Lucky,

    Hopefully, you have an answer for this. I purchased 2 Cathay Pacific tickets for my parents from LA to VIETNAM. How is eligible for the miles redemption? The passengers or the purchaser? Appreciate any info you can provide!

  121. P.S… also, forgot to mention that I was hoping to have the miles redeemed as BA Avios and not Asia miles.

  122. @ Thomas — Only the passenger traveling is eligible to accrue miles. That being said, with British Airways you can create a household account, so that you can pool the miles you earn from multiple family members.

  123. Hey Lucky,
    What is the typical turnaround time for an preliminary itinerary? I submitted my request on April 17 and after a couple back and forth emails to fill in the details in the first 24 hours…nothing. I followed up on April 25 asking for any kind of update…and still nothing. II am okay just receiving an email letting me know they are still working on it, but no communication or response in 12 days is pretty frustrating!

    Our dates are fast approaching and it is looking like that award seats are becoming more scarce…can you check into this or send me the contact info of someone else to get in touch with to see what is going on?

  124. @ Nate — I’m sorry, this somehow seems to have slipped through the cracks. We’ll be in touch very shortly, as you should have been responded to by now.

  125. Hi Lucky,

    I have some Sky Pass miles with Korean Airlines which I would like to transfer to my husband’s KLM Fly Blue account – is this possible? Nowhere on the Skypass website does it provide any information.
    Thanks for your help

  126. @ CharlieB — Unfortunately that’s not possible. Why Air France and Korean Air partner one another, it’s not possible to transfer miles between programs.

  127. Hello Mr Lucky!! How would i book four people with individual dividend miles account. If i bought extra miles for all of us my mom would just have 100,000 on her account. How would I give extra miles to her and my child.I have 55thou, wife,50thou son 15thou dividend miles. Amex 55thou. We also have each 20thou on sky miles. We are going to ORF to MNL (6 Jul-10 Aug)flexible dates. I would need 120,000 (Z) for each one of us correct.How long does it take to post to our dividend account if i bought miles.

    Thank you

  128. I am trying to maximize points for a month long trip husband and I are planning to London-Paris-Madrid with a couple intra Europe flights in 9/2014. Have already decided to hire your service for itinerary because I am pretty much clueless. My question is about whether to take advantage of the current 35% promotion for Avios points. Opened the Avios account but didn’t put in any points in it yet. Our home airport is SMF. Just want to be smart about this as I won’t have a large point total and the 35% promotion will help. Thanks.

  129. Lucky,
    Is there a better First Class product to HON,
    OGG or LIH from BOS, using USAir miles, than what USAir and United have to offer? I’ve flown both and it feels like I’m in coach but with a meal and a wider seat. I’m looking for something that looks and feels like First Class

  130. @ George — United flies internationally configured aircraft from some places in the US to Honolulu, so you may want to focus your search on those routes, as it’ll be a much better onboard experience.

  131. Lucky,
    I notice that you and your mom are heading to Bali via HKG. That’s exactly the route I want to take sometime in November. My husband and I have combine 320K Dividend Miles which I think enough for 2 biz/first class. He indicated that he’d like to try the at least A380 first class either to or from Bangkok. Would you be able to spare your exact routing outbound and inbound?

  132. @ Tiara — I’m actually on an American award for travel on Cathay Pacific, so your US Airways miles really wouldn’t be useful for that (yet). Your best bet if you want to fly A380 first class would be to connect through Europe and fly the Thai A380 from either Paris or Frankfurt to Bangkok, with connections on both end as part of the award.

    Hope that makes sense and let me know if you have any other questions.

  133. Lucky,
    Thanks for the info. As much as I want to try booking the award myself (self educate by reading your and other blogs), my husband suggested me to hire your service.
    After several discussions with my hubby, we kind of agree with the following routes
    Outbound: EWR-FRA or CDG – BKK – HKG (final destination). As you suggested, we are hoping to fly TG A380 first class from either FRA or CDG.
    While Inbound, starts from KUL and ends in EWR. In between, we are still not sure where we want to stopover. Maybe you can help designing the route. As always, your input and suggestions are greatly appreciated

  134. Thanks, Lucky. I will do that. I am just interested in where the extra 20,000 mile bump is… Mike

  135. Question about the USAIR/American merger. If I book a USAIR flight today…flying in November 2013 – will be flying with oneworld or Star Alliance?

  136. @ jamie D — When you book won’t matter, it’s all about when you fly. It’s anyone’s guess whether US Airways will be in Star Alliance or OneWorld, then. I’d say that’s right around the “cutoff” point of when they’ll make the switch, so it could go either way.

  137. Hi Ben,

    I sent an email a couple days ago on the requesting help for an award tickets (LAX-NOU) but have yet to get a reply.
    Are you still offering that service? Is the email working?


  138. @ Ben — In our sent folder it looks like we responded within two hours. Not sure whether there was an issue on our end or it went into your spam folder, but we sent the email again. Sorry about that!

  139. question on UA award ticket: When creating my itinerary, what is the maximum time I can have for each connection. For example, if I want to go LAX-HND-PVG can I find flights with 20 hour connection times so I can spend a day in Tokyo. If yes, how many times could I do this on a trip. LAX-HND-PVG-TPE?

    Thanks for your advice.

  140. @ AFS — On an international award you can stop for up to 24 hours without it being considered a stopover.

  141. Sir, thanks for all your wisdom. Question: I’m trying to book award tickets on Star Alliance from MAA to SFO on August 21 or 22, using United MileagePlus points. The United search engine shows plenty of availability next week, but zero in August. However, when I break down the itinerary into its component parts, e.g. MAA to BKK, BKK to NRT, and NRT to SFO, ExpertFlyer suggests that there are ample seats available on the needed dates. So is it just a matter of waiting until August to make the bookings, predicated on the thinking that award seats will open up then?

  142. @ Vishnudash — Generally speaking airlines open up more award space as the departure date approaches, so if you wait a few more weeks it’s quite likely that space will open up.

  143. Hi,
    was trying to book an award ticket on Delta FRA-DTW return and was shocked about the 500$ taxes and fees per ticket! Has there been a recent hike? If I book DTW-FRA return the taxes and fees are only 125$…

  144. @ Klaus — Delta has long imposed fuel surcharges on awards originating in Europe. Unfortunately there’s no way around this other than originating elsewhere.

  145. Is it in the realm of possibility to have a RT US-Thailand-US crossing both oceans with a stopover in SEZ? There is a FTer who claimed as such in the MP routing thread, but that was in May.

  146. @ James — In the past it was theoretically possible I suppose, though nowadays there’s a segment limit between the US and Asia of four segments per direction on a one-way or five segments per direction on a roundtrip. It would be very tough to stay below that limit and have SEZ in the itinerary.

  147. Would it be possible to price and book a valid routing, then call at a future date to change to desired flights without the complication of rules?

  148. @ James — Routings have to be validated every time a change is made, so that wouldn’t really be a way to “get around it” unfortunately.

  149. I would like to travel from Europe to Melbourne in August, using US Airways Miles and according to their chart it costs 120 000 in Business Class. I miss 20 000 miles so is there any shortcut to get them ? Of course as cheap as possible.

  150. @ Romuald — With any given promotion you can take advantage of both the “buy miles” and “share miles” promotion for a given account, so you should be able to get the remaining miles that way.

  151. @lucky – sorry I misunderstood your question. No I have not purchased with the last targeted promotion but did it in June.

  152. @ Romuald — Well if you’re eligible for the most recent promotion I’d go with that. Otherwise I’d wait another week or so till August in hopes of US Airways running another promotion on purchased miles.

  153. @lucky – Thanks a lot. I’m not eligible for the last promotion so I will wait and see. Cheers

  154. Hi Lucky,

    Can you help me please? I asked you this question on twitter and did not get a response.

    I read your post about ANA no longer imposing fuel surcharges. However, since I do not have enough miles, I cannot confirm this is the case now.

    Can you help at all or let me know where I can get help. Thanks in advance.

  155. @ Del — Sorry I missed your comment on Twitter. Due to the Starwood contest I was running my timeline looked a bit crazy and I had a hard time keeping up.

    ANA doesn’t impose fuel surcharges for travel on US Airways, and if booking online they don’t impose fuel surcharges for travel on United. However, by phone there are mixed reports as to whether or not they impose fuel surcharges on United.

  156. Hey Everyone,

    I consider myself fairly knowledgable when it comes to booking award tickets. I’ve had a lot of success in the past. That was before my family went from 2 to 4. Finding 4 business class seats at low award levels is a challenge.

    I hired despite thinking I didn’t need the expert advice. I did it more due to a lack of time.

    I can say that it was worth the time and money. I am now holding 4 business class seats at the low award level on my desired flights and date. Mac at PointsPros was beyond helpful counseling me not only on the intended itinerary, but also imparting knowledge that is allowing me to book other trips with tips and tool I didn’t know about prior.

    Simply put- even if you think you’re a Frequent Flier pro, it doesn’t hurt to consider this service.

    Thanks guys!

    Los Angeles, CA

  157. Can one avoid BA’s massive fees/surcharges by using BA Avios to book AA from continental US to Europe?…or will BA tack those fees/surcharges onto the AA flight which must be booked thru BA?

  158. @ kerry — Unfortunately BA still imposes those fuel surcharges for travel on American to Europe. That being said, they don’t for many other American routes, including domestic flights.

    If you want to go transatlantic with no (or limited) fuel surcharges you’ll want to focus on Air Berlin and Aer Lingus.

  159. I recently got the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Credit Card. Once you use the 2 days at the Hilton, can you cancel the card and re-apply to get the offer again? Thanks.

  160. @ Rick — Thanks so much for the kind words, really means a lot! I’ll pass on your comments to Mac as well.

  161. Lucky โ€” can PointsPros help with mileage runs? More specifically, I’m giving serious consideration to take AAdvantage (ha!) of AA’s new Fast Track offer and would like help in figuring out how to get to 30k miles by the end of the year.

    Thanks. Really enjoy your posts.

  162. Eva Air and Thai are shown on the Aeroplan site as bus class available options – London to Sydney. How do the two Air Canada classes of economy and bus/first equate when applied to Thai and Eva which have 3 classes. I want a flat bed. Bottom line: which class will I get if I book a bus ticket on EVA or Thai via Aeroplan Tks

  163. @ kelly — Thai business has flat beds on the A380 and select 777-300ERs. EVA Air Royal Laurel Class (which is their business class) has flat beds on a majority of 777-300ER aircraft.

  164. Tks. Aeroplan just told me that if you use bus/1st class points, EVA and Thai only give aeroplan their bus seats – so no flat beds. For that I need to go to Sydney on Air Canada or Lufthansa

  165. @ kely — EVA’s business class is flat bed, so you could indeed book that. If you wanted first class on Thai then you’d have to redeem for a first class award.

  166. hey lucky

    besides the one-hour full body massage at BKK, what can you recommend to do within a 2 hour overlay? cheers

  167. @ Daniel — I assume you’re in Thai Airways first class since you reference the hour long massage? If so the lounge is quite nice and it’s easy to kill a few hours there relaxing, as they have semi-private living rooms for first class passengers and a great menu.

  168. Lucky,

    Do you have an opinion on Air China business class? Specifically, I am looking at flights from SIN-PEK and PEK-SFO? Also, there would be 9 hour layover in PEK—is it a decent airport to pass the time? Thanks!

  169. @ Alok — Business class is quite good on their 777-300ERS, which feature a fully flat business class product. That being said, I believe they fly 747s to San Francisco, which unfortunately feature the old product, which isn’t nearly as good. I’d suggest routing through Los Angeles, if you can, which features their new business class product.

    Beijing Airport is reasonably nice — not my favorite in the world, but not the worst airport in which to kill time either.

  170. Lucky-One more question. Does Turkish Airlines have a lot of availability for business class from the US to MLE? UAL’s website shows mainly coach especially from Istanbul to Male. Thanks!

  171. @ Alok — They have a decent amount of award space as far as Istanbul, though between Istanbul and Male award space is somewhat tough to come by.

  172. Hi Lucky,

    Big fan of the blog. Appreciate any insight. Trying to go BOS-AMS (Sept 6-9) business class or First. I know, short time frame. Tried Aer Lingus, no seats. Can do AA to LHR, but it’s 100K each way + $400. I can replace the return leg with a BA first for 62.5k + $556. I’ve got 125kMM, 235kAA,105kUS, 52k Avios and 32kSPG. Thanks for any thoughts.


  173. I am currently Platinum Delta for 2013 and should be same next year. i am also Platinum Marriott and Starwood and should be next year. my question is my 35th wedding anniversary is coming in 2015 and I would like to take my wife on a dream trip on points to Bora Bora or Maldives so we could stay in those glass bottom rooms over the ocean. I’ve looked and it appears that Delta can’t get me there on points. my other question is which is the best place to go just for a relaxed anniversary (Bora Bora or Maldives). I believe Starwood has resorts on both.
    Suggestions??? Thanks in advance for your help

  174. @ Mike — Hmm, when you say Aer Lingus didn’t have seats, did you check that by calling BA or through some other method? Because the only accurate way to find their award space is by calling BA. They generally have excellent award space.

    You say you have 125K MM — is that Lufthansa Miles & More, or a different program?

  175. @ Jim — Actually Delta SkyMiles probably leave you best positioned of any mileage currency for travel to Tahiti (then you have to purchase your own tickets between Tahiti and Bora Bora). They partner with both Air France and Air Tahiti Nui, the two airlines flying nonstop between the US mainland and Tahiti. You can use ExpertFlyer, for example, to search award space on both carriers.

    Depending on how many points you have, there’s a beautiful Le Meridien and St. Regis in Bora Bora, both of which would be an excellent option.

  176. Just and FYI and you might already know this but the St Regis Bora Bora (cat 7) has limited participation with SPG because all rooms at the St. Regis Resort, Bora Bora are suites. Because of this Starpoint Award reservations must be booked at a higher Starpoint rate. And when they say higher they mean higher. The redemption range is 120,000 low 140,000 Ouch!

  177. Thanks Lucky. I did check with Executive Club on the Aer Lingus miles. No luck (pun intended ๐Ÿ™‚ – As things happen, my plans changed at the last minute and now I’m off to Dublin on the 17th instead of AMS this week. I was able to get an outbound on IE via BA – but not the return. Looks like my easist path is 100k one way back on AA, but it would be on a 757 and have to stop at JFK. Not sure there is another path. MM was my mistake (age) – it should have been MR (Amex). Thanks for the thoughts – they’re appreciated.


  178. Hi – I just found this site and am trying to book two o/w or r/t award tickets from DEN to PNN (Phnom Penh) or BKK (Bangkok)using Delta Skymiles. At the rates that I can find given my date range I am 30k short of the 210k I would need. Is it ever possible to use skymiles to book one way tickets on other Skyteam airlines? Or, any suggestions for finding lower mile awards on these routes (I could also fly from anywhere on the west coast if the price was right)>

  179. Hey Ben,
    Does Lufthansa block United’s domestic award space by any chance? I’m looking to book flights from SAN or LAX on nov 12th to BOS with miles and more miles, and while UA shows plenty of saver availability, lufthansa told me they had nothing available. Your expertise would be much appreciated, thanks!


