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Master Plan (Dubai)
Im new to this, but figured this would be the place to get help with my master plan! We are planing a trip to Dubai in 2018. Plenty of time (I hope) to pick the right travel cards, and accumulate plenty of points or miles, not for 1st class, but at least upgrade to a nice business class seat so the wife and I can sleep for our flight. (any guesses on estimated cost/miles)? I am looking at Ethiad, Emirates maybe Qatar Airways? We would also like to take advantage of the beautiful lounges where they have great food, showers, and massages. I am sifting through all the information to find out what alliance do I need to be with? What credit card should I have, (Is there a card without paying $495 a year)? What gets me access to the right lounge?, whats the right airline?, this is going to be a long relationship and I want to make sure I make the right choice. We usually make one or two big trips a year and I am looking to choose an airline card in the next week or so. I figured I would ask here to get advice for the right cards to start earning those points and add those expenses to make every dollar count! Any and all help is appreciated!
I might help if you could tell us where in the world you are located and what airport you can easily fly out off? And if you are willing to position to other airport for better chances of find award space?
Kind of hard to give advice without any details.
Sure here are a few…I live in North Carolina..Close to Sandford…the main airport we fly out of is Raleigh (RDU) 1hr commute, there is small airport in Fayetteville about 30min away (usually not allot of connetions), and another airport Charlotte which is 2 1/2 hrs away.
If you can accumulate American Airlines miles (credit card signups and/or buying miles) you can fly Qatar or Etihad to Dubai/Abu Dhabi. AA charges 70k miles for one way business and 115k miles for one way first.
Citi has several American Airlines cards so you could sign up for them when the bonus is good. The AAdvantage Platinum card (business and personal) can have 50-60k bonus, the AAdvantage Gold can have 25k-30k. Citi AAdvantage Executive also has 50k bonus.
Qatar doesnt use any aircraft with a first class cabin when flying to North America so you’d be looking at business class. Qatar serves New York JFK, Philadelphia and Boston with their new A350 so if you choose to fly QR, fly AA from RDU to either JFK or PHL. Flying to BOS requires an additional connection, unless you travel to CLT. You can get a connecting flight from DOH to DXB.
Etihad is a partner of American and you can use AA miles to fly with Etihad at the same rates listed above. Etihad uses the B789 aircraft from Washington Dulles and the A380 from New York JFK. You can fly AA from RDU to JFK or from CLT to IAD. I’ve flown both Etihad F in both these planes and it’s a great product but of course the A380 F is better. When you land in Abu Dhabi, the Etihad chauffeur can drive you to your hotel in Dubai as well as pick you up on your return.
Emirates is trickier since there was just a devaluation on Alaska. Emirates from US to the Middle East requires 150k miles. You can sign up for the Alaska Air cards and/or buy miles. From RDU, you would have to buy your own positioning flights to the airport EK is flying out of.
Good info David and thanks for responding!
I have been contemplating the AA Platinum card with the promotion 50K miles, and I’m currently signed with AA. I have also been contemplating the Chase Saphire card, but not sure on that one yet. Ethiad airline seems to have a Great product and it would be seem to be easy to tranfer/redeem the miles. Figuring the exact aircraft I wanted to fly on and the buisiness class that would allow us to sleep with a good menu (without breaking the bank), is my objective! I think I may be able to meet it with two vacations planned this year and next (1 international and 1 domestic) which should add more more miles along with accumulation of target airline mile spending!
Ethiad A380 Is my target, beautiful plane. I’ll have to look up “F” you mentioned to see what it’s like. 70K miles is not bad! Are th 50K promotional sign up miles one for one trade/redemption? How is Ethiad lounge in JFK vs IAD? The wife really wants to visit the six sense spa in the lounge! We really want to enjoy the experience. We try to make the most out of each trip the best we can!
Sorry for all the questions!!
