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Answers (3)

Business class to Italy

Business class to Italy

  1. PTJ

    Hello, I’m new to the points programs. I have been reading a lot about how the programs work. I just read through the beginners guide and it has been very helpful. I have been earning points but haven’t used any yet. I’m at 150,000 UR points with a CSR and I’d like to get business class seats for my wife & I next June (2019). We will be spending a couple weeks in northern Italy and flying out of Chicago.

    Am I better off booking a fight through the Chase travel portal earning 50% more with the CSR or transferring point to a travel partner? Suggestions on which airline to fly?

    Thanks

  2. MidSouthSkier

    Welcome [USER=4303]@PTJ[/USER] – the “best airline to fly” is pretty subjective. The reality is, for those of us with fairly fixed dates or limited vacation time the “best airline” is the one that has award availability.

    To get an idea of how many miles a trip would cost (at the saver level) if you transfer them to a UR partner, Scott at Travel Codex has created the [URL=’https://www.travelcodex.com/award-maximizer/’]Award Maximizer[/URL]. That will tell you how many miles it will take for a one-way journey. It will also tell you which of the transferable currencies (like URs) will transfer to that airline. Keep in mind that if the frequent flyer program prices based on combining the price of segments (like BA) you’d need to find the cost (in miles) of each segment and add those together.

    Another helpful tool is Frequent Miler’s [URL=’http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/06/24/transfer-partner-master-list/’]Transfer Partner Master List[/URL]. The post is old but the spreadsheet linked in it is kept updated. That will help you remember who an airline’s non-alliance partners are and may help you save miles.

    Since you’re already in a hub city and don’t have to worry about connecting to a hub that makes things easier so let’s take your example.

    Go to the Award Maximizer and put in ORD – FCO then look at the miles required that are UR transfer partners:
    UA charges 60K each way on their own planes or 70K on their partner planes
    BA charged 75K but would really be more as you’d need to price ORD-LHR and LHR-FCO – plus BA would pass along fuel surcharges of a few hundred dollars each way
    SQ (Singapore) charge 65K each way
    Flying Blue charges 62.5K each way
    Korean charges 40K each way

    BA is in oneworld
    UA & SQ are in the Star Alliance
    Flying Blue & Korean are in SkyTeam

    If you find award space on UA, then transfer to UA. If you find award space on another Star Alliance partner, like Lufthansa (LH), then you’d want to transfer to SQ as they’d charge 5K fewer points for those flights. Of course if you fly LH it won’t be a non-stop flight so that may not be what you want to do after all.

    If you can find saver award space on Air France, KLM, Alitalia or Delta you could transfer your points to Korean and book a flight on one of those. Of course with AF/KL there will be a stop in one of their hub cities (CDG or AMS).

    Now, you’d still want to price your flight via the UR portal to see how many points they would charge for the flights but my guess is that they’re going to want a whole lot more points than an award flight would cost. I’d work on beefing up your UR balance between now and the end of June and when the flights open up for booking in July hopefully you’ll have enough. But if not, you could always buy one ticket with miles and another with cash. Most of those partners will let you book one-way tickets as well so you might be able to get 3 out of the 4 segments (2 each way) paid for with miles.

    Hope that helps but if not, let us know and we’ll try to clarify.

  3. PTJ

    MidSouth Skier,

    Thank you for the reply and all the good information. I will check out those sites you recommended to find the best path for me. Luckily we are flexible on the dates and we don’t mind if it’s not a non stop flight, so I’m hopeful to find some good options.

    Thank you, PTJ

    [QUOTE=”MidSouth Skier, post: 54970, member: 184″]Welcome [USER=4303]@PTJ[/USER] – the “best airline to fly” is pretty subjective. The reality is, for those of us with fairly fixed dates or limited vacation time the “best airline” is the one that has award availability.

    To get an idea of how many miles a trip would cost (at the saver level) if you transfer them to a UR partner, Scott at Travel Codex has created the [URL=’https://www.travelcodex.com/award-maximizer/’]Award Maximizer[/URL]. That will tell you how many miles it will take for a one-way journey. It will also tell you which of the transferable currencies (like URs) will transfer to that airline. Keep in mind that if the frequent flyer program prices based on combining the price of segments (like BA) you’d need to find the cost (in miles) of each segment and add those together.

    Another helpful tool is Frequent Miler’s [URL=’http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/06/24/transfer-partner-master-list/’]Transfer Partner Master List[/URL]. The post is old but the spreadsheet linked in it is kept updated. That will help you remember who an airline’s non-alliance partners are and may help you save miles.

    Since you’re already in a hub city and don’t have to worry about connecting to a hub that makes things easier so let’s take your example.

    Go to the Award Maximizer and put in ORD – FCO then look at the miles required that are UR transfer partners:
    UA charges 60K each way on their own planes or 70K on their partner planes
    BA charged 75K but would really be more as you’d need to price ORD-LHR and LHR-FCO – plus BA would pass along fuel surcharges of a few hundred dollars each way
    SQ (Singapore) charge 65K each way
    Flying Blue charges 62.5K each way
    Korean charges 40K each way

    BA is in oneworld
    UA & SQ are in the Star Alliance
    Flying Blue & Korean are in SkyTeam

    If you find award space on UA, then transfer to UA. If you find award space on another Star Alliance partner, like Lufthansa (LH), then you’d want to transfer to SQ as they’d charge 5K fewer points for those flights. Of course if you fly LH it won’t be a non-stop flight so that may not be what you want to do after all.

    If you can find saver award space on Air France, KLM, Alitalia or Delta you could transfer your points to Korean and book a flight on one of those. Of course with AF/KL there will be a stop in one of their hub cities (CDG or AMS).

    Now, you’d still want to price your flight via the UR portal to see how many points they would charge for the flights but my guess is that they’re going to want a whole lot more points than an award flight would cost. I’d work on beefing up your UR balance between now and the end of June and when the flights open up for booking in July hopefully you’ll have enough. But if not, you could always buy one ticket with miles and another with cash. Most of those partners will let you book one-way tickets as well so you might be able to get 3 out of the 4 segments (2 each way) paid for with miles.

    Hope that helps but if not, let us know and we’ll try to clarify.[/QUOTE]
    Mid

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