  180. How far in advance do I need to try booking Lufthansa first class out of FRA to LAX? Trip to Europe planned for late spring and would like to experience First Class Terminal and FC on A380. My wife and I each have 55K Miles and More miles and enough SPG points to get to $85K. Will probably get to Europe on another currency (we have lots of UA, AA, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, etc.)

  181. @ Steve — Well keep in mind Lufthansa doesn’t fly the A380 to FRA. They do fly the 747-8 there, though, which is nearly as nice.

    I’d suggest booking ASAP as two seats can be really tough to snag on the route.

  182. Lucky,
    I’ve learned a lot from your blog…thanks! Now, I have to write to say that your PointsPro service is fantastic! We worked with Mero who booked a perfect itinerary for us from Portland to Dublin, Milan and London. Mero maximized use of our BA miles and minimized our $$ costs. From the time I submitted my initial request to having a finalized booking was less than 2 days (I don’t think Mero ever sleeps!) He kept us informed, paid attention to our priorities, offered options and helped problem solve… and did it all with a delightful sense of humor. We would not have been able to take this trip without the help of Mero and PointsPro. THANK YOU!

  183. Lucky: Can you suggest a service that handles Upgrades to already purchased tix. Specifically CX Prem Econ to Business using Asia Miles.Thanks for any help.

  184. @ pssteve — To be honest I don’t think there’s much value anyone can add if you already purchased your ticket. The best you can do is call Cathay Pacific and see if they have upgrade space. If they don’t you can add yourself to the waitlist, but there are no “tricks” to cutting the queue there.

  185. Hi Lucky,
    I booked a one way from SNA to London via Miami. SNA to MIA on 06/28/14. MIA to LHR on 07/01/14 in first class @ AA First MileSAAVER rate (62500). The booking is ticketed, so everything is good. But hereโ€™s the problem. Back when I made and purchased the reservation, the MIA to LHR was on 777 with row 1,2,3,4 in first class. I am in 3B. Yesterday while looking at my reservation, I noticed AA changed the equipment for the flight from a 777 to 77W and now the 77w first class is only row 1,2, so I will be seating in business class instead. How would you handle this issue where you booked first class and end up seating in business because the airline changed the aircraft? Thank you.

  186. @ BTM — You should absolutely still be seated in first class. I’d recommend calling American and they should be able to reconfirm your reservation and assign you a seat in row one or two.

    Enjoy the new first class product!

  187. Thank you Lucky for your quick reply. That was the solution I was thinking of. Unfortunately, first class is sold out on AA flight 56 on 07/01/14.

  188. @ BTM — Then you’re entitled to be rerouted through another city or another flight with in first class since that’s what you booked. It’s definitely not fair that they downgrade you.

  189. Unfortunately, I can’t be rerouted since my wife and son fly with me. My wife is actually in seat 2A so she’s definitely in first. I and my son is in 3D and 3G. Should I contact AA now or after I flew in July 2014? Am I entitled to a miles refund of the difference between first and business? Thank you.

  190. Hi there,

    Not sure you remember, but we spoke a while back about offering your award booking services in Brazil through a blog I was about to start. Remember?

    The blog didnยดt come out because of other business commitments, but I need some help…

    I am planning a round the world travel after the FIFA World Cup using AAs Explorer chart, sometime on September of next year.

    I currently have 280K miles on the account.

    Is this something you could help me with?



  191. @ BTM — You should receive a refund of the miles regardless of whether you contact them now or then. That being said, they should be able to reroute all three of you given the situation if you still wanted first class.

  192. @ Mark — Yes, we help with Explorer Awards, though our fee structure varies based on the complexity of the award given how time consuming they can be to book. Feel free to email us and we’ll see what we can do.

  193. Lucky: My sister & I were at the recent Chicago seminars. She is totally new to this hobby and went to your Award Booking session; whereas I went to the other in that time slot. She has SkyMiles and was confused about something you said. Apparently an award booking to Australia was mentioned, but it would cost list to do an additional trip from Australia to Bali and back; for a total award cost for less??? Can you add on to this, as she didn’t understand it. Is it because of Australia being in one region and Bali being in another; and AUstralia would be considered the stopover and Bali the destination?

    Looking forward to hearing from you. And, THANKS. We both went to your Mileage Run session and enjoyed.

    Sincerely, Anne

  194. @ Anne – That’s exactly right! If you look at the award chart for Delta you’ll see the pricing is different for each zone, and fewer miles are required for Indonesia than Australia.

  195. Hi Lucky!

    Had a quick question about what business class product you would suggest – HKG-IST-CDG on TK business, or HKG-BKK-CDG on TG business? for the HKG-IST segment I’ll be on TK B777, while on TG BKK-CDG would be on the A380 I believe.

    Which would you personally go for? The times are pretty similar, so I’m wondering which is the better choice. Thanks!!

  196. @ christopher — You really can’t go wrong with either option, though I’d probably go with Thai on the A380 for the better hard product.

  197. Thanks lucky! I did end up snagging those Thai seats since it turns out that HKG-BKK-CDG is all on A380. I’m definitely looking forward to it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  198. Hi Lucky –

    Sorry to bother again, but I am facing with another dilemma in terms of which airline to choose. In a segment from JFK-CDG, would you suggest taking JFK-FRA-CDG on LH B744, or JFK-IST-CDG on TK A330?

  199. @ christopher – For Business class I’d go with Turkish, personally. Lufthansa doesn’t have a great hard product on the 744.

  200. Hi Ben,
    Are you able to take new clients for award bookings?

    If not, can you tell me the better *A biz products to North Asia? My routing starts in PIT, final destination Thailand so separate award from N. Asia,

    Any way to get 2 stopovers? Really want to stop in Munich for Oktoberfest on the return.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

  201. Hi Lucky,

    I had a question about missed connections on partner airlines award travel. I’m currently traveling JFK-IST-CDG-BKK-HKG on a US airways award ticket, with all segments in J except IST-CDG (which is in Y). My JFK-IST and IST-CDG flights are operated by Turkish – I’m worried that if the JFK-IST flight is delayed, I would miss my IST-CDG and all the following flights.

    I had two questions about this:
    1) If this happens, what should I do – should I contact US airways to seek a reroute (seems impossible since there isn’t much award space from IST-HKG), or should I contact Turkish ground staff when I arrive in IST?

    2) If I contact ground staff in IST, will I be rebooked on some routing entirely in Y from IST-HKG, or do I have a shot at asking for a seat in J? I’m wondering since my only remaining flight with TK (IST-CDG) is in Y, but my CDG-BKK-HKG segments are in J with TG.

    Thank you in advance!!

  202. @ christopher — It gets really tricky when you misconnect on an award ticket, particular if multiple carriers are involved.

    In theory US Airways should be reissuing the ticket since it’s on their ticket “stock.” In practice if you misconnect you’ll want to see the Turkish ground staff and have them accommodate you on an alternative flight. It should as much as possible be in the same class of service you booked. Then you’ll want to call US Airways to make sure they reissue the ticket and that everything is in order.

  203. I’ve been reading your blog and collecting miles since may. thanks for all your tips. I’m finally ready to book my first award and I am not quite sure what is possible. I am looking to travel on UNITED from SYR to DPS with a stopover somewhere in Europe. Would I also be able to do an open jaw on the way there? for example: SYR -> OSL (stopover) -> LIH, KOA -> DPS (and then anything for the return flight).

    Am I following the rules? I will be going coach – does an itinerary like this keep me at the 135k mile mark? How do I find these segments, is this something I would have to call them to set up?

  204. @ adam — The issue here is doing to be the routing. You can’t route from the US to Asia via Europe and then Hawaii. The open jaw has to be at the turnaround point as well. That means you can only have that open jaw either between the city you’re originating and somewhere else, or between the city you’re terminating and somewhere else.

  205. Hey!
    Love this site. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how I as cheaply as possible can get 40k United miles? I am not in the US, so cards are out of the ballpark.

    I looked at Wyndham rewards (who discontinued their campaign now for 20% extra), but still, with 25% united bonus, i’d pay about $880 for 40k miles. Is there a better deal out there?


  206. @ Damon — Thanks for reading! The Wyndham offer is more or less as good as it’ll get. One other option is that United has an “award accelerator,” so if you book a ticket you can then double or triple your miles for roughly 2.2 cents each. Those miles post regardless of whether you cancel the ticket or not.

  207. Hey Lucky,

    Big fan of the blog and read you, gary leff, and the points guy daily. I started travelling for working a year ago and am just getting into the points and status game, and currently live in London. A lot of the award “sweet spot” lists I see out there are all for travel from the US. Do you have plans to do one focusing on awards from Europe? Or do you know of a countdown that exists? I’ve got 150k AA miles that I’d like to use sooner rather than later, since I fear a devaluation soon to bring them in line with UA and DL. Also have 150k URs that I could transfer to UA and use on *A before their devaluation goes into effect. Trying to not be a points hoarder with all these devaluations, but want to make sure I get some bang for my buck. Thanks man!

  208. @ Alexander Farmer — Stay tuned, I have a post tomorrow about the best award values originating outside the US. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for reading!

  209. Hi Lucky,

    Any update on the best award values outside the US post that you mentioned above? Appreciate your advice as always!


  210. Hi Lucky,
    Just got a confirmation for my world cup 2014 ticket ๐Ÿ™‚ so from your point of view what is the best program/solution for an award ticket from Europe to Brazil ?

  211. @ Romuald — Congrats on getting tickets! Unfortunately award space for the World Cup is virtually non-existent. The best I’ve been able to find are standard awards on American or high level awards on Delta, unfortunately.

  212. Hey Lucky,

    Love your blog! Keep up the good work! I have 260,000 UR, 130,000 MR, 300,000 Skymiles, 70,000 Starpoints (with access to 80,000 more Starpoints if I need it). Is it possible to get to SIN & Bali in First Class from ATL (2 tix)?

  213. @ Nick — Absolutely! Well you can do business for 140,000 SkyMiles per person if you wanted to, but you can’t redeem SkyMiles for first class.

    Otherwise it’s 140,000 miles roundtrip in first class to Bali through United, so if you can accrue 20,000 more Starpoints you’d have enough points there.

  214. Hey Lucky,

    I have 104,000 UR miles, 54,000 AA, 51,000 AA, and 25,000 United miles. I’de like to book a saver award ticket from east coast USA to SE Asia ( Bangkok , [preferally), departing Dec 13-14, and returning 29-29 DEC.

    If I have trouble finding saver award tickets, how much time does Points Pros need in order to find an apporpriate saver award?

    Thanks, and thanks for the blog!

  215. @ Dave — Thanks for reading! We can usually find itineraries within 24-48 hours. Let us know if we can be of assistance.

  216. i am trying to book US to seoul, seoul to munich(stop over), munich to US. i found availabe seats segment by segment( about 6 segments), reserved the award, and called to united because i was not able to book via online, ( it keeps giving me error message). i called to united miliage plus rep. gave my booking records( about 6 of them) ,but they were not able to book the flight. what am i doing wrong ? i thought i can book multiple legs if there are availble spaces. would you give me some hint or resources?

  217. thank you for replying so fast. it is legal routing(iad-nrt-icn, icn-muc-yys-iad). i reserved the award spaces through the online which has 6 different record locator. can that be the problem?

  218. @ joy — Do you mean YYZ (Toronto) or YVR (Vancouver)? I’m guessing the former. That should be a legal routing, so I’d recommend hanging up and calling again.

  219. Lucky, thanks again for an amazing blog. I have sort of a dilemma. I need to fly from Shanghai (PVG) – Stockholm (ARN) on either Nov 22, or Nov 23, preferrably 23. I found availability on Asiana.

    So, to my question. I can get about 65000 miles with United for $1300 and was wondering if you know any cheaper way I can get this One-Way ticket? I’d like to fly C, which is what the miles are used for. This is with United Awards, but I can gladly buy miles for any other programme, if it turns out cheaper since I’m in a bit of a cash crunch atm.

  220. @ Damon — For a one-way ticket in business class that sounds like just about the best deal out there. Enjoy the trip!

  221. Hi Ben,
    My PRG card is up for renewal in Feb and I don’t want to pay the fee. I have the AMEX Blue card so my points can sit dormant if need be but I’m trying to get from HKG to various places in Thailand next Sep. (CNX & USM), otherwise no immediate use. Is BA the best program to use for these flights? I can take advantage of the MR-BA transfer bonus now or is there a better way? I know Bankok Airways has reduced awards but that’ll likely cost me 20k+ Starpoints that I don’t really want to spend right now. Any ideas?

  222. @ Chris — For travel between Hong Kong and Thailand I’d definitely transfer to British Airways Avios. They’re easy because you can book online and can book one-ways, while other programs don’t make it nearly as easy.

  223. Happy Travels Lucky!

    I know you are the Guru of Lufthansa. Need your help please.
    Need to get First or Biz class award ticket for friend. Dec 3-7
    I have like 50k points on my SPG account and 90k on my AMEX Plt.
    I see Lufthansa has best flight option. Not sure what to transfer or use and time frame posted to account to use miles available.


  224. Lucky,
    Have a question. I want to book business class to TLV from BNA using 120 us airways miles in april. US airways shows no availability. United shows no availability from nashville either. However united shows availability from NYC. So my question is can i call US airways and have them book that NYC to TLV roundtrip and have them add on the BNA to NYC leg? Does that cost extra?

  225. @ Law Lit — Assuming you can keep it under the segment limit (of five in each direction) then you could absolutely include those positioning flights. Just look up availability for the individual sectors first, and once you find saver award space the whole way through call US Airways and give them all the flight numbers you want. It should price at the same cost.

  226. Perfect answer. I think the earning miles part is easier than learning to redeem. Didn’t know we can have “positioning” flights up to 5 sectors. Helps immensely. Thanks. Off to the ANA search tool

  227. Hey Lucky,

    I’ve been looking for flights to use my 90K US Airways miles on for a business flight from the US to Hong Kong (willing to go via Europe). I’m looking in particular for a departure date between December 18th and 23rd but it seems like availability is extremely low or just non existent. Is this just usual for the holiday period? Or do I need to wait until it gets even closer to the dates Thanks

  228. @ Michael — Yes, booking this late it’s not unusual to see little availability over the holidays. If you wait till a bit closer to departure there’s a chance more space will open up, though.

  229. Hi Lucky,

    I have 240,000 MR points and I’d like to book two round-trip first or business tickets from the US (preferably Chicago) to Seoul in March. What would my best option be?


  230. Thanks Lucky – that post was very helpful. I ended up going with SEA-TPE-ICN business class via ANA (787 Dreamliner) and EVA. Very excited!

  231. Hi Lucky,

    I am new to this but have been trying to pick up a few tips from you. I was able to take advantage of the US Airways sharing miles and now have about 120k to possibly book at trip to Australia. Please let me know what’s the best route to go about doing this…HELP!

  232. Hello Lucky, just a follow up on Hollie’s post. I’m looking to do a RT to India in first during Jan 2014 and are there any good options for this with USAirways miles?

  233. @ Jay – If you route via the Pacific you might have a shot at First on some of the Asian carriers, but the only real transatlantic first class option is United.

