Clueless BA newbie needs help booking flights to South Africa

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by dlkbc, Apr 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. dlkbc

    dlkbc Member

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    Okay, I am so clueless that when I tried to search for BA topics, it came back with a list of posters with BA in them. I'm obviously doing something wrong. I have read the points guy pages on dealing with BA but was pretty overwhelmed.

    Here's my situation...I want to fly from YVR (Cda) to South Africa but I would rather go east via NRT (Asia) rather than through the UK.

    Am I allowed to try and book via Cathay or JAL going to South Africa and then flying back with a different airline?

    Or do they charge more miles if you do two one ways rather than a return on one airline? Am I even allowed to do two one ways if I wanted to?

    I was under the impression that if I do a stopover in London (no matter if it's a brief transfer at the airport only), I will have to pay a lot of extra taxes? Is that correct?

    The reason why I wanted to go through Asia was that I wanted to do a short stopover there.

    Sorry that I'm not using the right terms...

    Which website would I go on to see if there is flight availability for award flights and book?

    How much would it cost if I had BA do the booking for me if it's too difficult for me to figure out?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!!
     
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  2. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    It's definitely a lot to jump into, but you came to the right place. I'm by no means a BA expert, but there's a lot of collective knowledge here that should be able to help you out.

    To start it would be helpful to know how many British Airways Avios points you have just to get an idea of what your options are.

    Is this the post you're talking about? http://thepointsguy.com/2012/04/maximizing-british-airways-avios-series-distance-based-awards/

    Quite a while back he did some extensive posts on the old BA program. The new BA program is called Avios, and it's completely different than the old one.

    If, you haven't read it already, read through that post, and see if it helps answer some of your questions.

    Million Mile Secrets did a great series of posts on how to book using Avios recently, but it could possibly be overwhelming as well. He does a very good job of giving you step by step instructions, though, so that should help out. Below is a link to the last article in the series, and there are links to each of the other articles.

    http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/04/09/lan-awards/

    The Avios program is a distance based award program, and you'll use points for each leg of the trip instead of a lump sum for the entire trip as TPG explains in that blog post. So, to answer your questions:

    Yes, you should be able to go east. I haven't priced it out, but it could possibly be a lot more points to travel east rather than west depending on the routing.

    Yes, you can book the flights as 2 one ways, and, as far as I understand, stopovers shouldn't add any 'cost' (points) to the ticket as you're paying per segment anyway.

    If you do a stopover in London on BA aircraft, I've heard the taxes/fees are ridiculously high. If you fly AA using Avios points, I'm not sure what the taxes/fees are (and I'm not sure of the availability of those flights).

    The calculator links in the TPG post should help you get an idea of how many points it'll cost to get there, but you'll have to figure out the routing first.

    Hopefully that helps you get started.
     
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  3. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    Phone booking fee is $25 for BA.

    I think if you just went with two YVR-HKG-JNB-HKG-YVR it would be about 130k Avios & US$700+.

    But if you can get two or more oneworld partners on the same itn you can use a oneworld award that is distance based. The 130k Avios for a similar itn would now only be 90k Avios because the distance would be less than 14k miles.

    But you would need to add an extra oneworld airline partners to the award.

    I did write a beginners guide to Avios Point and created detailed video walk-through for much of the process.

    Going to London would cost you about double the taxes/fees but would save some miles.

    When were you planning on going?
     
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  4. dlkbc

    dlkbc Member

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    Wow!!

    You guys are awesome!! I really appreciate the time and information!!

    I'm going to read through all the links so I get a better idea...

    Looks like my plans to go to South Africa will not come to fruition with the new rules.

    I have around 92,000 points. So I had thought that that was enough to go to South Africa. The last time I had checked, it had said 90,000 points or 45,000 and U$475.

    I was hoping to maximize my points and try to go the farthest point from YVR.

    I was also hoping to go as soon as I could...I am by myself so I tend to have an easier time to get a seat.

    Any more info? Am I out of luck now?

    Thanks so much!
     
  5. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    Yea. you would need to get creative and find a routing for less than 14k miles and try to book a OneWorld award.
     
  6. dlkbc

    dlkbc Member

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    Okay, I've done all my reading and am amazed at how much useful information is out there.

    I talked with BA and the person tried to put in some itineraries in for me. Unfortunately, it came to over 120,000 points.

    I'm still holding onto hope that I will be able to somehow get a OneWorld award under 14K miles...but not sure which search reward site I should use. The reason why I wanted to go to South Africa is because it's one of the few countries where I have yet to travel. I had wanted to go to Syria before all the problems...

    On one of the sites, Royal Jordanian was suggested--Montreal to Amman...wonder how I'd find that...and whether it's too close to the problems?

    I guess a stopover each way would only add to the mileage?

    I'm so sorry that I didn't realize that the changes would happen in November. Had I known, I would have booked my vacation then...

    Again, any suggestions are sincerely appreciated!
     
  7. dlkbc

    dlkbc Member

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    To add...I've been on the Qantas website for hours to no avail...it can't be so difficult to book from Vancouver! Even when I tried to go somewhere relatively close, like Caracas, it said nothing was available. It won't even let me book Amman anymore.
    I was also trying on the BA website and all the itineraries I try are like 150,000 even though they are under 14,000.

    Am I doomed?
     
  8. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Long haul on BA miles is expensive as the cost is by distance and by segment. 14,000 miles will get you a short-haul round trip in coach.
     
  9. dlkbc

    dlkbc Member

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    Thanks for your post, desamo. But I guess I wasn't being clear in my last post.

    I was trying to use 90,000 points on OneWorld, which allows a maximum of 14,000 miles travelled.

    (I have no desire to do any short haul flights for 14,000 avios points).

    Before November, 2011, it would have cost me 90,000 avios points to go to South Africa. Now, with the new rules, it will cost me at least 20,000 more points. That's why I am so frustrated and having to scramble trying to make sense of how I can learn all the new rules.
     
  10. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    Yea the new deal sucks but the 14k miles traveled is only for the YVR-HKG-YVR routing with Cathay Pacific if you wanted to continue onto HKG-JNB would bring your total miles to over 26,000.

    This would be in Distance Zone 8, 25001-30000 that requires 140k pts. Distance zone 7 would be 120k.
     
  11. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    That's what I get for responding when I'm tired, sick, and clearly reading comprehension impaired. Sorry.
     

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