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Should I hold out for a better award flight?
My wife and I have been stock piling miles across American Airlines, some United, and ton of Ultimate Rewards from the CSR. We’ve spent some American miles here and there but decided to cash everything in for a trip to Japan at the end of the summer in business class.
Several weeks ago JAL opened up a ton of reward availability and we grabbed two business seats from ORD to NRT in JAL business for 60,000 AA miles + $5 each.
We knew there was a risk of not being able to use some combo of our ~40,000 United miles, ~150,000 UR, or ~11,000 Korean miles for our return flight. Our preferred option is to fly direct from NRT or HND to ORD using UR+United Miles on ANA or United. Unfortunately, there are 2 First awards available on ANA yet we don’t have the miles – no business. I have expert flyer alerts set up for business availability. Our other option is to fly KAL business from either KIX or TYO to Seoul then on to ORD the next day. There is plenty of availability as usual but two worries: 1) having a layover we’d rather not have and 2) if we have to cancel we’re stuck with a ton of Korean miles and we’d rather be stuck with a ton of United miles being based in Chicago.
What do you recommend? Hold out for a bit longer on a possible ANA or United award availability from TYO to ORD (we are flexible over a 3 day window in September)? ANA operates two flights from Tokyo to Chicago and United operates one each day. Or go ahead and book Korean Air flights now so we have something?
Is there an option to route on NH, AC, or UA throguh SFO, LAX, SEA, IAH, SJC, IAD, DEN, YVR, YYZ, or EWR then connect to ORD with saver fares on the dates you want to travel? You could also look at OZ.
If you do this you are at least guaranteed a business seat across the Pacific and can later change the ticket to a nonstop if it opens up for a $75 change fee and you won’t have to commit to staying overnight in ICN as you should be able to connect same day to ORD.
Keep in mind if you do book KE there is no cancellation fee or redeposit fee until 7/31/2017. Of course your points are now with KE but they don’t expire for TEN years.
Why aren’t you getting first class in KE? It’s only 80K versus 75K on United for ANA business class? September is not peak season with KE so you should be able to get them at $80K and about $100 in fees.
As far as the overnight, stay at the Hyatt across the street from the airport. They have a great restaurant.
ANA opens tons of first space to ORD but is far more stingy with business class.
Hi [USER=2793]@gdis2002[/USER], and welcome!
Why don’t you go ahead and place the Korean reservation on hold while you decide? They allow you to keep a ticket on hold for a very long time, so you’d at least have a backup option.
Thank you for the advice. I went to put the Korean reservations on hold and unfortunately I butchered the availability through their site – only 1 award ticket in either Prestige or First for the ICN-ORD dates that worked best (the KIX or TYO flights all had a lot of openings). I went ahead and put the next available date that was doable and had 2 seats open in Prestige on hold for 30 days. If something better opens up – a few days earlier or more first class seats – we plan to change. Has anyone had luck booking in Prestige, confirming/paying when the 30 days expires, then switching dates or switching to First for the additional miles?
Brad B – I did consider doing this and found one flight that went NRT-San Jose – ORD on a date that would be ok. It was 75k miles for ANA busines then United economy for the San Jose- ORD leg. We may do this then pay the switch fee if a direct opens. Will see what happens in next 30 days…