  234. Thanks Lucky, i figured as much.. well the United option is not really a “Real First” option right ๐Ÿ˜‰ First world problems ๐Ÿ˜€

    Are TG/OZ/ANA F bookable with USAir miles? I may just end up sucking up and using MR for SQ suite one way and CX F using AA miles the other way..USAir miles now are AA miles next year anyway…

  235. Hi Lucky,
    I’m stuck. I was looking to book some intra-asia flights with cash, but they’re coming back much more than expected. Do you know what the best program is for HKG-USM-CNX-HKG (or the reverse) for the two of us?

    All I can find is CNX-HKG or the reverse using Avios and everything on the ANA site for the other locations has a connection in Bangkok that I’d REALLY love to sidestep. I’m stumped.

  236. @ Jay — Yes, Asiana and Thai are almost always bookable through US, while some ANA space is blocked (though it’s still bookable on many routes). Good luck!

  237. @ Chris — The only other airline I can think of is Bangkok Airways for the shorter flight within Thailand at least, though that fare is usually pretty cheap. Between Hong Kong and Koh Samui I believe only Hong Kong Airlines flies that, and they don’t belong to an alliance.

  238. Hi Lucky,
    I just started in the miles game and I’m stuck.
    I’m trying to book a one-way going HND-BKK-CDG-YUL-LGA(all business except first on bkk-cdg) in October 2014 with 67500 miles through United but I called them twice and both mileage plus agents told me the price is 100k. Do you know why? I wasn’t sure if they were going to charge 67.5k(half of 135k roundtrip going west) or 80K(the highest leg BKK-CDG in first) but I didn’t think they would quote 100k on a one-way.

    I have a similar europe routing round-trip itinerary in Feb 2014 going JFK-FRA-LHR-NRT-ICN-JFK and this was 135k. So I don’t get why a one-way would cost more than half of a roundtrip’s 135K.

    Please help.

    Btwq, I check your blog multiple times throughout the day. Thanks for all the valuable info.

  239. @ Mike — Thanks for reading! United doesn’t let you route from the US to Japan via Southeast Asia and Europe, so you’re being charged separately for the flight to Bangkok, and then being charged for a one-way first class award from Southeast Asia to the US, unfortunately.

  240. Thanks to your information/tips I was able to secure two F Qantas from LAX-SYD in March. I couldn’t get 2 tickets coming back, so am doing UAL March 31 in F SYD-LAX.

    My question is, Can I add a flight to the end of the SYD-LAX, maybe LAX – New York or London for 6 months later? Would it require additional miles?

    If so, do I just find the flight that I want with availability and then call UAL and add it, paying any change fees?

    Thank you very much for your answer AND for the informative and entertaining posts every day!

  241. Lucky, any idea how early CX opens up F awards for SFO/LAX – HKG routes? I’m looking for tickets on Jan 17-19 window, and see only award till the 31st december open from Qantas and BA website. Or am i a too late for something to open up?

  242. @ Jay — You’re definitely on the late side, since I assume you’re talking January 2014? Space should open up eventually, it’s just a matter of time. There’s no timeline when they open up space, it all depends on how full the flight is. But I’d say it makes sense to monitor carefully since space may open up soon.

  243. Thanks Lucky yes 2104, I was just reading through your post on October about CX F availability, and 1 week out good availability on most US routes. So fingers crossed!

    Btwn, I was able to snag SIN-JFK on my return trip in SQ26 Suite!! Thanks to your posts, i’m looking forward to this aspirational flight!!! I picked seat 3A based on your recommendation with the 3 full windows too ๐Ÿ™‚

  244. Have you been able to book a US Airways award with a stopover where the travel occurs wholly within one region?
    For example: TYO-TPE(stop)-PEK-TYO


  245. @ kijo — Sorry I missed the question. United doesn’t allow any stopover of more than 24 hours on a one-way, so unfortunately you wouldn’t be able to add anything unless you wanted to connect right away.

  246. Woohoo! Snagged 2 nights in April at Koh Samui with Citi-Reserve Certificates. THANK YOU Ben for all the tips and tricks ๐Ÿ˜‰

    For flights – you replied earlier to suggest CX as the top option for AA miles – I’ve currently got BKK-AUH-LHR on hold in business class on Qatar. Really I’d love to fly CX through HKG, fly F in the 747 while I still can. I’ve been on JAL and Qantas websites daily for the last couple of weeks and availability it TOUGH! Is it worth waiting and hoping something shows up?

    Finally – re your BA A380 trips – did you bite the bullet and pay the fees or is there another way? Even if it’s pricey, it looks soooo cool… (esp. for a Brit!)


  247. @ Pete B — Qatar Airways through Abu Dhabi should be great as well, though I’m a bit confused. Are you booking a standard partner award? If so, as far as I know you can’t route through Abu Dhabi when traveling between Asia and Europe. If you somehow got them to price that as a single award then I’d say it’s a great option. If closer to departure Cathay Pacific opens up you can always switch to that.

    Regarding BA A380, I did unfortunately have to pay the fuel surcharges. There’s no way to avoid that.

  248. @Lucky I think so yes, just a regular award – after having the agent look at every possible CX option and finding nothing, I simply asked if she actually had ANY options for returning from BKK on those dates. She came up with the BKK-AUH-LHR route, priced at 52.5k in I. She seemed perfectly happy with it.

    I basically have 160k AA, 85k UA (+120k UR points), and 85k MR points. It’s for 2 passengers which is making it a little tougher.

    Would a routing via HKG-ICN be legal…? Seems to be plenty CX space there! And for either the outbound or return journey, we’ll probably burn 160k UA miles and try 2 tix in TG F or LH F…

    I’m getting the impression there’s no real rush since a lot of the space I’m looking for is as likely to pop up a few days before as any other time right…? Starting to enjoy this game ๐Ÿ˜‰

  249. The 45k AA trip in Qantas F from HKG-SYD looks sweet too, but then it really is a LONG way home… We’ve got 30k US miles each too and my wife has 65k AA herself.

  250. And apologies – the routing I’ve been talking about with Qatar is actually through DOH not AUH. Though that’s still a puzzle why that was allowed based on what you were saying…

  251. @ Pete B — For what it’s worth routing through the Middle East shouldn’t be legal per American’s rules, so I doubt it will actually ticket once you get to that point unfortunately.

    As far as HKG-ICN goes, not sure what the total itinerary would be there in relation to flying Cathay Pacific?

  252. Oh I see – I should probably call and find out then before I get too excited… The BKK-DOH would be on the 77W fully-flat business class too ๐Ÿ™

    Well for for the ICN – I guess BKK-HKG-ICN then the only direct flight back to LHR with OneWorld is BA I think, so $$$, otherwise it’d route via the U.S., eg ICN-DFW-LHR, and surely that would be too many regions right? Asia 2 to Europe, via Asia 1 AND US…?

    So I don’t really think it’d be an option, I just couldn’t help notice there’s more availability to & from ICN than almost anywhere else it seems like.

    Thanks for sharing Ben! Very much appreciated.

  253. @ Pete — You unfortunately can’t connect in the US or even Asia 1 when flying from Asia 2 to Europe.

  254. @Lucky Ok thanks so much!! Final question – if you had to chose between Thai First Class on 747-400 or A380-800, what would it be?

  255. I tried reaching you guys for the past 2 days so I figured I would post to your blog.

    Can you email me directly?

  256. @ Chuck — Sorry about that! It looks like we responded to your first email yesterday afternoon. Would you mind checking your spam folder? Otherwise happy to resend!

  257. Yup…found you in the spam folder!

    I just replied to Tiffany. I look forward to working with you guys.

  258. Hi again Lucky,

    I’m hoping to fly BKK-CDG in F in April. Really I’m getting back to the UK, just wanted that route to fly on the A380. There’s only 1 date in the next few months I can find with availability for 2 passengers and it’s in May. To get my foot in the door before the UA reward changes kick in, should I go ahead and book it, then call later to try changing the date?

    My only concern is that there’s barely any availability at all for the next few weeks/months on that route… maybe it’s better to give up on A380 in F and just book one of the 747 F options that I know I won’t have to change?

  259. @ Pete — Definitely a risk, as you mention. If space does later open up on the route you could only make the change if you locked in that exact route, while if space doesn’t open up you’re hosed. I’d probably go with a safer bet in your shoes.

  260. To be clearer, I’m using the UA website and it’s Thai that I’m looking at – looks like the only real choice. Final question – there’s plenty availability on the BKK-FRA route which is an A340 – is that anything special in F or would it be a waste of 80k miles per person…?

  261. @ Pete — It wouldn’t be a waste of miles, though the 747 and A380 product is substantially nicer than the A340.

  262. THANK YOU BEN! Managed to get 2 seats on A380 FRA-BKK. Thanks for your tips and tricks, I know it’s been said many a time on your blog, but this trip wouldn’t be happening without your stellar advice!

    Couple quick ones – they gave us 1F and 1K – I called UA but they said they don’t have access to seating, would have to call TG. Was planning to try and change to 1E and 1F I guess, but then I thought at least 1 of us having a window might be nice… Thoughts?

    Also, for BKK-USM I see TG flies that route but can’t get to price anything – could I call and use miles to pay for that leg or will it be $ only? Have spare UR points I can burn…

    THANKS!!! So stoked for A380…! Plan is to return BKK-HKG-Europe on CX 747 & 77W. Holding out for availability…

  263. @ Pete B — Woohoo, so happy to hear! I’d probably do either two center seats or two window seats in your case. Since the center seats are actually close together I’d probably go with those so you can talk. You’ll have to call Thai Airways to request the seats. Just give them your flight number and date, and they can assign you seats.

    As far as BKK-USM goes, in theory you can redeem miles for it, though award space can be REALLY tough to come by. If you don’t see it available on then unfortunately it won’t be bookable with United miles.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  264. Well they said most of the center seats are blocked currently, so will try back in a few weeks.

    I did have a question about SQ though – was looking to book USM-BKK on SQ and stopover in SIN (although are you allowed 24h+ stopovers with SQ…?) Anyway, besides the point – the website says the following:-

    “The Origin and Destination you have selected constitutes a backtrack routing. Backtracking is not permitted except as required by routing restrictions. Backtracking occurs when a journey does not continue in the same direction as that in which it was begun.”

    Huh? I know SIN is the wrong direction but seems weird to not be allowed since they do fly USM-SIN and also SIN-BKK right? Alternatively can krisflyer miles be redeemed on Bangkok Airways?


  265. @ Pete B — Unfortunately Koh Samui to Singapore to Bangkok isn’t a legal routing when flying between Koh Samui and Bangkok, so that wouldn’t be possible. You can’t redeem KrisFlyer miles for Bangkok Airways either.

  266. Hi Lucky,
    I have approx 185,000 miles on Turkish Airlines that I would like to use for a round trip F class ticket from BKK to USA (SFO or ORD) sometime this summer. I’m pretty flexible on dates, but I would like it to be either on ANA, SQ, or LH. I’m not sure even if I have the requisite miles, and am open to other suggestions if you think a B class ticket is a better (only) option. Please advise if this is more of PointsPro kinda of situation and I make use of that.

  267. @Lucky – have you noticed a significant drop in UA regional award saver availability? At first I thought it was a calendar bug, but I went through some 7-day transcon routes on ANA and it looks like the calendar is telling the truth.

  268. Thank you Lucky. I see in the TK chart that Far East to Far East is 60K in F. This seems very low? If this is valid, could I in theory book BKK-NRT on TG A380 in F for 60K? And/or SIN-NRT on SQ in F for the same? Thank you.

  269. @ Tim — In theory the routing is fine, though Singapore doesn’t release first class award space to partner airlines on their Narita to Singapore flight unfortunately.

  270. @Ben:

    Saw the 100k miles promo for AA card. Was thinking about it until seeing the fees imposed on trying to route SFO->FCO. Any ideas on how to accomplish that route and avoid (or have low) surcharges for F/J? (not specific to any airline)

  271. @ E — The high fees only apply if flying British Airways. I’d suggest trying to find award space on American, Air Berlin, or Iberia, and they should be much lower.

  272. @Ben:

    I think I noticed the trouble, seems AA is ditching the JFK->FCO nonstop by that time. /sigh. SFO->JFK->FCO would have been an easy solution.

  273. @ E — For what it’s worth award space was always really stingy on that route anyway. With two stops shouldn’t be tough to find Air Berlin or Iberia space, though. Do keep in mind that Iberia award space doesn’t show on

  274. @Lucky: I wrote you guys (point pros) an email that is urgent. Would be grateful if you could get to it asap

  275. Hi Lucky, after reading your trip reports, I’m inspired to fly my first flight in F (on CX) – but stuck, as the agent can’t seem to price my routing as a single OW award using my AAdvantage miles. Hoping to get your two cents on whether my routing is valid or not, and any advice that you may have in talking to the agent if it is.

    YYZ-JFK (AA J) connecting to JFK-YVR (CX F) – stopover YVR which is the NA gateway followed by YVR-HKG (CX F).


  276. @ Rich — The problem with the routing is that you’re violating cabotage laws. You can’t fly from Canada to Canada via the US. So if you were connecting to Hong Kong right away you could book that, but with a stopover that wouldn’t be allowed. If you booked Toronto to New York separately you could then book New York to Vancouver, stopover, and then Vancouver to Hong Kong.

  277. Thanks Lucky, dropping the stopover in YVR worked like a charm. Now, I’m excited about my first time in F (especially CX). I’ll have an extra cup of HK style milk tea for ya ๐Ÿ˜‰

  278. Lucky,
    Has cx severely limited their AA partner award availability? I’m seeing several seats in J and F via qantas, however when the AA booking window opens they are gone. Thank you in advance!

  279. @ de — They’re definitely not releasing as much space as they used to. Keep in mind that Qantas has access to award space before American, which explains why a lot of the space is gone by the time American has access to it.

  280. Lucky,
    Thank you for the quick reply! If I book an Aaward to OZ via Asia, will this price as two separate awards? Have you experienced booking this type of award?

  281. @ de — Through which program? United and Alaska, for example, let you route to Australia via Asia on a single award, while American doesn’t.

  282. Lucky,
    If ua has a schedule change and my award is booked with saver availability, how can I change my itinerary without incurring a change fee? The flight I want only has standard availability and I offered to do the short connection in coach. No luck with the first agent. Any advice or just HUCA?

  283. @ de — Unless that would trigger a misconnect I wouldn’t expect them to open up standard award space for that type of a change, unfortunately.

  284. Hi Lucky, I’m trying to get family of 4 from DEN to JNB or CPT. Getting enough UA miles would take Herculean MS, but AA miles are within reach. Problem is that the routing that comes up from DEN to JNB is on BA and fuel surcharges run ~$1400. I saw on the AA Oneworld timetable that 3 alt. routes are available, through DOH on Qatar, HKG (Cathay) and SYD (Qantas). The DOH routing seems likely to be cheapest, but I can’t get either AA or BA websites to show. I’m more than delighted to use your booking service, but I can’t tell whether I should keep going for AA miles (because I can’t price the routes out) or whether to try to spend $23k at Staples somehow (new Chase CC don’t seem to be options). Any insight you can offer would help me prepare and finally get to the award service phase. Thanks!!

