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Best way to identify AA partner availability in a short time
I have a bit of a unique situation. For my MBA program we will be completing a ~10 day trip abroad next May. What I don’t know yet is exactly where I will be going. In a few weeks they will release the 5 trip options, available on a first come first serve basis. My challenge is going to be to quickly check availability on awards(hopefully saver) and turn my choice back in to secure my spot. I’ve already seen SDF-HKG availability dry up on the AA website and still new to searching BA and Quantas for options.
I come by my miles primarily through credit card(bonuses+spending) as well as ~3-4 domestic trips annually. Between work and school and kids, travel hasn’t been occurring, so I have a decent balance but still need to conserve miles for family travel down the line.
Currently sitting a little north of 400k miles, so I would really like to experience First class(or even Business) for the first time on a long haul. Potential destinations mentioned are Croatia, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Australia, Macao, Singapore, etc.
Is there a web resource? Do I just call an agent and drive them crazy?
[USER=923]@Bourbon[/USER] speaking to an agent is probably the slowest way to get information. Have you considered broaching this with your MBA administration and suggesting that this method with no notice places a great burden on any student with financial limitations who must research travel costs before choosing a spot? They could release the list a day earlier and then allow to students to register at a set time the following day…
If not, then BA is probably your best bet to search for partner awards and AA of course in case they have routings to where you are flying (they might have extra saver seats that BA won’t show).
Thanks! I’m going to keep trying on the BA site, can’t quite get the hang of it. It keeps telling me that they don’t fly this route.
Okay, so a couple general parameters when searching award space (and these are sweeping generalizations):
When your plans are this vague, think of each continent as having the same effective award availability. For all intents and purposes, whether you’re trying to get to Croatia or Luxembourg doesn’t really matter — what you have to worry about is the flight from the North American hub to the European hub. Ditto for Macau versus Singapore — you’re really just looking for space to Hong Kong or Tokyo to start with.
If you’re putting say, San Diego to Dubrovnik into a search tool, you will get either no results, or terrible results. Instead search from maybe Chicago to London, then figure out the extra pieces.
Australia isn’t likely going to have space without routing through Asia, so unless you have academic reasons for wanting Australia you can probably cross that off the list.
So you don’t have to search every route. Just think of it as finding space to the continent in general, put that on hold, and then add the flights on either end.
Does that help at all?
That does help, but will take some practice. Yesterday I wasn’t able to get the BA site to work for me at all, but I got off the flight finder and found another search that returns results.
So for example I did find space from DFW to HKG if I leave early on the 12th. Then I went back and searched from ORD and there is space available on the 13th. So the first step is to identify the local gateways for each destination, then search through them and then try to piece together any individual segments?
Any way to tell if these will qualify as a saaver award for my AA miles?
[USER=923]@Bourbon[/USER] any partner space you see on BA *should* be bookable with AA. With that being said it does sometimes show ghost space so it is not infallible. You can verify with JAL or Qantas.
Wikipedia will show you the US gateways for AA partners, just search for (airline) destinations.
Well the Destinations are out. 5 trip options, Hong Long/Shanghai, Seoul/Taipei, Gdansk/Prague, Zagreb,Luxembourg, Sydney,Auckland.
That is in the order that I ranked them, though I keep questioning my decision.
Right now I have F tickets held that will take me from SDF to ORD to HKG on the 13th, arriving after 8pm on the 14th which is our arrival day. I may try to move that back a day if availability opens up closer to the travel date so I have some walking around time in Hong Kong before the class schedule kicks in.
Coming back is a bit more convoluted. I quick grabbed something , so currently going PVG-HKG on the 22nd, stopover overnight and then HKG-LAX-CLT-SDF. If my wife decides to go with and leave the kids with family we may try to find a side trip and stay a few days before coming home. Or I may just try to change my routing to land a stopover day in Tokyo, Honolulu, or somewhere I haven’t thought of.
That sounds great! AAdvantage doesn’t charge a fee for changing the routing, so that gives you plenty of flexibility for the return!
Yea, so far so good. I think I could definetly optimize my return trip some. Once we know for sure about my wife and if we are continuing our stay I can be definite. I may try to move my stopover to Tokyo instead of HKG just to cram in a little more on my trip.
Given this may be my only chance for long haul first class, or at least only for a long time, Should I try to find space an another partner airline? Anyone else transpacific with a FC to rank above/equal with Cathay? I can probably get AA coming back depending on my routing
Cathay Pacific has my favorite all-around first class. JAL might be fun to try as well, but I wouldn’t bother with AA.
Trying to make JAL work, but not finding availability. Any idea if/when JAL releases more award space? Was hoping to fly out early on the 22nd, stay over for a night in Tokyo and pick some items up for the kids and then continue on NRT-ORD-SDF on the 23rd.
Probably my best bet is to lock in what I have now, and if I’m lucky I can either update my routing through HKG to hit ORD and get home sooner, or I may have a chance to squeeze a night in Tokyo in if JAL opens up.
I’m still holding on to these reservations( for the third time) waiting for the coordinator to get moving and confirm our flight destinations.
For the time being I have acceptably schedule flights, in first class all the way through. When we get closer to the date if a seat opens up I’m going to be interested in changing my routing some, either to move my stopover to Japan or to steal a night in New York or LA on my way to HKG.
Is it smarter to lock in the routing that I want now and book business class in hope that I will be able to upgrade the international leg down the line, or do I keep my F booking and roll the dice? My concern is that if Cathay or JAL open up the F booking a few days before the flight, will I run into a problem finding something on AA for the domestic legs?