Once you get bonus miles from the credit card signup, you can do whatever you want with them – its not limited to one redemption. Lucky has a guide to booking Etihad, found here [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/02/24/redeeming-american-miles-on-etihad-trick/[/URL]
I havent been to a stateside Etihad lounge but the one at JFK is fairly new – it opened in December 2015 when Etihad started A380 service to New York. By the time you fly, the new Etihad First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi should be opened so if youre flying EY back to the states, you can enjoy it before your flight.
This is good news, it will be great to enjoy both lounges! As for the miles…I see read/reviewed allot of verbiage about miles not “equal” to a mile. That is why I asked if my 50K bonus sign miles directly equate to 50K miles to Ethiad miles if I chose to save them exactly for that trip. Then I would know (estimated) if the buisiness seat was 70K miles…how man more I need for that leg, and return.
You cant transfer AA miles to Etihad. AA and EY are partners and you can redeem AA miles for Etihad flights by calling AAdvantage and giving them the dates and flights you want, after you have confirmed that there is award space available. You can search for “GuestSeats” available on Etihads website and if there are seats available, AAdvantage can book those seats
Yes I understand that process. Here is another question. When I look for these “gues seats” is it true that sometimes they may not show on the website, but maybe be searched by a rep.
Possible but doesnt happen often.
the US AAdvantage call center has had trouble seeing space and the solution is to call AAdvantage in Australia. That’s how I booked all the Etihad premium cabin awards with AA miles. If the AA Australia call center cant see it and there isnt Guest availability on Etihads site, there isnt a seat
I’ve seen that too! That’s allot help! Tell me how much in advance do you usually book seats? I am a big planner and usually I’m looking a year in advance! Which means I will be looking sometime next year for seats for 2018. I have to figure what is going what’s the best form to go ..(I’m sure you have suggestions)…we’ve already been looking at weather and do not want to be there during the hottest parts of the year. We are looking at staying at the Palms hotel, so any tips an hints from your stays (or anyone else who reads this thread) chime in!
AA only lets you book 330 days in advance – about 11 months. Avoid their summer months. Ive stayed at the Park Hyatt Dubai and the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights. I liked both of them, especially the PH
I will take a look at both to make sure I’m not missing out. I’ve been viewing allot experiences through YouTube to get a “feel” or idea what to plan. You haven’t YouTube any of yours have you? ☺️
[USER=1761]@Jay J[/USER], lots of good advice from [USER=29]@David W[/USER] here. The only thing I might add is to be realistic about your lounge experience. When traveling J, lounges are nice but not usually lavish. Some do offer 15 minute free massages but you may need to pay more for a better experience. Similarly the food options are usually pretty good but not something I’d recommend planning a lounge visit around.
Totally understand! I think after looking at AA’s Admiral lounge, I think anything they offer is going to be quite nice!
Hey guys Im back….now with about 56K (pending to be posted to my AA advantage select account). I am now looking at booking my next trip this year. I need advice to whether I should take advantage of another 50,000 mile bonus sign up (Chase Saphire preferred), or simply buying AA miles with the current 35% off sale ($958.80 for 50,000 miles) or (135k + 5K for $2,588.60). How do each transfer over to Etihad?, if i purchase 140K miles for AA…am i able to transfer directly or do they get devalued? As always thanks for any advice!!
Where are you planning to go?
You [I]could [/I]sign up for the Chase Sapphire and meet most of the spend by buying AA miles and maxing out the current promo. However, it’s not the best promo and I’d rather wait for an offer with bonus miles rather than discounts.
AA miles dont transfer over to Etihad. Generally, one airline’s miles cannot be transferred to another airline. AA and EY are partners though and you can [I]redeem[/I] AA miles to fly on EY.
Lastly, considering AA’s new chart hasn’t even been in effect for 2 months yet, I dont think they’ll make any rate changes any time soon. They may make some tweaks with regions and routing rules though. Recently AA separated the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent into separate regions but kept rates the same. AA now also allows US-Indian Subcontinent awards on AA or CX via HKG
Dubai business class is the goal here in 2018. My entire goal here is to start earning (valuable) miles toward this flight. With 3 more vacations planned in the 1 1/2 years. I want to be sure every dollar spent is working for me. Its interesting what you said..I just spoke to an AA agent and specifically asked about Etihad transfer. She confirmed the ease of transfer and looked up 1st and business class milage requirements for each….am I missing something? Maybe she meant redemptions?