  285. Hello,
    I would appreciate if you could explain how to use one airline’s miles to buy a ticket on another airline within the same alliance. Which site do you go first? How do you apply the miles since they belong to a different airline? I know that when you go to United, sometimes they put you on another airline. But I have purchased the award ticket through United and not the other airline. Thanks for any information. ciao

  286. @ dalila — It all depends which program you’re trying to book through. In all cases you’re actually going to make the booking through the airline with which your miles are, even if you want to travel on a partner carrier. For Star Alliance, for example, there’s the ANA website, which shows award space for travel on all Star Alliance carriers.

    Generally if they have access to space then it should also bookable through most other Star Alliance programs.

    Here’s a tutorial for using the ANA tool:

  287. @ Mike — Whoops, sorry, didn’t see this till now. The Qatar Airways routing sounds like it could be a good use of a OneWorld Explorer Award. American’s website doesn’t display Qatar Airways award space, though British Airways’ website should. Just make sure you’re searching segment by segment, from the US gateway to Doha, and then separately from Doha to South Africa.

  288. Hey Lucky, are you noticing it to be virtually impossible to book international star alliance awards using US Airways Div Miles these days? I use various other tools and see award availability on the flights, however, when I call into US Airways, they say they don’t have access. . .very strange. Are you noticing the same thing? Doesn’t seem to be any Lufthansa award availability to US Airways in any class.

  289. @ Daniel — It all depends which airline you’re trying to book. Yes, Lufthansa is very tough to book, though to Asia there’s tons of availability, and US Airways doesn’t seem to be blocking other partners to Europe.

    So definitely tougher than other programs, though with some flexibility not impossible, in my opinion.

  290. Alaska Airlines not honoring awards between India and US on Cathy pacific. Alaskan Rep insists there is no Flight between India and HKG that can be booked on miles. I dont know what to do,, i am just stuck….. Their award chart clearly even allows India to HKG segment by itself…unlike Emirates that doesnt allow India to DXB.
    Any help is highly appreciated.

  291. @ Skudu — Have you confirmed there is open award space on the dates you’re asking for? It might just be an availability issue.

  292. Yes, i did confirm availability on CX website, BA website and on KVS tool (4 seats available in business).
    The problem is, Alaska rep informed me, i cannot travel from India to HKG in CX with miles any day (not just my travel dates).

  293. @ Skudu — Hmm, that’s interesting. I would try calling again, as you’re spot on that it’s listed as an option on their award chart.

  294. Thanks Lucky… i called twice it didnt work… 3rd time i asked for supervisor…. but the agent asked me to wait and got it done in next 5 min. Finally trying out CX First!!!

  295. Lucky,

    If I were to change a UA award ticket last minute from UA global first to LH biz/first, would I be charged both a change fee and a “last minute booking fee?” Would LH J be better than UA F? Thank you!

  296. @ de — You would only pay the change fee and not the close-in ticketing fee. That being said, I would say United first class is better than Lufthansa business class.

  297. Hi Lucky! Would BKK-HKG-DPS be a legal routing for a OW using United miles on TG? There’s no space in F going straight BKK-DPS but there is to HKG…
    Alternatively, I have 2 united club passes which I was sent when I got the United mileage plus explorer card. There’s no chance of using those to sneak into TG’s F lounge @ BKK right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  298. And I guess to clarify my question further – I mean is it likely to price the same as just BKK-DPS would?

  299. @ Pete B — Since no Star Alliance airline flies Hong Kong to Bali that wouldn’t be legal, unfortunately, since you’d be looking at Bangkok to Hong Kong to Singapore to Bali. Sorry!

    Hah, wish the United Club passes could be used for the Thai first class lounge!

  300. @ de — Yes, you sure can. They have lots of partners that fly to Australia/New Zealand, and you can redeem miles on them.

  301. Hi! It seems that one can use 100,000 Alaska airlines miles to fly Europe – US with Emirates First. I dont have any miles with alaska airlines, but i see that they have a promotion now when buying miles. 100K miles will cost about 2000 USD, a lot less than the price of a first class ticket with emirates. Would you recomend me buying miles with Alaska airlines and use them for Emirates First travel?

  302. @ Marius — Yep, it’s a great value, just keep in mind your Alaska account has to be at least a couple of weeks old to be able to buy Alaska miles.

  303. I could really use some help using my avios to fly from Boston to Dublin for three people, want to leave Aug 5-15 or July 4-14. I have 99,000 avios. I can’t seem to find any availability. I have been checking United for availability since the BA site is terrible. Any ideas? Thank you.

  304. @ Amy — To find British Airways Avios availability for travel on Aer Lingus you’ll want to call British Airways Executive Club, as it’s the only way to accurately determine award space on them.

  305. Lucky: Just found your blog…HELP…Have been told by UA that Business Awards from SMX to PEK are currently limited for travel on 8/28/14. When does UA release business award seats generally, during the week? they said to call back. This is sounding like a game of Russian Roulette. Can you suggest ways to take the anxiety out of this process? Does it make sense to purchase super saver seats and request an upgrade to business? Return HK to SMX is more available, maybe because we are traveling on 9/11…Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, RBYoshioka

  306. @ RBunny — There’s not a certain time where United releases award space. Generally they open up some space when the schedule opens up 11 months out, and then again progressively as the departure date approaches, though there’s no exact timeline for that. I’d suggest trying to research award space on rather than relying exclusively on what the United agents say, as you’ll often find more award availability on partner airlines online.

    Or if all else fails we’re more than happy to help you with your award ticket as well, if you submit a request with us at

  307. Hi! Found and subscribed to your blog a month ago and found it most helpful. Love your trip reports with photos. I booked a UA First Class award ticket from SFO-ORD-FRA. ORD-FRA has UA new first class seats but SFO-ORD is standard domestic first class. I can’t find any LH First Class Award (I read your articles on the topic) and LH doesn’t appear to release them even close to departure, but I did find availability on LH direct flight SFO-FRA in business on the A380. I checked the LH website and it has the old business class seat.

    Would you go with UA First or LH old business in terms of comfort, entertainment, service and food (ignoring the 3-hr layover for UA at the moment)? From your articles, UA First obviously has better hard product with flat bed but LH seems to have better service and food. I seldom read positive reviews re UA in-flight service, even in First.

  308. @ LC — Thanks for reading, and for the kind words! I would absolutely stick with United first over Lufthansa’s old business class product. Keep in mind Lufthansa first isn’t available to partners until 15 days out, so there’s still a chance of that opening up closer to departure as well.

  309. Hi Lucky,
    Quick SQ question. I’m booking 2 tix DPS-SIN-BKK on Apr 22 (arr. 8am Apr 23) Finally some J availability opened up, so I transferred the 34k MR points and, right enough, 8 hours later the space was gone!! I can book same tix in Y for 21k, but since the premium is so small I really want to hold out for J.

    SO – how likely is it that space will open up again? If it’s less than likely, should I book a J ticket for another day and if space opens up, then move it? Or should I book Y on my preferred itinerary then call back in a few weeks and see if I can upgrade?

    Is there are charge for date change? And is there an extra premium for upgrading Y to J? Or do they pretty much let you just cancel your ticket and rebook to J?

    THANKS! ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re going to Bali either way and it’s thanks partly to your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  310. Further to my last comment, since it’s only the SIN-BKK leg that’s tripping me up (space in Y, but not in J), I wouldn’t even mind flying DPS-SIN in J, overnight then SIN-BKK in Y (would still get some time in the lounge etc right?).

    But can I book a multi cabin like that…? Would I need to call, and if so I’d have to pay the 40k miles instead of the 34k (10% online discount)?

  311. @ Pete B — Sounds like a fun trip! Assuming your dates are fixed I would probably book economy class now and then if business class opens up switch to it. While you could change dates for free if you make a business class booking on another date, that won’t be useful if your dates are fixed. If your dates are flexible then I would indeed book another date.

    It’s tough to say on any particular date what the chances are of business class opening up, but in general business class award space isn’t too tough to come by on either of those sectors.

    Good luck!

  312. @ Pete B — You’d have to book that by phone, and if you book by phone you’re not technically entitled to the 15% online booking discount, though if you call often enough you may find an agent willing to manually apply it.

  313. Well I accepted your challenge ๐Ÿ™‚ And now I’m not exactly sure what’s happened: they’ve booked me in J from DPS-SIN then Y from SIN-BKK, while also waitlisting me for the final leg in J. It’s not ticketed but I have a record locator. I have 5 days until either the space in J pops up or else they just cancel the whole thing I think?

    She never said anything about how many miles and $$$ it would cost. Does it sound like they’d let me book it like this (in Y + J)? I think she said that would end up being sold as 2 separate tickets, so would cost a lot more.

    I can wait a while though, worst case there’s plenty space in Y on various flights.

  314. @ Pete B — Yep, they should let you book that at the business class saver level, assuming all of the availability is at the saver level. If they can waitlist you that’s even better.

  315. I have an AA membership but not a US Airways. If I book a flight on US Airways can I credit the points to my AA membership or do I have to apply for US too?

  316. @ Julie — Yes, you absolutely can credit your US Airways flights to American. Just give your American AAdvantage number when making the booking or checking in.

  317. Bish bash bosh – woke up to a text, called right back – J has opened up, 15% discount granted and we’re on our way! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks SQ and thanks Lucky!

  318. Hi lucky, I’ve been looking for Jal F awards on for early 2015 but I’m not seeing any. Do they not put Jal awards on their website? I do see a bunch on Jal’s website though. Do I need to call AA like you need to for CX awards using Alaska miles?

  319. Got it, thanks.
    You’re really helping me out with this stuff. Thanks to you I got to do an all first trip to Tokyo to see my Mom on LH (A330+747) + UA + OZ in Feb and I have another trip to Japan in November on CX first with a full day layover in HKG on the way there(1A on 77W for both CX889 and CX548 ) and EVA business with a full day layover in Taipei on the way back. I’m so excited.

    I just got approved for the citi platinum select and the citi executive card so hopefully I can put those 150k miles to good use on a Jal first ticket. Thanks for all your help!

  320. Hi Lucky,

    Do you have a particular travel agent that you recommend for booking fares published on ITA/Matrix? I am trying to get my dad a business class ticket from YYC to MAA and back. The fares on ITA/Matrix are slightly lower than BA or AC websites. Thanks for your help.

  321. Hi Lucky,
    Just found your blog. My boyfriend and I will be traveling to PPT in March 2015 for a cruise on Oceania. We would like to fly RT from LAX /PPT. We have about 300,000 Amex, 350000 Delta and 100000 Chase its. We’d like to use point to travel either first or Bus in a lay flat seat. Any options for us. I can only find ATN and Air France but looks like neither has lay flat seats. It’s only 9 hours, but flying through the night would be nice to get some sleep.

  322. @ Kevin — Those are indeed the only airlines flying nonstop from the US mainland to Tahiti, so there are no lie flat seats. You should be able to book either with your SkyMiles, so it shouldn’t be too tough to find availability if planning far in advance.

  323. Thank You Lucky,
    I’ll try. I guess I can rough it with angle flat (Not so happy about it thought ) Anyway, I’ll try but If I have any issues I’ll gladly turn it over to you. Thanks

  324. Hi I am trying to get a one stop reward flight from TLV-LAX in business or first class for March 30/31. I have 85K United miles in my account – can you help me?

  325. I got tix through a SPG promo for the World Cup this June. I don’t know how to go about booking 2 award seats from Chicago to Fortaleza. It looks like there is no availability. I have Chase UR & AMEX MR points.How would you go about it?

  326. @ Erika — Unfortunately at this point booking award tickets to the World Cup is near impossible. Your only real option is a “standard” level redemption, which requires double or triple as many miles.

  327. I will be flying business class with Delta to and from the UK a number of times this year and internally within the UK. I am unsure of which mileage program to sign up with and have been told Alaska Air is a very good option especially as I have miles with BA on their program. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  328. @ Jim — All depends what your goals are. Alaska miles are one of the most valuable mileage currencies, so I’d certainly consider them. Where do you live?

  329. I am getting 4 tickets using dividend miles open jaw to Bali 8/29/14 and return from Bangkok 5/30/15. Since the 5/30/15 tickets aren’t released yet, if I book today, I would need to book return for 3/3/15 and change the return tickets in late June when 5/30/15 award tickets are released. That will cost me $150 per ticket to change. However, I want to get the 8/29/14 tickets asap in order to ensure I get the tickets. Do you have any suggestions for me?

  330. @ tom — The issue is that tickets are only valid for a year from the date of issue, so if you booked your ticket today all travel would need to be complete by April 1, 2015. So I’m afraid that wouldn’t work, sorry.

  331. Thanks Lucky! We are concerned about getting our tickets to Bali. We need 5 total. According to the BA website, there are only 5 total tickets from HKG to DPS on Cathay Pacific in the last week of August and the first week of Sept. We have to wait until late May or June to ticket our trip. Is Pointspros able to get more availability than I can see?

  332. @ tom — Ultimately we can try to find creative routings, but we’re not able to open up award space or anything. I think in this case your only option is to wait, unfortunately.

  333. Hi Lucky,
    Just trying to be overly prepared here. Iโ€™m flying DPS-SIN (stay overnight) โ€“ BKK arriving 08:30am, booked w/ SQ miles. I then board a revenue ticket at 11am on BA BKK-SIN-LHR. In the event that the SQ flight is delayed leaving SIN that morning, would there be any sense in trying to talk to BA in SIN and โ€˜skipโ€™ the BKK-SIN segment of that ticket? Iโ€™m pretty sure the answerโ€™s no but thought Iโ€™d check. Otherwise we will just have our fingers crossed. Thanks!

  334. @ Pete B — You can certainly *try*. Can’t hurt to ask. Though in practice since you’re connecting from another carrier that’s not part of their alliance they’re not obligated to do anything, unfortunately. Cross your fingers and hope for an on-time flight! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  335. I need a flight from LAX to TLV on May 1 using miles please. I need it in Business class.

  336. Hi Lucky,

    I am looking to book two business class tickets to Europe and seem to have made a blunder in my points acquisition strategy. I had been targeting an LH flight booked via UA using 140k miles converted from Amex MR. Unfortunately, as I now realize, MR do not convert to UA miles. I also have 117k Chase UR points, which do convert to UA miles, but am 23k short of the 140k required. Am hoping to fly in the near term and so do not have time to get a new card sign-up bonus. Can you think of any quick and easy ways to get to Europe in business or first given the points totals listed?


  337. I have 285,000 pts Amex PTSD , what is the best way to use the puts to to go to Australia and New Zealand from Los Angeles in business. I also have 40,000 delta pts what can I use it for since they had devalued so much.

  338. @ Suzette — If you’d like to submit a request on our website ( we’d be happy to see what we can do.

  339. @ SkyHigh — You could always book one direction with United, and the return using Aeroplan, or another American Express partner. Keep in mind Aeroplan levies fuel surcharges on Lufthansa though, so you may want to look at other carriers as well.

  340. Hey Lucky,

    I was trying to post to on “ask Lucky” but when I scroll to the bottom the page wouldnt load the “add a comment” box.

    Im booking a trip to Europe for July and I was wondering what citie is best (availability) to fly out of on my return to US. I already found PHL>CDG for the outbound. Im trying to use Avios to book this and I was hoping to avoid the heavy fuel surcharges involved with certain partners. I can fly back pretty much anywhere on the east coast, but further south is ideal. Can you please point me in the right direction? Thanks so much

  341. @ Joe — Well in general July is a really tough time of year to find award space. But if you’re trying to find space using Avios I’d recommend looking at:
    1) Aer Lingus, since there are no fuel surcharges. They fly to Orlando, Boston, New York, and Chicago.
    2) Air Berlin, since there are also no fuel surcharges. They fly to New York, Chicago, Miami, and Fort Myers.

