Flying ABQ-VCE, then FCO-ABQ in Sept/Oct. Which airlines recommend/strategy for getting tickets

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by santafefran, Mar 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. santafefran
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    santafefran Silver Member

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    My husband and I have booked a cruise starting in Venice in mid-Sept and returning via Rome in early Oct. Being infrequent flyers we have a hodgepodge of miles (57,000 UA, 45,000 AA) and points (100,000 Thank You points from one Visa and 100,000 Scorecard points from another Visa--which both now use the Connexions online booking system).
    Due to budget restraints we usually redeem for steerage (Coach) seats which we HATE. Should we try to book sooner or hope that we might find some TATL business fares on sale in future and use our points towards those mythical sale prices?
    Or what about those UA Economy + seats or similar on the long-haul flights. Could we enroll in annual UA Econ + and upgrade from Coach after tickets are purchased?
    Or should we use our points for RT direct flights USA/FCO with separate RTs ABQ to whatever US city has direct flights and purchase a cheap 1-Way from FCO-VCE?
    My head is spinning from so many online searches and considerations. [​IMG] Any ideas from seasoned flyers will be welcomed. [​IMG]
     
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  2. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Delta is one of the hardest to redeem points, I don't know if your Visa points can be used there, but they fly ABQ-MSP-JFK-VCE as well as ABQ-ATL-CDG-VCE and ABQ-MSP-AMS-VCE, so it gives you a number of search options.

    It's non-hub to non-hub, so I doubt anyone will get you there with less than 3 segments. With a cruise departure and multiple segments, I'd suggest scheduling to arrive in VCE at least 36 hours early, preferably two days early; things can go wrong when you cut it tight.
     
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  3. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    If available, couldn't the OP do UA ABQ-IAD-VCE/FCO-IAD-ABQ? I don't think the mileage thing is going to work... just doesn't seem like you have enough for me.

    I assume you are ABQ based. You could look at getting to DEN, and then have more options. I drive ABQ-DEN a couple of times a year; it's a pretty easy drive, and may be worth the consideration.
     
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  4. santafefran
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    santafefran Silver Member

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    I was checking out the DL ATL-FCO-ATL possibility but it doesn't look like the Boeing 767-400 they fly has any econ + seats. With this plan I would try to redeem some miles to book a separate ABQ-ATL-ABQ and just purchase 1-ways FCO-VCE.

    There used to be more flexiblity with what flights you could book using the Visa points, but now you have to choose from flight options that charge a range of points/prices and don't always have the most direct flights either. These options change from day to day. They can include LH, DL, BA, CO,AA, UA. I had figured out that there were great connections with UA going ABQ-IAD-MUC-VCE and returning FCO-IAD-ABQ but this option hasn't yet turned up as a possibility even though I checked with phone booking person.

    Luckily, we have booked 4 nights in VCE ahead of the cruise so no worries there--just trying to get into VCE by noon or thereabouts
     
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  5. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Be sure to check DEN, PHX, and TUS as options to originate. You might get more availability... and getting to those can be inexpensive.
     
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  6. santafefran
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    santafefran Silver Member

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    Great suggestion about DEN since UA has many flights out of there.

    Vedddy Interesting-- booking UA ABQ- IAD-MUV-VCE with FCO-IAD-ABQ RT would cost about $5500 but booking ABQ-DEN-ORD-MUC-VCE and same RT as above comes in @ $2,000 + less @ $ 3200. I have reserved that last combo until midnight Fri. and will check whether I can get something similar at much less cost with my points.
     
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  7. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    ABQ is kind of tough since most of our market (yes, I have a place in Albuquerque) goes to Southwest. Is your ABQ-DEN-ORD-MUC-VCE on UA to MUC, or is it LH ORD-MUC?

    If it is UA to MUC, you can purchase and annual E+ pass for $425 that will cover you and honey to get an E+ seat. IMO... definitely worth it. See this link for more details. You may also want to check the cost for just DEN-ORD-MUC-VCE, as opposed to ABQ. It may be worth it to drive that segment (but I doubt it.)
     
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  8. santafefran
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    santafefran Silver Member

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    My plan exactly about purchasing the annual E+ pass once I decide on this. I made sure to pick flights with UA so the only non E+ will be the short legs: ABQ-DEN on UA express and the MUC-VCE on LH. Also, I did check just the DEN, etc outbound as you suggested and it was exactly the same price as with ABQ-DEN included. Go figure.
     
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  9. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    There was E+ on my last ABQ-DEN flight, but its only an hour.
     
  10. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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  11. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    In addition, you can usually reserve and pay for E+ seats for individual legs at booking on UA. If you don't plan to fly a decent amount on UA metal over the next year, it is probably a bit cheaper to buy E+ for individual segments rather than the year pass. But that evaluation is up to you. :)
     
  12. TRAVELSIG
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    I am not an expert at all on departing from ABQ, however regarding travel to VCE I have the following suggestions:
    1) If you are connecting with Star Alliance, you will have probably have your choices of ZRH/FRA/MUC/VIE and maybe DUS (although I highly doubt it based on your routings)- in this case, I would say FRA. Why? Because if you miss a connection to VCE at FRA, there is very high frequency for the next flight, so you won't have to wait long. Don't listen to the "Munich is so much better" songs- nothing is better if you are stuck an extra 3 hours at the airport.

    2) One temptation may be DL- and it is not a bad one at all- in fact it is very nice as you can fly JFK/VCE, it is only a ~8 hour flight, and then you will have no transit points within Europe.

    Regarding better (still Economy) seating- I think your choices will be:
    UA which has Economy+
    KL which has some Economy rows with more legroom
    AF with their Economy+ product (I don't remember the name sorry as I avoid CDG on all possible opportunities)
    BA with their World Traveller Plus- BA is more than a touch inconvenient as the connection times with LHR don't sync very well with the limited departures to VCE from LHR- meaning you would need to head over to LGW- not recommended UNLESS you want to spend a night in London in which case it is great!

    You may want to check if their are any Z fare sales with LH/LX/UA- and even possible OS (although I have no idea how that would work with an ABQ departure). Z fares are highly restrictive however can represent excellent value for the $/EURO/GBP etc.
     
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  13. santafefran
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    santafefran Silver Member

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  14. TRAVELSIG
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    Hi Santafefran- you are also fine through MUC. I like FRA for the reason above- however either way you are fine. Enjoy your cruise and your trip! 7:10/8:10 is right at MCT for FRA- so I might also pick MUC in this situation. Let me know if you have any other questions.
     
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