Advice/input needed getting to YVR for *A award travel

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by dcpatti, Apr 3, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    I need a little help with the creative thinking and, while it's not a US-specific question, figured I might as well start with the brains in this forum before looking elsewhere.

    We've booked YVR-SYD (stopover)-AKL-YVR using US miles and traveling in J on a mix of AC and NZ and I'm having a hard time sorting out the positioning flight. I need to be in Vancouver somewhere between June 4-6 (preferrably the 5th) and returning June 21. Can't return June 20; might be able to do the 22nd but an extra missed day's work for my fella comes at a substantial price (missed work = missed pay). I really, really do not want to sit in Y on the positioning flights because, while the outbound would be tolerable, a combined 8+ hour travel day in Y after a 15-hour transpac the day before makes me want to cry already.

    I could:

    -DCA-YYZ-YVR on AC for about $3600 for 2 in J (yeowch) or about $1600 for the two of us in Y

    -DCA-PHX-YVR on US for about $1800 for 2 in Y; if I take this path I would use my Mastercard companion cert to get that price down to about $1000 for the two of us

    -Would consider upgrading the US itin on miles but TBH it would be 60k r/t for the two of us which puts me off a little bit--- that's more than we spent for an Envoy low award to Europe-- plus the US itin has a 7:00 am departure on the outbound and a 7:45 am departure on the return; I have a real problem with such an early return coming back after a transpac

    -Could also do the AC DCA-YYZ-YVR for 100k miles for the both of us but again, now that I am used to 100k miles getting me almost to Australia in J, a little part of me weeps to think of using tthose to go to Canada (even if it is really far away in Canada).

    -I can't find enough NF availability on UA metal to try a "dummy" booking to see what their upgrade upsell offer is; good NF availability DCA-ORD but either 0 or 1 ORD-YVR/YVR-ORD across the board (NF is the UA upgrade bucket from Coach to First and chances are, if you book when there is NF available, they will offer you a cheap upgrade. Since I've seen them as low as $225 each way transcon, and they convert to an A booking at 150% PQM, I like this option, although they can frequently be very overpriced)

    -Buying a Y fare on AC and upgrading with miles will cost more than buying the J ticket outright

    -I have considered canceling the whole itinerary and starting over with the WAS-xxx-YVR included; while this is definitely the cheapest option, a 3-stop itinerary and a 29-hour travel day puts me off, plus there are just too many chances for something to go wrong and leave me somewhere other than YVR when my flight to SYD takes off. I'd rather spend a day or two in each direction in Vancouver (lovely city btw), have the easier travel days and the cushion against WX/MX messing things up for the transpac

    -I've also considered rebooking WAS-YVR (stop)-SYD-YVR-WAS and using miles or $ to go between SYD and AKL but as I understand it, I only get one stopover so I would still have a 25-29 hour travel day in one direction or the other

    -I could also suck it up, buy the US tickets and keep my fingers crossed for the comp upgrade

    -I do not want to fly in/out of SEA and take the train or commuter jet to YVR, it's just one more moving part that can break and one more thing that makes the journey longer.

    If I could get the AC fare down by about 25% I would probably just book the J ticket outright; it has the best itinerary in terms of time, and the return from YVR-YYZ would be on their A333 with International config so I see good value on that. But none of the recent AC promos are a good fit.

    I would love advice/input/recommendations/crafty solutions. Whatever we do, it must earn miles on US unless we pay for the whole thing on miles, and factors are in this order of importance: price, comfort, not getting up at 4am for a 7am flight.

    thanks in advance!
     
  2. vortoozo
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    vortoozo Silver Member

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    Being based in YVR, I can tell you that the PHX-YVR upgrade is about as guaranteed as you can get. Of course, DCA-PHX is probably the exact opposite. I'm not too familiar with the companion cert, but can it be used for paid First? What about using the cert to get Y price down to $1000 and then using a mileage upgrade?
    Looks like US F is the same price as AC J. If I were going to pay for F in your situation, I'd probably do US F simply because you'll get your preferred bonus miles on US but not AC.
     
  3. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Stopover is greater than 24 hours, no? So you'd be able to do an overnight in YVR on outbound or inbound plus a longer stopover for the other one. That would be how I would roll- especially since LAN is offering business class on AKL-SYD for $800 for dates in June- much cheaper than your YVR positioning flights. (Yes, I know, an LA flight wouldn't accrue miles/status on US- they are a oneWorld shop. They also have a great business class product, from what I have heard.) Or if you simply MUST accrue on a *A carrier, then fly NZ on a paid ticket ($500ish in Y for same random dates in June).
     
  4. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    Good idea on LAN; I'll have to check into that. I could use my one stopover on the outbound to stay in YVR a couple of days and just pay to get myself back and forth between AKL and SYD.

    If I pay for the positioning flight in J/F I would actually probably go with AC; I think both AC and US would accrue the same PQM so I'd be out the 6k or so bonus miles which to me is an OK "loss" if it get me into a more pleasant schedule. US would have me departing DCA at either 7am or 5pm; the 5pm departure is not so bad but the 11:45pm landing in YVR translates to a pretty much wasted day, can't do a whole lot after 8 hours of flying and a midnight landing. AC has a 10:00 am that really appeals to me. On the return on US there's nothing but a 7:45 AM departure and I could get a noonish one on AC.

    Just read that US might be offering another Buy Miles promo targeted at US MC cardholders which I'll have to look into as well; buying the required miles for $1100 or so and doing an award ticket somehow hurts less than using 100k of my existing miles, and the price sure is right.
     

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