    Hopefully that gets you started in the right direction.

  342. Hey Lucky,
    First off…thank you for creating such and amazing and informative site. I am learning a lot!! So I need to travel from LA to Nice, France in a little over a month. I have 50,000 miles from my chase sapphire card, 10,000 on my amex and 5,000 at both US Airways and American. I’m trying to figure out the best way to both use as many of those miles as possible but am getting bogged down with all of the possible flight combinations etc. How do I best figure out where I should move my miles to and book this flight. I don’t have status anywhere and have no problem flying coach.

    Thank you!

  343. @ Anna — Thanks for reading! Unfortunately you have four mileage currencies that are in no way combinable. While American and US Airways have merged, you can’t transfer miles between accounts yet, and Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards aren’t transfer partners with either of those programs. So the best you can do is focus as much of your earning on one program as possible, ideally Ultimate Rewards, so you can maximize the travel you can book that way. If you transfer your Chase points to United, that’s almost enough for a one-way business class ticket from the US to Europe, assuming you can find saver level award space.

  344. Hi Lucky,
    I got scared after the USairways North Asia biz award cost all of a sudden changed to 110k so I decided to go ahead and book a Feb 2015 first award to Japan for 120k before they have a chance to mess with First class redemption rates. I looked up all the flights that I was interested in on BA and called US airways. What I found out was that not all CX inventory that I saw on BA shows up in the agent’s searches which I somewhat expected but what surprised me was the agent couldn’t see any Jal or BA seats. None whatsoever. Do you have any thoughts? Do you know anyone that was able to book a Jal or BA awards using dividend miles?

    I was able to secure CX first on the way to Japan but coming back I have AA first which seems like such a waste of miles. Hopefully I can change the AA legs to something better later on.

  345. Lucky, nevermind. I figured it out!
    Apparently, US airways agents need to book Jal awards off of revenue inventory and not award inventory. Luckily the agent found a note stating that somewhere and was able to book a Jal seat. Anyway if anyone was having a similar issue, hope this helps.

  346. I want to book 2 rooms for 2 nights at a Doubletree in Charleston at the end of Sept. What is the best way to do this. Normally I would get the friends/family rate of an employee but its not available. I was thinking about getting the 75k miles bonus but what will that get me?

  347. @ Wendy — How high is the rate for the dates you’re looking at? That would determine the best way to go about using points for it.

  348. Lucky, going to Asia. For 80k miles would you book:

    1) United Gobal First
    2) EVA Royal Laurel Biz

  349. @ gware — If the price is the same I would do United first class over EVA Royal Laurel. At the end of the day 99% of first class products are going to be better than business class.

  350. I’ve been searching for an article that talks about finding the cheapest ticket , using ita matrix and routing to certain hub to avoid fuel charge and thus reduce ticket cost. Can’t seem to find it. Please help.

  351. Had a question about Cathay awards. I’m seeing an F seat award available but don’t have enough AA points yet (should be posting later this month). Any idea if I held that ticket on AA (and then let it expire) if it would go back into inventory (so that I could then book again…until my points post at the end of the month)?

    I know it’s not like that with most airlines, but was wondering if maybe Cathay took the Qantas approach.


  352. @ Andrew — With Cathay Pacific sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Space doesn’t consistently go back into inventory with them, in my experience.

  353. Hi Lucky,

    Thinking of and hoping for Cathay first class seat next year to Asia. Do they release at least 2 first class seats per flight?

    Also for people talking about Cathay F seats opening up closer to flight time and rebooking award travel, is that for people with airline status or can anyone do that (with redeposit of miles and rebooking)?


  354. Hi Lucky,

    Is it possible to select seat assignment on SN J award before 24-hour check-in?

    Thank you.

  355. @ Jim — They don’t release award space on every flight, though they will occasionally release more than one seat when they do. Anyone can redeposit or change an award ticket, though the fees are typically waived for elites.

  356. Hi Lucky,
    Me and my family are trying to find award space from YEG to OPO or LIS, Portugal. Business class at least for the transatlantic portion, we have about 360 000 aeroplan miles and are looking for 4 tickets leaving mid July and coming back after the first week of August. We are flexible as long as trip time stays at 3 weeks or under, preferably under 2000 dollars in fees and taxes.

  357. @ Adrian Wattamaniuk — Four tickets over peak summer is going to be a bit difficult at this point, to be honest. To keep the fees low you’ll want to look at flights on Swiss, Brussels, United, and Turkish, so I would start by searching from their hub cities to Toronto or Montreal.

  358. Thank you so Much! Found a fairly cheap flight on united through Newark and London Heathrow. You make great trip reports, maybe try a trip report on United GlobalFirst. Hope things go well with Janesis ;).

  359. Hey Lucky,

    thanks so much for the award help so far. One more quick question – do you have any experience with transferring Avios to another memeber? Im trying to help my bro-in-law top off his account for an award to Europe. We dont “share” the same address, but I was wondering if there is a work around or how BA knows whether you are in the same household. Im trying to save on the expensive transfer fee. Do you know if we can do this? Thanks again. We really appreciate it.

  360. @ Joe — There’s no way to transfer the Avios, but if one of you switch addresses you should have no problem creating a household account.

  361. Hi Lucky,

    Thank you for always answering questions so quickly and helpfully.

    I have a couple of long questions.

    1)I’m thinking of a First Class North Asia trip using US Air miles with stopover in Europe next year from Las Vegas. What are my stopover options in Europe? Specifically, would a stopover be available in Paris or Venice? What airlines would you recommend for a first class trip as mentioned?

    2)Thinking of possibly booking above trip with you (PointPros). If we also want to fit in South Pacific/Australia trip using United miles with stopovers to above trip, would that be 1 complicated itinerary or 2 different trips for PointPros pricing purposes.

    Thanks again for the helpful info.

  362. Hi Lucky,
    I’m a United Gold member with 125K miles to kill this summer and would like to travel to Spain (from EWR or PHL) economy to get 2 tickets free. Seems totally booked on for late June/early July. Any tips on how to get ourselves close to Spain during that peak time?? Does United really show you all the options for their partners, or should I be calling around to the others? Would they even take the call @Lufthansa, Brussels Air, etc. if I only have United points? Help!


  363. @ Lisa — You don’t want to call the partner airlines, as the availability wouldn’t match. Summer to Europe is a bit limited at this point, but shouldn’t be impossible if you’re willing to make a connection and have some date flexibility. I’d try searching segment by segment and see if that helps.

  364. @ Lucky – Thanks again for all your help.

    One more question, I see that EY publishes a ex-LAX fare to MLE O/W & R/T, but only R/T from ex-MLE, does this mean it wouldn’t be possible to redeem AA miles O/W ex-MLE to LAX?

    This doesn’t seem to be an issue for other to other USA destinations, but I would assume I would need pay separately to get back to LAX?

  365. Hi Lucky,

    I have 400K avios and 1 BA visa companion cert. I would like to get my family of 4 from SFO-LHR roundtrip in business next June (2015)–is this next to impossible (especially if I’m looking to fly non-stop from SFO)? I’ve tried checking every day to see if there’s a pattern, like booking 355 days in advance, but it seems like they don’t open award tickets that way. Any advice would be appreciated!

  366. @ Ann — Nonstop space from the west coast is really really really tough, especially for four people. I highly doubt British Airways will release four seats in advance on a single flight, so you may be best off splitting the group at first, and then if additional space is released prior to departure it’s an easy change.

  367. Hey Lucky, I’m a longtime reader and I am now in a situation where I might want to use your booking service. My dates are flexible, but I need to be in Singapore (flying from BOS) for 3 or 4 business days in mid-June (ideally, the week of the 9th). I have quite a few UR points and United miles and I’m interested in flying business. As I said, I’m pretty flexible and would be willing to take creative booking with not the most efficient route to maximize fantastic service/hard product opportunities. At the same time, I don’t want to blow all my miles as I have a few trips coming up later this year. Initial thoughts?

  368. Hey Lucky,

    What has been your experience with booking American award space, specifically to Europe. When do they usually release their award space for First and Business class?


  369. @ David — For travel on American and in premium cabins? They release so little award space that there really aren’t patterns, unfortunately. Sometimes they release some space when the schedule opens and sometimes last minute when the seats would otherwise go unsold, but not many patterns other than that.

  370. Thanks for the reply. Since American premium cabins are hard to predict and come by. Which OneWorld airline would you recommend flying across the Atlantic, seems like all the Transatlantic airlines charge fuel surcharges.


  371. @ David — Your two best options will be Iberia and airberlin if you want to avoid the big fuel surcharges.

  372. Hey Lucky, Not sure if you saw my original post, but what would you recommend for flying business to Singapore using UR or MileagePlus this summer? Might want to use your booking service.

  373. @ JAK — Whoops, sorry I missed that. All else being equal, and if you were looking for the best experience possible, I would probably go with Korean Air first class by transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to SkyPass. It’s going to be a great product with lots of availability. Otherwise I would consider booking a carrier like EVA Air through United.

  374. Hi Lucky, I have 250K Amex Rewards pts. to use. I want to use them to fly my husband and I from SFO to London this fall. Can you tell me which airlines has the best transfer and availability rate? I know some airlines have very limited rewards mile space. AlsoI can just book with my AMEX rewards directly but it will use all of my points to book two RT’s. Which is the best way to use the points?
    Thanks for your help.

  375. Hi Lucky

    I will be travelling BKK LHR TLV BUD in the next 2 weeks. Is it better to use AA or life miles? I want to experience business class. I know that the APD out of the UK but can’t be helped .

    Thanks mate

  376. @ Martin Brennan — Are you trying to make stopovers in all of those places, and is it a one-way? If so LifeMiles would probably be better, since US Airways won’t allow a one-way redemption. LifeMiles also doesn’t have any close-in ticketing fees, while US Airways does.

  377. You ain’t called lucky for nothing mate. I will use Lifemiles. Tel Aviv here I cum for pride!!

  378. Hi, I have 93,293 membership rewards points with American Express….I’d like to fly from SFO to IST in October….is this enough for a business class ticket? Wnhat are the stopover spots?

    Thank you, Kathy

  379. @ Kathy — If you can top off your account with another 12,000 miles then that would be enough for a roundtrip in business class with Aeroplan. They allow two stopovers, one in each direction.

  380. Hi Lucky,

    I am trying to book an award ticket back to the US from southeast asia towards the end of August. I have AA miles, BA miles, as well as United miles at my disposal. However, having an incredibly difficult time finding biz availability. I’ve tried Cathay, JAL, as well as ANA and Asiana, but no luck. I also tried routing from Asia to ME using Qatar and then Etihad back to the states, but I heard you currently cannot book Etihad using AA miles. Any help or insights would be well appreciated!

  381. @ Charles — Award availability for summer is pretty limited at this point, so you might want to consider trying slightly different dates, or focusing on hub to hub flights and organizing some of the shorter flights separately. It’s also possible something will open up closer to departure, if your plans are flexible. If that doesn’t help please feel free to send your request in, and we’d be happy to see what we can do!

  382. Dear lucky,

    I cannot open your I have a trip next months. There are one adult and two teenagers.

    Jul. 3, 2014 Beijing-Rome

    Jul. 31, 2014 Paris- Vancouver

    Aug. 15, 2014 Vancouver-Beijing

    The first leg is easy. But the remaining two legs are almost impossible for 3 business class seats. I wish you can find miracle. I have enough all kinds of points and miles. And if you can use USWAYs, that would be perfect.

    You have my email. We are flexible stopover in any Europe cities. If it is possible, let me know.



  383. @ jiajia — Sorry to hear you’re having issues with the website! If it helps, the full address is (it looks like you might have been missed some letters).

  384. Hi Lucky,

    I managed to hold two different options for my trip from Europe back to the US. I can either do Air Berlin biz class from DUS to JFK, or Lufthansa biz class on their 747i-8. I’ve read your review of your AB biz experience and it has me feeling nervous as you do not seem to have fully enjoyed the product. What do you suggest I do? The Lufthansa option would clean out my United account since it is 70K miles and the AB option would have me out 50K AA miles. Your insights are appreciated.

  385. @ Charles — I’d do the airberlin option given how much cheaper it is. If you can snag a “true” window seat, you’ll definitely have the better hard product on airberlin.

  386. Hi Lucky,

    I am wondering if you can give me some advice. I booked 2 biz class tickets thru united prior to devaluation for an upcoming trip to Europe.

    3 July:JFK-BRU-STO
    7 July: ARN-MIL
    13 July: TUR-MUC-EWR

    I booked 2 tix @ 100K each.

    My travel companion and I are free a day earlier and we are trying to figure out how to leave the day before for AMS to enjoy one night in the city (Andaz already booked with points). Is there a way to do this without changing the rest of the ticket too much? I see 2 LH tix avail Which is perfect but onward connecting flight to AMS is slight past 24hrs :(.

    I also have plenty of ultimate rewards points, 55K airfrance miles, and plenty in united account….I want to try and do this with best possible.

    Thanks for advice.


  387. @ Eric — If you already have a stopover there’s not really a way you can add another one. In your shoes I would keep monitoring, and if space opens up closer to departure (which is very likely) you can always switch to it.

  388. Hi Lucky,

    Quick question, I am looking to route from the US to South Africa using US Air miles and was hoping to route via HKG on CX, but I noticed on US’ award chart that it now says that on Cathay from North America to Africa or the Middle East that you must transit the Atlantic. Have you found this to be the case and they actually enforce this rule?

    What do you recommend for getting from the US to South Africa using US Air miles (obviously avoiding fuel surcharges as much as possible)? I know I could fly through Doha on Qatar, any other options?


  389. Hello lucky,

    Trying to book a crazy routing. LAX-YVR-JFK-HKG-HND via AS. Routing looks legal, agent says otherwise. What do you think? Could you persuade otherwise.

  390. @ Sam — I’d be surprised if they allowed that, to be honest. You could try another agent though!

  391. Hi Lucky,

    I understand that Singapore availability does not show via the United website now. I have about 85K miles in United currency to burn and would like to do SIN to FRA. My question is if I can book Singapore long haul business class using these miles. I have not seen posts by any bloggers recently commenting on this availability. Do you have any recent information on this? Thanks

  392. Lucky,

    I am trying to get from Bangkok to Osaka using US airways miles in business class. I see from the award chart that going from North Asia to South Asia is 60K miles roundtrip. Since this is going to two regions, then I can have a stopover somewhere either in south asia or north asia right? I haven’t heard much commentary regarding intra-asia redemptions for us airways miles. Can you comment on your experience or insights? thanks

  393. @ Alistair — Yep, that is indeed correct. Since you’re flying between regions you could do either a stopover or an open jaw, whichever you prefer. The main limiting factor is the limited oneworld routes within Asia, as they route mostly through Tokyo and Hong Kong.

  394. Hi Lucky,
    quick questions, I think I’d like to try the PointsPros service for booking a flight (DEN-> VIE) using miles and was wondering if your fee is charged upfront, or if you first provide a quote and once the booking is done, the fee kicks in.


