Advise needed for Award Travel to Sydney (SYD)

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by floppingsets, Apr 23, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. floppingsets

    floppingsets New Member

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    Hello All, :)

    I came upon this site a few days ago and was looking for any help/advise I can get in order to hopefully book 2 tickets for my upcoming honeymoon in late September this year. I am a newbie to this site so please excuse me if this seems like a silly question.

    I currently have 125K+ miles on Alaska airlines through many years of racking up points through the Alaska Airlines creift card program. My future wife & I have always wanted to visit Sydney but shes HATES to fly so I'm trying to get us 2 tickets in Business class or Premium Economy on Quntas to make it more comfortable on her. Im willing to use the miles (plus cash) to fly out of Los Angeles.

    I've been trying for about two months now & when I contact Alaska for flights they either do not have ANY seats available or just coach seats on Quantas. (Nothing on Delta at all) The phone reps keep telling me to try back but now I am getting a little anxious since it just a few months away and on avg I have called 3 times a week.

    Anyone ever used miles to book Business or Premium Economy on Quantas? Do these seats ever beome available? or Do I have to wait until it gets closer to the date?

    Anyway to find out when these if these seats become available? (besides calling everyday)

    Thanks for any help you can provide me.
     
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  2. thefitworldtraveler
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    thefitworldtraveler Silver Member

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    Greetings Floppingsets,

    125k is short of what you need to get 2 people to Australia even in Coach.

    According to Alaskan Air award chart, you need 85k on Quantas in coach. You're probably better off with flying Cathay Pacific from North America to Australia via Hong Kong because it's 80k miles versus the 85 you need on Quantas. Also the availability is probably better though I haven't checked sample dates for sept.
     
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  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP! :)
    I understand your anxiety. The airlines release award inventory usually closer to the departure date when seats remain unsold. Their focus is to put a fare paying passenger in the seat vs. releasing the seat as an award. This is why you have to check back every few days to see if the inventory has become available. One option could be to buy the seats outright and use the airline miles for the hotel stay. Usually not a great redemption value, but it lets you grab the seats you want and still save money on the lodging.
     
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  4. kadence

    kadence Silver Member

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    Could he buy seats and use the miles for an upgrade?
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There is no "U" in Qantas.

    As for finding award seats, go to www.qantas.com and sign up for an account with their program. You can search directly online which can help you find the seats and then call the airline and give them the specific flights that you found and see if they have the awards. No guarantees and there might be different inventory for the partners rather than the home program, but it is better than calling all the time.

    Of course, if you don't have enough points anyways then this is moot.
     
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  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    To clarify one point WA made. Qantas is an acronym: Queensland and Northern Territories Air Services.
     
  7. floppingsets

    floppingsets New Member

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    Hi again everyone,

    Thanks to everyone for the advise!! Well tried again tonight (it had been 3 days of course ;)) with a call to Alaska to see if any seats had opened up to Sydney. Results were .......
    Quantas: No
    Delta: No
    Cathay Pacific (fitworldraveler suggestion) : No
    Did not mention American but I think that would be a No as well.

    Big bummer once again but now im getting used to it. I do realize that I dont have enough points to for both tickets as some of you had pointed out. But with at least one ticket with award points ..the damage to the pocket book would be less harmful with having to pay partially for that other ticket.

    If I did my math correctly .. Approx 125K miles would cost me about $3200 purchasing points straight through Alaska's website. Which is a lot cheapier than buying a Business class ticket on any airline that I found. Anyone's thoughts?

    Also does anyone know when (up to the date) that Quantas may release some seats?

    Thanks again for all the help!
     
  8. LizzyDragon84
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    LizzyDragon84 Gold Member

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    I'd hold off on buying miles until you find award space. As you're discovering, award tickets from US to Australia are some of the hardest seats to get in any class on any airline.

    Since you have about six months left before the honeymoon, have you come up with a plan B yet? You've got enough points to do coach to Europe for two or one in biz. Maybe you could do sometime closer to home for the honeymoon and do an anniversary trip to Australia later.
     
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  9. thefitworldtraveler
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    thefitworldtraveler Silver Member

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    Use the BA site I just did a quick search from HKG-SYD and found seats on both QF and CX from HKG to Austraila. Some sample dates I tried are HKG-SYD on the outbound.
     
  10. Status Traveller

    Status Traveller Gold Member

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    It may be an idea to check award availability on the direct DFW-SYD flights. I have been checking for friends and there are a lot more options than from/to LAX.
    Both PE & J available on the DFW flights.
     
  11. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    You could also consider getting one ticket with miles, and buying the second ticket. Doesn't sound like you have enough miles for it, but some have reported success in Business Class on Virgin Australia, which can be booked through Delta - good luck!
     
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  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Definitely worth considering. That said, I've generally found that it is difficult to make it work at a reasonable rate, especially when partners are involved. What is a "typical" multi-partner award redemption will often price outrageously high for revenue because it is based on buying a bunch of end-on-end one way fares.
     