Again, you can use AA miles to book travel on EY but you cant transfer miles from AAdvantage to Etihad Guest. Call another agent and be more specific about your question and maybe initiate a transfer and see how far that goes.
2018 is still very far off, you cant even book travel for the latter half of 2017 yet. It may not be the best idea to buy miles now.
What cards do you have now and what are your current approximate mileage balances? Assuming youre traveling with someone, do they have their own miles and points? If not, I’d get them started as well.
The only card i have right now is the citi Platinum select. I opened the account last month and already have achieved the spend goal $3K and then some.. (miles will not pos for another month or so). I didn’t want continue using the card if I could use the money to easily reach spending goals on another card with a bonus. My wife has her own card as we are trying to accomplish the same goal. I know 2018 is far off, but that is why I started early. To my understanding the mileage doesn’t have an expiration date? I have yet to acquire any other mileage from any other source..hence why I am asking for guidance where to acquire miles next as I have 3 more trips to plan.
AA miles dont expire as long as there is activity in the account. If there is no activity for 18 months i believe the account is closed?
You can both apply for the CitiAAdvantage Business Platinum card when its offering a 50k bonus. That’ll help boost the mileage. If there is a high bonus for the CitiExecutive AA card, that’s also a great option but do know that the $450 annual fee is not waived. I got the CitiAadvantage Gold card for the 25k bonus but I’ll be closing the card when the annual fee is due.
If you want to stay at Hyatt hotels, then Chase cards are a great option – Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink and Ink Plus. After you get the bonus’s I would keep Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited and Ink cards. the Chase Hyatt card also gives 2 free nights anywhere in the world.
We plan on at least two trips a year, so no worries over closed accounts. Most of the cards you mentioned require $3-4K spending to meet the goal for bonus (which essential can be met 1 for each of our trips…3 cards @ 50K bonus = 150,000 miles).
My first questions goes back to that…if its CHEAPER to acquire 50-150K miles buying directly from AA, whats the PROs’/Cons of doing that rather than opening a few cards to meet the same mileage goal? Is the value of AA miles bought directly on the website better or worse (less or more valuable) than bonuses from the cards (I hope that makes sense).
I understand that each card has its “perks” like club access. Free night hotel stays and such.
Value of miles once theyre in your account are all the same since redeeming them is based on AA’s award chart and not how you obtained those miles.
In terms of obtaining miles, $3000 in spend on a new card may get you a 50k bonus on top of the 3k miles, but you’d have spent money on things you needed at that time – mortgage or products of some sort, and received 53k points as a reward. You can also spend $3000 on buying a bunch of miles – you’d walk out with 165k AA miles if you maxed out the current AA promo. But what if that money was originally going elsewhere, like a mortgage? That mortgage is still there.
Lastly, not all banks have the same terms. Amex only gives bonus’s once per product per lifetime. Chase has the 5/24 rule. CitiBank will not give you a bonus for a card if you have opened or closed the same card in the last 24 months. So if you’ve exhausted all credit card based options for accruing miles quickly, your next option would be buying miles.
I have looked at the Citi Gold card as well at only $750 purchase for 25k looks good.
I will debate on the next 3K to spend..I understand what your saying. Ill have to debate what process is going to get me the best return. I need to look into the Mortgage. I was thinking it would be possible to utilize a card for this. I would have to get cash from the card to do this correct? I looking at every purchase I make to earn rewards.
Getting cash from the card would make it a cash advance and is not a valid form of spend to get the bonus. Use a service like Plastiq to pay the mortgage with a credit card – it charges a 2-3.5% fee. Fee’s suck but it could be worth it if you couldnt otherwise meet the spend
I don’t want to do that, just thought there would be a way to get the miles. Ill leave that alone and just acquire through regular purchases.