  395. @ Natalie — We charge upon finding a routing that works for you and booking the ticket. So if we don’t find something that works for you, there’s no charge. Thanks for your interest!

  396. Hi Lucky,

    Thanks for the wonderful blog. I along with my family (of three) travel every year to Karachi, Pakistan. I signed up for Chase Sapphire Preferred (with 40k offer) to accumulate miles for our next trip in May 2015.

    I live in Charlotte, NC and the major airline is US Air (now American). It is member of One World Alliance. In the past I have taken this route; CLT-IAD-DOA-KHI. US Air also fly from CLT to Europe, but I don’t know if it partners with any other airline in One World that would get to KHI.

    What is the best way to maximize my Ultimate Rewards points for traveling to KHI on US Air and its allied partners? Can I transfer miles from UR to AA or US Air easily? Are there any other better options than CSP to accumulate points or miles?

    Thank you

  397. @ Memon — The only oneworld transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards is British Airways, and they’re not ideal for long distance awards. In your shoes I would consider getting some Citi Executive AAdvantage Cards and US Airways Barclaycards, as they offer big sign-up bonuses, and both of those points currencies would be the best values for travel on Qatar Airways.

  398. Thank you Lucky- I applied for the Citi Executive w/100k bonus this morning. It went into pending. I called their customer service. They confirmed that they have received the application but won’t confirm if the offer is for 100k bonus! They said that they will make a decision on my application in the next 7-10 days. I’ll just wait. In the mean time I have to decide what to do with my approved CSP.

  399. Lucky
    I’m very new to this so forgive me. I will be travelling from ny to Australia end of January (3-4 people )
    My wife and I have 60 k aa miles and I just got the citi exec MC with 100k offer.
    So my questions are :
    If I want to go business class how many miles will I need? By when do I need to book- I won’t get the 100k for about a month
    Do I need addl cards to increase my miles
    Or do I purchase coach and use miles to upgrade
    And when do I call your people to help ?

  400. Hey Ben,

    Me, and my parents are plan to visit Sydney next year from jakarta and use thai airways transit at BKK around April 2015 for a week. I just purchased the United mileage that has 100% bonus, which bring my account to be 220,000 mileage. Because I know that it is very difficult to get 3 saver award in the same time, is it possible if I book first class for first 2 people, and then I will book another one later, since if I put 3 traveller, it won’t come up? Do you have any idea how much thai airways open their first saver award per flight? I heard my friend get 6 traveller all on the first class which is really surprised me. I hope you can help me, thank you

  401. @ Larry — Using American miles, roundtrip business class will cost you 125,000 miles. That being said, Australia is one of the toughest destinations in the world to get to on miles, and if you’re only planning now, chances are you won’t have luck for January. That’s peak season, so you really need to plan 11 months in advance to get those seats.

  402. HI Lucky,

    Great blog! My wife and I have 450,000 AA miles saved between us and would like to book a dream trip to Australia. Would we have enough miles to book first class seats from DFW to SYD in march/april of 2015?


  403. Hi ben, thank you for your answer. This actually my first post and somehow it appears now, I will do that for sure, BTW, I will book an sq fist from JFK to cgk, I already check for 6 open seat, butonce every month, when I check the seat, I gone one buy one, do you have any experience with book sq on the wait list redemption?

  404. @ ernest — Waitlisted redemptions don’t seem to clear all that often. If they do clear it seems to be about two weeks prior to departure, for what it’s worth.

  405. @ Mike — Yes, in theory that’s more than enough, American charges 72,500 miles per person one-way in first class. That being said, it can be really tough to find space, so you’ll need to be really flexible and plan ASAP.

  406. Hi Lucky,
    AA allow to book awards LHR\MAD – DME (BA,IB) – SVX\OVB, Russia (S7 airlines, OneWorld alliance) in one itinerary for 20K AA?
    Or allow only to DME (Moscow) and need to book 2 separate awards for ex.LHR-DME (20K AA)& DME-SVX (10K avios BA)?

  407. Lucky
    Before canceling award-explorer AA allowed to book only western Russia to the Urals, but I need eastern Russia. Thanks.

  408. Hey Lucky,

    I used to keep up with the mileage scene, but I’ve lost track in recent months. What’s the best option for roundtrip business tickets to Asia (China specifically) these days that can be obtainable through credit card signups and/or purchasing points? Is there anything like US Airway’s old 90,000 to North Asia deal still around?


  409. Hi Lucky! I’m looking for the best credit card for my mother who lives in the US. I live in Dubai and she wants to fly business or higher to visit me in about 2 years. ( JKF-DXB/AUH and Preferably on Emirates or Etihad ) She has time and can wait for really good signup offers. I was looking at maybe a Chase Sapphire card for her. She would prefer to have just one credit card where she would rack up all the points. Any advice on where to start?

  410. @ Gabi — If the goal is Emirates or Etihad, then I’d say a card that earns American miles would be the best bet. Maybe the Citi AAdvantage Card, Starwood AmEx, etc.? If she’s willing to get a few sign-up bonuses, that would be more than enough for the trip in first class.

  411. Lucky:

    Which hotel rewards program do you consider to be the best value? I currently have various chase cards that give me ultimate rewards. I have been checking the conversion between the IHG program and ultimate rewards. It doesn’t seem like a good value for my hard earned points. I may get a new CC that stacks points on a better program. I have two United Airlines Club cards that I earn most of my travel miles on. Now I just need a card for the hotel stays. Looking for the best value. Any recommendations?

  412. @ Aaron — Of Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, the only one which is a good value in my opinion is Hyatt Gold Passport. I value Gold Passport points at ~1.5 cents each, while I value IHG Rewards Club points at less than half of that. As far as which program is best, it all depends how much you’ll be staying per year and what you value most (elite benefits, points for free nights, etc.)?

  413. Hi Ben
    Great Blog ! I collected about 140,000 AF flying blue miles and I am trying to fly Business class from Canada (YYZ, YUL but JFK is a possible option if no choice) to Asian destinations like NRT, PVG, HKG preferably avoiding DL to try a new product. Is it possible with KE ? Do I need to check KE availability on AS then call Flying Blue ? I don’t lnow if I can redeem FB miles on a KE transpacific flight.. Any recommendation ?

  414. @ Flo — Yep, you’d want to use the Alaska or Delta website to search Korean Air space, and then call FlyingBlue in order to actually book.

  415. Hi Lucky,
    Love the blog! Would like your input before I call United about this—

    Many months ago beofre the bigt devaluation I booked an F award SYD-BKK-ICN-JFK-IAD using 80K UA miles. Since then the SYD-BKK flight (on TG) has switched equipment and no longer offers first class; we were downgraded without notice to Business class. Also there has been a schedule change of nearly 2 hours on the JFK-IAD segment.

    Do you think I’d be allowed to cancel the entire itinerary without cancellation fees due to these two changes?

  416. Hello Lucky,

    I’m new into redeeming award miles. I’m trying to find and book award availability from SFO to HKG on CX (business/first class) for two people in August 2015/September 2015 with US Airway Miles. I don’t seem to find that much availability from SFO but in LAX I do.

    Do you happen to know if I could add a positioning flight from SFO to LAX onto my award and do SFO-LAX-HKG?

    Thanks in advance!

  417. Hi Lucky,

    I’m looking for a one way business class ticket from Chicago to Hyderabad (India) using United miles on the 11th of December. Looks like saver awards are not available for the month (even if they are, the routes are no less than 4-stops). So the award miles needed are 175K. Is that usually the case for the month of December? Is there an alternate cheaper option? Thanks.


  418. @ DMac — As the departure date approaches there’s a good chance that more space will open up, so in your shoes I would hold off.

  419. Hi Lucky,
    I’m looking to book a Business/First class award one way from TPE -> either JFK or EWR. My dates are slightly flexible, from Jan 19th-23rd as the return date. I have 23k in my mileageplus, and about 200k in Chase UR rewards. I’ve tried looking for availability on the united website, but the connection times are either too long, or the flights are mixed cabin. Do you know of any alternatives i can try?

  420. Hey Lucky,
    I have to be honest I am VERY new to this. I have a family of 5 and would like to start traveling more with the kids. For now our travels would consist of mainly the US, Mexico and possibly Central America. What would be the best way to start accruing points. We do own a small business so we would be able to get a business credit card if that helps. I also heard that you can buy other peoples points, if that is correct how does that work and would that be a good option for us? Thanks for any advice!

  421. @ lucky
    Thanks for your suggestion Lucky!

    I was able to find availability on the dates i wanted using the Korean Skypass site even though the United Mileageplus site didn’t have any. Was able to book first class from TPE->ICN->JFK. Looking forward to experiencing Korean Air’s first class product as i’ve heard good things about it.

    Thanks again!

  422. Hey Lucky,

    I just booked a RT flight with EVA Air’s Elite Class from SFO to TPE. How do I request an award upgrade on the outbound flight if I currently have 69k on United’s Mileage Plus program? Is this possible? Or is this a better luck next time kind of deal…? I tried calling EVA and United’s reservation center and didn’t get an official answer. Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions? Or maybe I was talking to the wrong group of customer representatives? I looked into EVA’s website which isn’t very intuitive. I also checked out United’s and immediately got lost when it starts talking about the codes from each respective classes. S.O.S!



  423. Hi Lucky,

    If a departure/arrival schedule of an AA award ticket is changed for around 5 to 10 mins (travel date is beyond 21 days), is it possible to cancel that ticket and get a full refund in term of miles without paying any penalty fees? Any reasons to justify this cancellation? Thanks.

  424. @ Mr. N — I know some manage to do it, but frankly I can’t bring myself to do it unless it’s actually a substantial change. Still, many have reported being able to do that.

  425. Thanks Ben. I tried to call several times, but not working. They do not allow to change if the schedule changes so minimal.

    For AA one-way Award J Ticket, are these routes SFO-DFW-HKG or SFO-ORD-HKG or SFO-JFK-HKG still working for 55k AA miles according to the new AA routing rules? Thanks.

  426. Hey Lucky,

    I have some general questions regarding flying BA using AA miles.

    1. Is the BA award space on the BA website the same as on the AA website? I had seen a flight on the BA website from DOH to LHR that was a direct flight. I couldn’t find the same flight on AA. Only flights that had a connection. Any thoughts?

    2. Your guide to using BA Avios and the BA website talks about using LHR as a stopover. How long can the stopover be? Is it the same rules when redeeming AA miles?


  427. @ Matt S. — Yes, it should show the same space. Are you sure you weren’t seeing premium economy award space? Because that’s not bookable with American miles. With American you can’t do a stopover of more than 24 hours on an international award. With a British Airways award you can stop for as long as you’d like, since you’re charged for the award on a per segment basis.

  428. Lucky,

    I have 10, 859 skymiles that I would like to transfer to my boyfriends account. I have discontinuedf my own account being my boyfriend always pays for and arranges all out trips. So can I gift to him my remainig skymiles?

  429. Lucky,

    Looks like it is possible to use AVIOS for travel on Alaska. Do you know if they can also be used on Horizon flights?


  430. I have been saving up points for years now with AA. I have a hard time making time to use them but always thought it’s my ace in the hole if I lost my international gig and points. I always planned on using the explorer reward for a round the world ticket if I switched jobs or even was layer off….but I just noticed on this page it’s gone?! Can you tell me if anything like this still exists with other airlines? I have 700,000 points right now which seems like a lot but it seems you can blow thru these in no time with the changes of recent. What do you think is the best program for using miles for intl travel? Thanks for the help!- Don

  431. @ Don jones — They discontinued the Explorer award earlier in the year without notice. There’s no other offer that’s nearly as lucrative, unfortunately. You’re best off booking several one ways and building an award out of that, unfortunately.

  432. Hey Ben,
    So I’m flying LH SFO-FRA in a couple of months and I’d like to upgrade it to Biz using my LH miles. Point is, I have a UA flight number (4-letter one) operated by LH. Now, this is LH metal, LH miles but UA flight number and PNR, will I still be able to upgrade? If not, would my Silver (Frequent Traveller) card help my on the flight upgrade list?

  433. @ Abdel Rahim Abdallah — I could be mistaken, but unfortunately I believe codeshare flights would be eligible for upgrade. Sorry! ๐Ÿ™

  434. Hey Ben, once again!
    Is it possible in anyway to book a cheap upgradable fare? I’m looking at a RT between CAI and SFO at $860 in K, while $1200 in S. Is there any way to get my fare cheaper and still be able to upgrade. I tried to make only on pair of segments (inbound) to be upgradable and got a fare just $40 less. Or do I just stick with my K fare and try to upgrade on the spot hoping that the guys in CAI won’t recognise the fare code? Or do I just stick with my K fare and pray for the upgrade list with my FTL Silver M&M card in hand? Thank you!

  435. @ Abdel Rahim Abdallah — Unfortunately there’s not a cheaper way that I know of, sorry. At check-in I doubt they’d be able to upgrade you if it’s a non-eligible fare since the computer would block it. Keep in mind there are a lot of good paid business class fares out of Cairo, so if you can afford the difference it’s going to be less of a premium than you’d pay in other markets. It might be worth considering if business class is important.

    Good luck and safe travels!

  436. Hi Ben,

    Do you think the following routing is “legal” for a US airways award from N Asia to N America?

  437. @ jeff1217 — It isn’t because:

    1) Stockholm isn’t a US Airways transatlantic gateway city or oneworld hub.
    2) You typically can’t transit the same airport twice on a one way.

  438. Hey lucky,
    I am trying to use the info i learned on your site re booking Biz class on Aer Lingus from Boston to Dublin in May. We have done it before with two seats but now i am trying to book four seats. United shows the space is available, and obviously BA doesn’t show Aer Lingus availability so i called and they said only two seats are available at at time ever. This sound right to you?

  439. @ Raist915 — I’d call back. They have access to different space than United does, but I don’t think it’s true that they only release two seats “ever.”

  440. Hi Lucky,
    Just seen your blog and need your help! My wife and I are now hoping to travel to Europe from Melbourne every year. I have 144,000 points on Velocity Awards, 37,000 on Qantas awards and have whatever they give on QR for a return economy trip to Europe from a couple of years ago. Essentially my points are all over the place and wanting to know the best carrier ( assuming we should align ourselves with one carrier) that we can use points for upgrades for at least one leg … Any suggestions on the best way to use them or maximise points for future travel?

  441. Hi Lucky,

    I have a question focused on Mileage cards, bonuses and continuing to add and cancel cards on a yearly basis. In my very limited experience, I’ve been denied a bonus because I had cancelled a card in one year and then tried to sign up and receive the bonus in the next year.

    I was wondering two things:

    1. How do you sign up for 12 cards every year and still receive the sign up bonuses? I would think that eventually you would have to do a repeat, right?

    2. Are you aware of which top/preferred brand / credit cards you do sign up to and cancel on a regular basis that you don’t have any issues with opening and cancelling?



