Circle Trip Award Ticket? (StarAlliance)

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Stranger in the Alps, Aug 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Stranger in the Alps

    Stranger in the Alps Active Member

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    OK, I've searched around and can't seem to find information on this -- so I'm going to post in the newbie thread and hopefully not bother the more informed threads. Apologies if this is an ignorant question; I'll try to be brief.

    I'm wondering if it's possible to use UA miles for an award on a "circle trip"? I think that's the proper term for this. My wife and I are going to Italy and France next summer, and I have roughly 65,000 United miles, which seems to be enough for one round-trip StarAlliance award. But would those miles be applicable on a circle trip? For example, we'd like to do something like:

    MCI - FLR (stay 4-5 days in Florence)
    FLR - CDG
    CDG - MCI (stay 6-7 days in Paris)

    I tried some sample bookings on ITA Matrix and there are some StarAlliance flights that service those, but I don't know if the routing is legal. I know I could do a simple open-jaw MCI-FLR/CDG-MCI trip, but then I'd still have to get between Florence and Paris.

    Do the connections on each of those legs matter? For example, one MCI-FLR trip takes me MCI-YYZ-MUC-FLR and another takes me MCI-ORD-MUC-FLR.

    I feel as if I couldn't get an entire circle trip award here, but wasn't sure if my miles could be applied to part of the trip to get some of the cost offset, at least. Any help is appreciated, as I'm still trying to figure all of this out. Thanks!
     
  2. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    It looks like what you really want is a free stop over here. You probably need to book a flight from MCI to FLR as your final destination with a stop over at CDG on your way back from Florence.

    The connections shouldn't matter unless you are trying to make a stop there for your vacation and then move on afterwards because that would count as the 1 free stopover that you get.
     
  3. Stranger in the Alps

    Stranger in the Alps Active Member

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    Thanks. I'm still trying to grasp the idea of stopovers, but that mostly makes sense. Is CDG going to be considered a valid place to stop over if I'm coming from FLR? I know I'd need to call United to make this reservation, but I'm not sure how willing they'd be to set it up -- maybe if I was able to spoon-feed all the routing to them, it might work.
     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Normally any stop for a connection that is less than 24 hours counts as just a connection, while if you stay more than 24 hours (sometimes with exceptions for taking the first scheduled flight to your destination) it counts as a stopover.
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The above itinerary would be 60K points in coach if redeemed from UA and operated on *A partners, assuming you can find Saver inventory for the trip.

    The really hard part is matching the award flights to the revenue ticket you want to buy so you can travel together. The revenue ticket will likely be prohibitively expensive.
     
  6. Stranger in the Alps

    Stranger in the Alps Active Member

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    That makes sense. If this particular itinerary is available for 60k miles per person, I may try to get my UA mileage balance up to 120,000 before booking. As always, I'm a little concerned about availability or UA just telling me I can't fly this exact route on an award ticket, but I think it's worth a shot.

    Thanks again for the help, everyone!
     
  7. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP.

    You should not assume that if you can get one award seat on the desired flights you will also be able to get the second seat easily. Some airlines are notorious for only releasing a single award seat at a time, although this might be more common for FC and business class seats than coach. Nevertheless, be careful and be sure to check the price of a discount coach ticket that allows an overseas stopover as well as the price of an open jaw ticket with an additional cheap purchased segment, perhaps using a LCC so that the two of you would not be travelling together on the one leg.
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I will take the advice of MSPeconomist one step further. Unelss it is a VERY simple award ticket all on a single carrier you should assume that matching it with a revenue ticket will be horribly cost-prohibitive.
     
  9. Stranger in the Alps

    Stranger in the Alps Active Member

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    So, all of this leads me to ask: Is it even worth it to try and get FF miles? Seems like it's a pretty big hassle to redeem them.

    I don't fly all that frequently, probably just 5-6 times a year domestically -- and I'd hate to save up miles and not be able to use them, especially if I earn those miles at the expense of easier-to-redeem hotel points (I'd get the bulk of my miles/points through credit card bonuses and spending).

    This is admittedly a little bit discouraging.
     
  10. Stranger in the Alps

    Stranger in the Alps Active Member

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    Just to expand on my previous post, I have about 115,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. I had initially planned to transfer those to Continental/United, which would give me more than enough points for two RT StarAlliance award tickets to Europe, when combined with my existing miles.

    But if it's really that difficult to get two award tickets, as MSPeconomist and Wandering Aramean say, I'd hate to lock up all of those points with CO/UA and not be able to use them. I'm thinking I might be better served to transfer the UR points to Hyatt, since that'd give me enough for 5 nights at a place like the Park Hyatt Paris. Then with my hotel taken care of, I could just try to find the cheapest flights to Europe, regardless of airline, and pay for them.

    Is that a better strategy, or should I just give up and be content with a day trip to, like, Des Moines next summer? :)

    (Side note: I really appreciate the help and positive tone that I've seen so far on this board. I know that's something Milepoint is striving for, and it's really nice for intimidated newbies such as myself. Thanks again to everyone)
     
  11. thetenken
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    thetenken Silver Member

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    You might also consider buying some US Airway miles during their promotion, which you could then use to find two seats availability. I think if you search on Continental.com for awards, you should be able to find the two seats. Checking in July 2012, I found some availability, flying through with two connections.
     

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