  13. storyteller
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    storyteller Gold Member

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    Premium Economy is a good product on Qantas. It is Business class food and wine choices - so that would be 2 full hot meals each way, as well as snacks during the night ; almost business class service, with good pillow & linen pillow case & warm blanket; individual TV screens with on demand entertainment. I find the seats around the same as First class on domestic UA, Alaska & AA. Probably even better, especially on the A380. This plane gives a more comfortable environment ( humidity, altitude pressure) as well. And I find the food and service better than the US domestic First class.

    There are sales on regularly for PE. And what you pay LAX SYD LAX is less that I would have to pay SYD LAX SYD.

    Call me cheap, but I'd be thinking about pruning a bit of the catering at the reception to be able to come up with the extra $3000 or so to be able to outright purchase 2 seats together, with the same rules, on the same booking etc.

    Then use the accumulated points for other travel to save money at a later date!

    But I hear you, you've been squirreling away these points for a long time for a special purpose, so may not have that sort of money to throw at an airfare.

    And good advice above to keep checking. A few years ago I needed to do 6 return trips on points on Qantas & ended up getting exactly what I wanted on the dates I wanted on all 12 sectors. That was Economy class.

    I have flown Air NZ PE & it was great on the 777 new style seat.
    Friends also love the Virgin Australia product.

    Whichever you choose, be sure to tell us when you are in Australia, so if possible you can have a (quick) (seeing it IS your honeymoon) drink with the locals!
    Staus Traveller is one of many Aussies who frequent this site, & also our local haunt is AustralianFrequent Flyer.com.au, where you can get lots of great information.
     
  14. storyteller
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    storyteller Gold Member

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    How do you come to know that!! Most of the world doesn't!
    To be even more correct try Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services = QANTAS

    Drives the Aussies crazy if you try to spell it like a word and put in a "u". Sort of like the Alaskans with AlaskaAir rather than AlaskanAir... :)
     
  15. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Well, I was almost right. :)
     
  16. storyteller
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    storyteller Gold Member

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    Yes, closer than most would be. ;)
     
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  17. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    On the other hand, when searching for that special reward travel, you never know when you might get lucky. I had no plans to return to Australia anytime soon, but a few months ago I was just messing around on the UA website, and, totally unexpectedly, there they were...2 tix to Australia in United Global First. Needless to say, we changed our vacation plans and will be heading to Oz in February 2013. Just lucky, I guess.
     
  18. Status Traveller

    Status Traveller Gold Member

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    storyteller and FlyingFree like this.
  19. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    I originally interpreted this to mean there are no mileage upgradable tickets (e.g. U space like on AS)


    So this post confused me, until I re-reread the OP.

    Then I lol'd. :D
     
  20. superdancernyc

    superdancernyc New Member

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    I'm new to this site and stumbled to this thread. I just went on a 3-week honeymoon to Australia & New Zealand using my AA miles. Our trip was back in October/November 2011. We booked our award flights back in March 2011 and had no problem but it was for economy tickets on Qantas. Premium Economy & Business might be a different story.

    We signed up for AA credit card deal back in the fall of 2010 and my husband and I each got 75,000 miles. After enrollment, we kept using the card and with existing miles, it was more than enough to get a ticket from LGA-DFW-BNE(Brisbane)-GLT(Gladstone), then another leg from GLT-SYD, purchased our own OW ticket from SYD to MEL and MEL to CHC (Christchurch, NZ) on JestStar (so cheap!), then back again to award ticket from CHC-AKL-LAX-JFK. All for just 85,000 each (75,000 RT plus 10,000 for OW ticket from GLT to SYD). Everything was on Qantas (except LGA to DFW portion was AA) and we even purchased a $99 one-month membership to Admirals Club which was the best investment ever as we used Qantas lounge for every airport we flew in during our 3 week trip (using award ticket means lots of layover of 4-5 hours). AA lounge was no where near Qantas lounge quality & service. With Qantas lounge, we were served free meal (hot & cold) every time w/ all the alcohol you want and the free wi-fi came in handy.

    Since Gladstone was not a major hub, if we had to purchase a ticket, it was going to be very expensive (we went to a private island called Wilson Island at the Great Barrier Reef so that was the only option) but luckily, AA/Qantas let us go there as a final destination in AUS. We probably easily saved about $2500 each on airfare with our itinerary. On top of all this, we were the lucky ones (unlucky for most) that got stuck in the whole Qantas grounding last fall for one of our leg, GLT-BNE-SYD but we were still able to get to Sydney without missing a day and got paid back all incidentals (rental car, food, parking, I mean everything). For the inconvenience, we even received a voucher for $260 US to be used on any future Qantas flight... after they reimbursed everything. Of course we have no use for it as we are not planning on a trip to Australia anytime soon but what a nice gesture.

    So floppingsets, don't give up. Keep trying. You might get lucky and BTW, congratulations.
     
  21. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP, superdancernyc; I hope you enjoy your time here. Your post above was exactly what MP represents... helpful & respectful content for all of it's members. While you are here, please check out of Kiva Lending Team at http://milepoint.com/forums/forums/kiva-loans-that-change-lives.276/.
     
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  22. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP! Great post.
     
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