  442. Hi, I have been reading your website and would love for someone to point me in the right direction
    me and my husband travel mostly domestic in the USA we have a southwest card and always get free flights , The question is we will be going on our first trip to Rome Italy on a 11 day cruise 9/21/15 thru 10/02/15 is it to late to try to get free or almost free first class or biz tickets we have very high credit scores .
    Hubby did apply for the Chase sapphire card for the 40,000 points now I am confused what cards to apply for next we could fly from any city in the US not picky about airlines we would like a nice experience . There is just so much info it is very confusing TIA

  443. Hi Lucky,

    Thank you for sending by the link. I had read that post and found it helpful previously. I would still appreciate some help with my question on wanting to benefit continuously from sign up bonuses, as that is touted as a major way to increase mileage/points balances. I understand this is dependent on the card. I was hoping you could provide your experience on which cards and card types allow for gaining bonuses multiple times AND then what is the normal wait time that they require to obtain another bonus.

  444. I took a colleague on a research trip to Istanbul in October. This employee has not travelled out of the country much and I wanted to make the experience memorable. I asked Points Pros to help out with the flights. Even with our complicated itinerary, the process couldn’t have been easier and it was less expensive that I ever imagined. We flew first class all the way. My colleague, ensconced in his lie flat cocoon on United, was happier than a mega millions lottery winner. He now complains that he is ruined for future flights in economy. Poor baby.
    Many thank to Alex for making this trip happen. Best travel dollars I have ever spent – ever!

  445. Hi Lucky, i have a question on booking Lufthansa flights from SIN-FLR (via FRA on Lufthansa) via lifemiles – i was hoping that LX releases its business class seats in the 2wk run-up to departure date but that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Do you know if calling them up possibly opens more seats not shown on the website please?

    Thank you!

  446. Hi Ben,

    I am posting my question again as I don’t see it posted yet.
    My question was what points & miles I should start accumulate for a few premium cabin award seats from/to Australia to Eastern European cities such as Prague, Budapest? I want to take my parents for a surprise travel like what you just did for your dad. I have currently ~150K AA (after combining US Air miles), 120K Delta miles, and 65K Alaska Air miles. And I plan to use your award booking service when the time is due. If it helps, I am willing to apply for a few CCs for a sign up bonus.
    H Song

  447. Hi Lucky,

    do you and the team have much success booking QF F using USDM or AA miles? or is the easier route to just use Asia Miles or Avios given the additional booking window (assuming insufficient QF miles)

  448. @ H Song — I think US Airways miles would probably leave you best positioned for such an award, since you could fly Cathay Pacific, Qantas, British Airways, etc. So if you can accumulate those and redeem them before the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles program merge, you’d have the most luck, in my opinion.

  449. Lucky,

    Thank you for your reply. How many US Air miles should I get for each premium class return ticket from Australia to Eastern Europe?

    Thanks again,
    H Song

  450. Hi Lucky – Do you happen to know how many AA miles are required for round trip travel between US and India in business class?


  451. Hi Lucky

    Recently read the article on award release dates vs. the booking windows for the FF airline with which you have points. I’m looking for 2 * Firsts from PER to NAS return via JFK (Stopover wanted) using Dividend Miles in Nov 15. Cathay would be great, however I reckon I might see the award firsts disappear before I can book via USAirways, since Cathay release 360 days in advance and USAirways allow bookings 335 days in advance. Any tips please?

  452. @ Richard — Well the other problem is that nowadays Cathay Pacific only typically releases one first class seat per flight when the schedule opens. To be honest first class pickings are very slim. Your best bet would be to aim for a top business class product, like Cathay Pacific, for example.

  453. Lucky: Million Mile Secrets posted an article on flying around the world for 150K miles. What would your award service charge to map the several pieces to this puzzle? How far in advance would you start planning it – lets say Im thinking June 2016? Thanks for all the help you always provide – you are a testament to good customer service!

  454. @ Rod — I’d suggest planning 11 months in advance. How much we charge depends on the complexity of the routing, but if you email us we can give you a better idea. We work primarily via email, however.

  455. Lucky, quick questions I’d be grateful if you could answer – I’m racking up Avios on British Airways to take my husband on a blowout trip to Tokyo (at least eighteen months from now). I’d love to take him first class, but is there a chance we can get two tickets at the same time? Or should I just plan on business class, which he’d be happy enough with? And is British Airways our best option, or is there a better one with Oneworld? (I know you’re not thrilled with BA 1st class.) Thanks so much!

  456. Lucky, need help. My goal is to give my mom and nephew business or first class tickets on emirates from Islamabad to New York for the summer ideally on emirates. I travel quite a bit for work but my miles are all over the place. I have around 45k AA miles, and my daughter has 45k AA miles. In the next 6 months we are traveling from Boston to Miami, Denver x 2, hawaii, and possibly Paris. How can I configure my travel to be able to get the award miles needed to pass on to my mom? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  457. @ Job — If you want them to fly Emirates then the only good airline to credit miles to would be Alaska. Unless you open a few credit cards you won’t have enough miles for that with such short notice, though.

  458. Lucky, thank you so much for your very quick response!! I was thinking of opening a couple of credit card accts given that I have excellent credit. Any idea how many miles it will take? I tried to figure this out taking to emirates on the phone but they are not great with this info. The other options would be Etihad/Qatar/BA, I’m assuming BA may be easier?

  459. @ Job — Through Alaska, Emirates first class would be 90,000 miles. BA would come with huge fuel surcharges, so isn’t a great option.

  460. Hey Lucky,
    I really need your help hereโ€ฆ I just found out I am 2 NIGHTS from jumping to Elite Gold status on HHonors. However it is impossible for me to attend a Hilton in the last week of the calendar year. Say if i book and prepay a any Hilton Hotel, but do not show up, is it still accredited in my HHonors account? If not, do you have any tips or ideas for me to try-out in getting this gold status, maybe purchasing any other way?

    Really looking forward to the Etihads A380 Trip Report! Keep it up!

    Huge ThankS!

  461. @ Cris Lambertucci — Wish I had a trick, but unfortunately if you no show you won’t earn the stay credit. ๐Ÿ™

    Maybe try and have a friend check into a property by booking it in your name and adding them as the second guest?

  462. Hi Lucky,

    Really enjoying your blog: well written and I appreciate your honest take on your experiences. I have been with United/Star Alliance for many years and looking to cash in some of my United miles and potentially GPU’s to fly LAX to Denpasar Bali (DPS) in October 2015. Two questions:

    -Asiana has a Saver Award in Business right now for 80K one way. I’ve read your review on OZ First Class Suite, but any thoughts or recent experience on their Business product?
    -Any other Star Alliance partners you’d recommend I look into that I might not find available on United’s website? EVA Air perhaps?

    Thank you in advance…

  463. @ Rob Hauer — I haven’t done Asiana’s longhaul business class, though have heard good things about it in general. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly it. Otherwise I also love EVA and ANA.

    Enjoy the trip!

  464. Hey, I’m hanging trouble booking an award ticket and wanted your help. Im trying to book a saver business ticket using United miles from ORD to AMD (city in India). I found a ticket that I liked. It goes ORD-IST-DEL-AMD. The issue is that while Turkish instantly confirmed the first two flights, Air India did not on the last leg. It still shows that Air India has to confirm and that I should call United Airliens. The itinary does not even show up on my United account, nor have any miles been deducted. I called United and they told me that they would try again and that it was odd because the DEL-AMD leg was available on their inventory. The same thing is happening on the return trip as well.

    I feel as this is just some confusion on Air India’s side having just joined Star Alliance, but not sure what to do or how to get this resolved.

  465. @ Kush — That’s definitely odd. Sometimes it just makes sense to wait a day or so, and eventually it confirms correctly. Good luck!

  466. I plan to make a trip to Mumbai, India from SFO this December. My wife would love to be able to get atleast one flight (To or from) in business class.
    I obviously dont want to pay for this upgrade. And was hoping to be able to use miles to make this happen. I only have 75K United miles so far.
    Are there any ways I can pull this off?

    Thank you!

  467. @ David — Depends what you’re looking for. I’m happy redeeming 32,500 American miles for three cabin first class, personally.

  468. @ mskd — You could try applying for another credit card, but in general if there’s award space at the saver level, that’s almost enough to book a one way.

  469. Lucky,
    Need your expertise. I have a question. Been looking at us AA miles for a one way first class award for 2 of us on December DXB-LHR QF1 LHR-ORD BA 295 and ORD-CLT US522 Availability has been good. Got plans straightened and sat down to book tonight and now if I choose 2 on AA website. No First available at all on Dec 1. If I change to 1 passenger tons of availability on many flghts. Should i just book 1 and then hope another seat becomes available?


  470. @ John — All depends on how set your dates are, since there’s no guarantee if/when space will open up. If your dates are set then I think it’s worth the risk to lock in dates. Otherwise I’d wait.

  471. im flying in march from eithad i want to upgrade the ticket with miles i hv american and some eithad miles as many miles typically do i need ?and which wld be best option to ugrade either using aa or eithad miles?

  472. @ madiha — You can only use Etihad miles and not American miles to upgrade an Etihad ticket. The cost depends on your route and fare class.

  473. Lucky:

    I’ve been accumulating a ton of cards for the bonus miles over the last year. I am trying to formulate a strategy for spending based on the category.

    I own a shoe store and we charge over $500,000 in stock roughly to cards over the course of a year. Here’s been the strategy I’ve been using:

    1. Gas, Hotel, Cell Phone, Office Supply, Phone, Internet, Cable TV – Use Chase Business Ink
    2. Travel (non United or SWA) and Dining – Use Chase Sapphire
    3. Travel on SWA, United, AA, Delta, etc – Use corresponding card from this brand

    I mostly travel overseas to Europe and Japan flying out of SFO. So I use United….as they fly direct to the destinations of my choice. I recently got 2 Starwood cards to pay for the hotels along with a Barclay Arrival. Most of the cards were applied for on the links from your site,

    So my biggest dilemma falls back to how I can maximize the points for purchases made from my vendors. I mentioned I spend around 500,000 per year on cards. Much of which is spent with big brands like Adidas, Puma, Asics, and other footwear companies. If I use my United Club card, I receive 1.5 per purchase. Each mile is worth around 1.4 cents. If I use Arrival+, I get 2 miles per dollar plus the 10% back.

    So my questions are:

    1. Are Arrival miles really worth using over United if if I plan to redeem for United International Premium cabin flights anyways?
    2. If I mainly wish to fly United for it’s direct destination possibilities to my favorite destinations, would I be better off using the United Club or Arrival cards?
    3. Is there any other card useful for this type of business spending? One that can net better than 2.2 cents per mile? My business spending isn’t Office Depot,etc. It’s with the wholesale division of these companies and not their consumer sites. I wonder how this is classified (shopping vs. business spending)

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.


  474. @ aaron — If the goal is international premium cabin redemptions on United, then the Arrival Card wouldn’t be a good choice for you. The card basically accrues a return of ~2.2% “good as cash” towards travel. That’s good in lowering the cost of hotels, revenue flights, etc. But you won’t come out ahead if you’re looking for premium cabin travel on United that way.

    Meanwhile I value United miles at ~1.4 cents each, and then with the United Club Card you get a 50% bonus, so it’s a roughly ~2.1% return, the way I see it.

    That being said, it’s a different kind of return, given that it’s a return in the form of miles that can be used towards premium cabin tickets, as opposed to a return that can be used as cash.

    If you’re not 100% committed to flying United I’d seriously consider the Starwood Business Card. It gives you so many more redemption opportunities so that you can fly better airlines in many cases, especially programs with more lucrative redemption rates.

    Good luck!

  475. Hey, Lucky:

    Your blog got me hooked on collecting miles and using them for award flights! Just a quick question for you.

    I’ll be studying abroad next semester in Dublin and hope to travel throughout Europe while I’m over there. I have about 100k Ultimate rewards points – what airline would you recommend I transfer them to in order to get the most out of my points (flying economy)? BA awards seem to route me through LHR for nearly every flight, doubling the cost as opposed to flying direct, which is why I’m hesitant to transfer to BA.


  476. @ studenttraveler — BA probably is still your best option. Do keep in mind BA partners with Aer Lingus, they just don’t show space online. So you can book Aer Lingus using BA Avios if you call, which is a great value.

  477. Hey Lucky,
    Quick question- I’m wanting to fly IAH-MAD (or BCN) in economy in a few weeks.
    Better to redeem the 40K RT (milesaaver) American miles? Just making sure I’m not leaving any other good options on the table for this.
    Thanks to several of your links, I Have enough American and United miles for redemption on either- but thought AA was way to go.
    Thanks for having this blog, it’s awesome!

  478. @ David — Yes, I’d say 40K roundtrip with American off peak is a redemption value that’s tough to beat. I’d go for it!

  479. hi,
    i need help maximizing my points/miles.
    i currently have barclay arrival + card with 52, 588 miles, and next month i will have sapphired preferred 40,000 ultimate rewards, and us airways 40,000 miles with 2 companion tickets benefits with $99 each. Me and my husband want to go HNL in the summer departing from FLL or FLL – Paris. It’s my 30th birthday and I need a trip! =) could you please help me maximize these miles so i can pay little or none out of pocket? thank you so much!!

  480. Thanks Ben!
    Also, do you have an opinion about departing AA from DFW, or MIA? Both Nonstop to MAD.
    Difference between 763 and 777..

  481. Hi Lucky!

    Thanks for the fantastic blog. As an Australian reader, we don’t have any good credit card bonus options here ๐Ÿ™ My questions are:

    1. Do you know of any hacks to get cheaper stays at non major chain hotels? Specifically Ritz Carlton’s and Four Seasons hotels? Looking at staying at the FS George V in Paris but the price is astronomical.
    2. What is the cheapest method for booking SPG and Hyatt hotels, assuming one cannot access the US credit card signup bonuses? We can participate in the SGP/Hyatt buy points promos here but I’m not sure if that is the most economical method.

    Cheers & happy travels!

  482. @ Jason — Thanks! Unfortunately for the likes of Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, etc., they simply don’t do discounts typically. If you book through a program like Virtuoso or Fine Hotels & Resorts, though, they may have an offer for a third or fourth night free at some properties. But you won’t get any mass discounts at those kinds of hotels.

    With SPG/Hyatt, your best bet is to just take advantage of all the promotions they offer and mix up revenue stays with award stays based on the cent per point value you’re getting.

  483. @ David — First I’d check if either features the new cabins. If they do, I’d go with whichever does. If it’s the old cabins on both planes, I prefer the 777.

  484. Ben,

    Can I still get a Cathay Award in F to Australia via HKG with a stop over on one award? Is this something PointsPros can help with. I need (2) seats and I am having a heck of a time time finding seats. Thanks!

  485. @ @Orlijr — In theory using Alaska miles, yes. But nowadays Cathay isn’t really releasing two first class seats far in advance anymore.

  486. Lucky,

    If I submitted request for a mid-March LAX-TPE trip specifically in CX First or JL First for two, do you think PointsPros be able to handle that or is that request too specific/inflexible? I understand that CX (and sometimes JL) releases award space last minute so was hoping to have the experts handle booking that instead of doing it myself. I have some other award on hold as a backup but would MUCH rather go on CX F or JL F and would be willing to pay the fee to get it.

    Thanks Lucky!

  487. @ Brian — We can certainly try, though generally Cathay Pacific isn’t releasing two first class award seats more than a few days out, so it’s unlikely we’d be able to do anything, unfortunately.

  488. Hi Ben!

    I’m trying to upgrade a US Airways flight for this coming March using miles. I’ve checked expert flyer and it shows availability in the U booking class, but nothing in the C booking class. The US Airways agents I have spoken to insist they need to show C availability. Is this correct or are these the same agents who booked your flights to Bangkok, China?

