Advice: NZ-USA trip in May, buy ticket or redeem miles?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by TrueBlueFlyer, Nov 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    Hey guys, need some input to help with a decision I'll eventually have to make.

    My sister is getting married in May 2012... I'm in US now but moving to NZ in a week.

    What is the most cost effective way to come back next May... buying a ticket outright or using miles? At this point I have about 50k AA and 50k UA miles... have credit cards for both airlines, so thanks to spending the mileage is climbing. I do not expect to earn much from flying as I will not be in either airline's market... likewise tickets I buy on partner airlines, likely will not be the earning type.

    I do also have a few trips planned in the region, but more than likely they will be on Jetstar and earn nothing... Besides Kayak alerts what other tools are there to keep track of deals from NZ-US?

    Suggestions would be helpful.
    thanks,
    --Russ
     
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  2. icurhere2
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    icurhere2 Gold Member

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    I'm sure others will chime in but the fare sales I typically see to NZ and Australia tend to be from West Coast gateways. If the wedding is going to be somewhere like BNA, purchasing a ticket will indeed cost you ... That said, redeemed mileage tickets (if available) will still require the payment of appropriate taxes.
     
  3. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    i used the last of my BA miles to fly JFK-SCL-AKL it was simple enough to do on ba.com but neither aa.com nor united.com allow me to even check AKL-NYC availability, must book via phone so additional $$$

    if I am going to book the flight outright, I'd like to maximize mileage on this route so I can earn enough miles for a domestic flight at least in NZ... I just realized that signing up for Air New Zealand FF program requires an annual membership fee... which I'm not sure I can justify...
     
  4. thrashsoundly
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    thrashsoundly Silver Member

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    NZ offers great discount coach fares in April/May period. Last year we got ours for ~$900 RT for LAX to CNS with a stopover in AKL. Unfortunately the discount fare wouldn't allow us to earn any miles on the trip which was a bummer. If you're flying coach, your best bet may be to check out the NZ website and keep up on their promotions. They always run tons of them, but don't really consistently advertise them elsewhere.

    May is pretty low season for New Zealand, so you may be able to redeem miles on NZ or QF. Browsing on the BA search engine, I did notice plenty of options for next May on QF. One way in coach is 37.5K AA miles, and J will cost you 62.5K miles.
     
  5. TrueBlueFlyer
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    37.5k AA NZ-USA? I thought it was 50k?
     
  6. thrashsoundly
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    thrashsoundly Silver Member

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  7. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    Something to consider is the cost of the internal US flights ... frequent flier miles often covers them, whereas you will probably not get a good price on a combined NZ/domestic ticket.
     
  8. TrueBlueFlyer
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    75k AA return isn't too bad, if my AA Visa yields that amount without any trouble in the next month or so, I'll see if I can spend it on this trip.

    Otherwise it seems to me that flying to US via Australia would be the next best thing. After a few quick searches there's nearly $1k NZD in difference between flying AKL-US and AKL-AU-US
     
  9. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    As far as award tickets:

    -The CO.com website does a nice job of offering almost all partner availability, certainly NZ is readily availble. Very user-friendly site compared to UA, AA, etc. No phone booking fee if you go that route and you can easily move your UA miles to Continental to book through CO.com. Looks like good availability on numerous May dates. 40K miles one-way.
    - AA has mentioned they are working on adding partner award flights online but so far, only AS just recently added. May have no choice but to pay the phone fee depending how long you want to wait it out. But the BA.com website should give you a good idea of QF availability before you call...or check out Expert Flyer.
     
  10. TrueBlueFlyer
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    wow, thanks for pointing that out PanAm I'll give it a try!
     
  11. Muerl
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    Muerl Gold Member

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    Thought it was a one time fee, and also, check the forum, I believe there was a free offer an air points account for US addresses, I made an account a bit ago. Alternatively its the same for Qantas. I flew a lot of jetstar legs the past few months, and the need to pick my wife and my seats meant that they were mile earning flights.

    All of those things said, I have purchased way to many US<->NZ flights so ... *shrug*
     
  12. TrueBlueFlyer
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    thanks to Will I signed up with the fee waived... but based on my searches I can either buy the flight with Emirates or use United miles via Continental and fly thru Hawaii... I like both of these ideas :)
     

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