  489. @ Jill — Hah, that is indeed correct unfortunately. Right now there’s a bunch of “U” space due to the fare class transition. So while in the past upgrade and award space has been the same, due to the current glitch it’s different. Nothing that can be done here, sorry.

  490. Hey Lucky… I submitted a request to PointsPros in the middle of last week… haven’t heard back yet. Is there someone I could check in with to make sure the submission/form made it’s way through ok?

  491. Hey Lucky, thanks for getting back to me! Yes, email above is correct. Did my original request, (outbound from SEA in March), make it through, or should I resend to the email address? Thanks!

  492. Hey Lucky. I am trying to book some award travel in J or F to Asia with 2 weeks in late Feb/early March that has to include Tokyo. Do you recommend that I use my USAirways or Avios balances? I have also about 80k ultimate rewards I can swing to the “right” airline, if need be.

  493. @ Alex R — US Airways has better award rates and doesn’t impose fuel surcharges. I would go with them.

  494. Lucky—my wife and I are thinking of going to South Africa (not sure Cape Town vs J-berg) over Christmas 2015. I know that is peak time, but how feasible is it to book business class with miles over this time period? We are in Kansas City but could travel to anywhere in US to make the award trip happen. We have a fair amount of AA/US Air miles and a decent amount in other transferable accounts. Is this a trip that your booking service could likely help with?

  495. @ Brad — If you have at least some date flexibility and book way in advance I’d say it shouldn’t be too tough to find availability on Etihad, Qatar, etc.

  496. Hey Lucky..

    I know you might have mentioned this somewhere, but do the Etihad 787s and A380s have a shower for their first class/business class passengers?


  497. Hi lucky,

    Great website!!!

    Bit of help please , my wife and i have been collecting BA avois points since 2010 and have had a great time upgrading etc. with the new changes however, I am wondering if we should change to skymiles (emirates) or virgin and ditch our beloved British airways? or do you think stick with BA? The companion voucher with BA makes it more tempting to stay loyal to them. Cheers Amit

  498. @ Amit — All depends. Where are you based, how much do you fly, where do you fly to, what types of fares, and what are your redemption goals?

  499. Hey Lucky! Mahalo for your informative blog/site!

    I want to plan a trip starting from home base Kauai going to Sydney Australia. Would like to travel first or business as it’s such a long flight, and we need to go over Christmas as it is when we both have time off.

    I am getting ready to apply for some new cardsโ€ฆwhat’s the best direction to begin collecting?

    Thanks for your help!!!

  500. Hi Lucky , thanks for the reply. We are based in London. We normally do 1 or 2 long haul flights to either to India or South Africa or Far East. As we collect enough avios we tend to fly first or business and when we can use our companion voucher if it is available. But recently I have been struggling to get the higher cabins reward seats on the popular routes….. I guess everyone wants them!! So that why I was thinking switching from BA to maybe emirates or Virgin but I’m not sure we will be able to rack up the miles as quickly as we can, like we do on our current BA Amex. Again thanks for your help .Atb Amit

  501. Hi!

    I’m a long time reader and a first time commenter. I’ve gotten okay at earning points but I really want to learn how to get better at redeeming them. Do you have any suggestions for the best way to teach myself? At the moment I have 175k AA miles and I would love to figure out an awesome way to use them, so I think that would be a good place for me to start. I am familiar with the alliances, etc, but I found all of the routing very confusing. Any suggestions you have would be very much appreciated!


  502. @ Nina — Yes, I’d suggest reading the blog, including the beginner’s guide. Have TONS of info about redeeming miles, it’s what I primarily focus on. ๐Ÿ™‚

  503. Hi Lucky,
    Great blogg you have here. I need your help. I have about 70,000 miles on mileage plus and about 70,000 on Miles and More. I fly from Hawaii to Austria every year, sometimes twice so miles accrue pretty quickly. I would love to upgrade the Austrian airlines segment of my flight but don’t know what the best way to go about this would be. I usually book on United so that I can maintain my Premier Silver status. Upgrading the code shared Austrian segment (Newark-Vienna or Chicago-Vienna) is not allowed. I don’t really care about upgrading the United portion of the flight. Can one use the Mileage plus miles to book a flight on Austrian? Should I book the flight in 2 segments (Hawaii to east coast and East coast to Austria). Should I focus on collecting miles on Miles and More instead of Mileage plus? Not getting much out of my miles. I’m kind of just sitting on them.

  504. We’d like to use US Air miles for a roundtrip in F this October.

    Outbound: Texas –> stopover Sydney 1 week –> TPE
    Inbound: TPE –> Texas

    Do you think this itineary is allowed? 120,000 miles per person, I guess?

    Are,, and useful for searching award tickets for this particular itineary?

    Many thanks for your help!!

  505. Hi Lucky

    Love your site.

    My question relates to using AAdvantage miles with Etihad Australia to Europe, when I check on Etihad web-site I can find First Guest availability, but when I contact the AA Australian booking office (I think in Fiji) they advise they are not available?

    Is this the case of a poor AA operator or is my understanding of searching in this way incorrect?


  506. @ Allan — You see “Guest” seat available? If so, I’d hang up and call again. They should have access to the same space.

  507. Provided the space is there (as seen on expertflyer this morning), what are the odds that PointsPros can get me one Emirates first award from LAX to SIN using Alaska Airlines miles for mid-May? Can you estimate how long it would take from when I submitted a formal request to when I would receive word?

  508. @ Shanghai9 — We like to play within the rules/intent of the programs, so we don’t try to force “long sells.” Since that’s the only way to book Emirates awards using Alaska miles after March, that’s not something we could help with. I’m sorry!

  509. Hi Lucky,

    Great site you run here! Its pretty much the most enjoyable and informative FFlyer travel blog out there!

    Just a quick question that I hope you can help me with – I’ve been frantically searching for award space using QF points from NRT-JFK later this year and have found availability with JAL both on the JAL website and BA websites however for some reason all 3 QF Freq Flyer agents I’ve spoken to can’t seem to see it.
    I’ve also located another 3 different routes/sectors that both websites show available but QF agents can’t see! I’m aware of phantom availability issues with CX award space however haven’t heard much info about JAL. Have you had any similar issues before?

  510. @ Nathaa — Hmmm, that’s bizarre. Not sure if there’s some issue communicating between their systems, but I’d maybe hold off a day or two and then call back. Did you also try using JAL website to verify availability?

  511. Hi Lucky โ€” in your esteemed opinion and all else being equal, is AA First on a 777 worth a 12.5k premium over US Air Envoy/333 business class on a long-haul transatlantic flight, or is the difference not substantial enough to merit the additional miles?

  512. Hey Lucky,

    I’ve tried on two separate occasions to hire Points Pros to handle award bookings for my wife and myself. On both occasions I’ve been told by your team that I “obviously have a handle on what I’m doing” and that I’d be better off handling my award myself.

    I feel that the reason for this is that because of awesome blogs like yours with awesome trip reports and great tips on our “hobby” that more complex “aspirational” awards are just not worth the Points Pro’s time or effort. I’ve been politely “blown off” twice now by Points Pro’s. It seems like Points Pro’s is fine taking on “low hanging fruit” awards where customers don’t care what airline they are on, what the routing is, whether they are in the old Lufthansa Business Class or the new, and are just happy to have finally used their miles on an award…any award.

    I feel like your travel/points/awards blog is the best out there bar none, but your Points Pro’s affiliation so far has left a lot to be desired. It’s weird to get all this great info you put out every single day on how to travel better, cheaper, but when someone like myself who has done his own award bookings for years decides he’d like to take some time off and let the “Pro’s” do the heavy lifting, I get blown off.

    I’m a huge fan of yours and I’d sincerely love to hear your take on this, as the award I just submitted to Points Pro’s was definitely aspirational but by no means impossible.

    Thanks for your consideration Lucky, keep up the great work on the blog!


  513. @ Rob — I’m really sorry that’s the experience you’ve had, and will look into it. As a general rule of thumb we do genuinely only try to take on requests when we feel we can add a lot of value. We do get quite a few requests where people seem to have just about everything figured out, in which case we’d rather say that upfront than waste your time. But it sounds like you’ve wanted more help, and I’m sorry we weren’t able to provide that. I’d love if you gave us another chance, and I’ll make sure you’re well taken care of.

  514. Lucky,

    Thanks very much, I really do appreciate your reply. One of your people has been in touch with me already and sadly due to a crazy work schedule on my part I’ve been unavailable to discuss.

    I’m really looking forward to working with you guys, I’m sure it’ll be another new and interesting aspect of “our hobby”.

    Thanks again Ben, I sincerely feel you are the best there is at what you do and Im sure the PointsPro’s will be no different.



  515. Hey Lucky,

    I am planning a trip for 2 in August to Canada and wish to redeem 2 first class tickets on Cathay from JFK to Vancouver. Any tips on how to be aware to find the fare? What fare should I be looking for (what letter)? I have expert flyer and it shows me A5 and F5 for the day I wish to go. I am using BA website to locate it, but haven’t been lucky so far to find any first class tickets.
    Thank you, Best regards

  516. Hey Lucky,

    I have a flight booked on SQ A380 from NRT-LAX next Jan and have a couple questions:

    1. Since it’s already booked, can I transfer over ~20k more and have them waitlist for FC or will I need to cancel/waitlist/rebook to do so?
    2. What are your experiences with SQ’s waitlist-is it at all worth trying? There isn’t much info about SQ’s waitlist out there and I’m wondering if it’s even worth the risk of orphaning the 20k UR.

  517. @ BW — You should be able to waitlist an award for Suites, but you would ultimately need to cancel and then rebook. It’s an easy enough process, though. It’s absolutely worth trying, there’s no downside.

  518. Hello Lucky,
    I’m new to collecting miles and points and have not booked with points yet.
    I am joining a tour group to Croatia this spring and paying the company. How can I earn the most points with my credit cards. I have Advantage world elite MasterCard, Barclaycard Arrival Plus MasterCard and Chase Ink Visa Business Card. What do I need to consider. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  519. Sup Lucky,

    Trying to book a pair of award tickets to Australia (is it easier to fly into Sydney or Melbourne?) from NYC. Any recommendations on best points redemptions? Most of my miles are in American, so I’d prefer that. And I’ve read that I can tweak out a stopover in HK…which would be great if possible. How do I ensure that I get 3-4 days in HK before heading off to Australia?

    Thanks in advance!

  520. @ Henry — What time of year do you plan on traveling, and how far in advance are you booking?

  521. @ Henry — That’s peak season and you’re not booking right as the schedule opens, so it may be a toughie. You can route via Hong Kong, but it basically requires two awards. So you’d pay the US to Asia 2 award cost, and then the Asia 2 to Australia award cost. That being said, it may be the only way to get availability, and also will allow you to do a stopover in Hong Kong. Good luck!

  522. Understood. Thanks for the rec. One followup– I see plenty of availability to HK via Cathay, but how would book the second leg & return trip?

  523. @ Henry — You might not have an option other than to return via Asia as well. The only direct flight is on Qantas, and they’re horrible about releasing premium cabin award space.

  524. I see, so fly into HK, then fly to SYD, then fly back to HK and then finally back to the US? Oy.

  525. @ Henry — Yep. For Australia you really need to book the second the schedule opens if you want something more direct, especially during peak season.

  526. Got it. Thanks Lucky for all your help. One last question– when are schedules initially released? 11 months beforehand?

  527. Hi Lucky, I’m looking to book a round trip flight on PE between LHR and HKG during the last week of May (taking advantage of the bank holiday). I have 75k Asia miles but I don’t see any award open during that period. My other options given now have been CX or BA (which BA is around 770USD cheaper). Would you recommend waiting longer and see if awards open later, or if not, do you think it’s worthwhile to take BA over CX (I’ve never taken BA PE before and did not hear great reviews from my friends)?

  528. @ Grace — If you have very specific dates then I might book now, because there’s no guarantee space will open up. While there’s a decent chance, I certainly wouldn’t count on it. I might just lock in BA, in your shoes.

  529. I saw that Etihad has announced that A380 will begin service to JFK December 1st. When do you the first/apartment availability will start showing up? I already have 2 award AUH-IAD seats in J confirmed on 787 but would gladly switch to A380.


  530. @ John — It’s anyone’s guess. I would guess it’ll be within the next month or so, but I could be wrong.

  531. Thanks Lucky – might do the BA option since it’s cheaper. Am I also reading correctly from CX’s webpage that even if I fly BA I can still choose to accrue miles under Marco Polo?

  532. Hi Lucky. I tried to redeem two trans-pacific F seats on Cathay Pacific by burning my last US Airways points. I found seats availablilty via route PVG-HKG-BOS on and a few days ago, but I couldn’t get a live representative to help me due to the high calling volume caused by the storm. And I found the seat availablity were gone today! Are there any other ways I can get these seats? Redeeming one week before departure dates obviously doesn’t work for me since my date is May and I’m afarid US Airways will complete merging with AA. Two F will become two J at that moment, which is what I wouldn’t like to see. Would you help me out?

  533. @ Paul — Wish there were something else that could be done, but that’s the major downside of airlines not allowing partner bookings online when bad weather hits. Hopefully you have better luck next time!

  534. Hey Lucky,

    Wanted to get your input on redeeming AA miles on a trip from NYC to anywhere in Europe really. Looking to book for July/Aug which is a bummer as it’s peak time. I honestly don’t have any limitations except that I’ve been to Italy and Prague…everything else I’m pretty down for. Wanted to redeem for Barcelona but that’s looking bleak. Is Frankfurt an easy option? I just figured you would know which European cities were the easiest to redeem AA points via Thanks very much!

  535. Lucky, what are the cheapest business/first flights available out of Asia, preferably near Shanghai?

  536. @ Zach — Aside from good fares out of Cairo and Colombo, I can’t say I actively monitor them. Sorry.

  537. I’d like to book award travel SFO-AMS-BRU-TXL-SFO. AF website showed there’s availability for SFO-AMS. Can I book one-way using Korean Air miles or round trip is required? How about open jaw? Likely AMS-BRU will be by train. What miles/points do you recommend to book this route? Thanks!

  538. @ JW — You have to book roundtrip. An open jaw is fine. I’d consider redeeming Delta SkyMiles to avoid fuel surcharges, assuming they have access to the space.

  539. We have about 150,000 points on our Barclaycard. We’re wanting to travel LAX to LHR this summer or fall for our 6th anniversary/husband’s 30th (myself, husband, and 3 year old–maybe without the kiddo if we go in August/September). We also get $100-500 off through the MasterCard World Elite benefit. What would be the best way to use the points? Our flights and we could pay for an upgrade later, as it’s in the budget? Thank you! I’ve enjoyed your blog a lot.

  540. I need help…
    Is there a way to trade 21,000 American Airlines miles for 21,000 in United Airlines miles?
    (I am willing to give up maybe 22,000 or 23,000 AA miles for the 21,000 UA miles)

  541. @ Michael — Unfortunately not. You can use to swap points, but you’ll lose a huge amount of value.

  542. Hey Lucky,

    Can I redeem some Alaska Miles on a Emirates flight from Sao Paulo (GRU) to HKG (via Dubia)?

    Or does all alaska miles has to be flown from/to North America?