Help with my Star Al reward travel?

Discussion in 'Star Alliance' started by savingrace, Mar 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. savingrace

    savingrace Silver Member

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    I admit to being a little confused as to how to use my USair and UA points to book a star alliance reward travel.

    My husband and I both have around:

    30,000 UA
    60,000 US air
    44,000 Chase
    42,000 SPG

    I would like to go from GJT to CPT, then JNB to GJT leaving the third week of Oct and returning around Nov 18. Dates are flexible, but it starts getting into summer if you get into Dec, too hot for me.

    I would like to use up USair, even buying what I need with the 100% bonus going on right now. Or also using UA. I am getting confused because USair needs to be booked round-trip, and so could I use UA and book one way? And how do I combine USair and UA miles?

    I would love to fly SA airlines business class from IAD or JFK. The first part of my trip can be booked from any big city, DEN, DFW, even IAD or JFK if necessary.

    Using the ANA website and the "cheater" website, I can get something going thru Europe, say Istanbul flying UA over and TA to JNB. But that adds a LOT of time to the trip.

    So the main question is how to combine miles and how do I book using those combined miles. If not, how to use the USair miles.

    This is my second reward booking, the first was to Kenya. Very straightforward using AA miles over and CO miles back. I was able to use CO/UA all the way to GJT.

    Thanks so much for the help, I think I am just in information overload right now and can't process any more.
     
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  2. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    I'm not a US guy, but I'm pretty sure there is no way to combine US and UA miles together. Well, you may be able to use points.com, but with a terrible 10 to 1 transfer ratio PLUS a large fee, so outright buying US miles would be a much better deal.

    What you could do, is transfer Chase points between accounts. So your husband could transfer his 44k Chase points to you, then you could transfer all of the combined Chase points to UA and that would give you nearly 120k UA miles... enough for a Business class ticket so South America. Your husband could then buy the remaining US miles for a Business class ticket. The downside to this method is that you would be travelling on a separate ticket than your husband (booked through two different airlines as well), and if you made any changes it would require two change fees.
     
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  3. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Unfortunately there is no way to combine UA/CO miles with US Airways miles. Also, as you said, US Airways will not allow you to book one way so you basically have a couple of choices.
    1. Buy your US Airways account up to the amount you need.
    2. You could transfer your Chase points to UA/CO at a 1:1 ratio and then add you SPG points to the account. Unfortunately the SPG transfer is at a 2:1 ratio (plus the bonus for transferring 20K points) so it is normally a very poor use of the points.

    Good luck.
     
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  4. savingrace

    savingrace Silver Member

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    I guess I never really understood this, but now I do.

    Since I want to use up US airways miles, I will put together a trip and buy up the miles I need during the 100% bonus. This way I can help the $10,000 spend on my Amex business gold.

    I don't think I will be able to get to South Africa in November, although there was someone on the US airways thread that was able to do this a few weeks ago. I have been trying for 10 days. Maybe just check every day but don't stress on it.

    If not, we will use US airways miles for somewhere else. Trinidad/Tobago are high on the list, since we are birders. Or somewhere else in East Africa, since it seems easier to go through Europe for a booking.

    Thanks for the info guys...
     
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  5. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    Good Luck!

    You might be able to find nice awards on ET (Ethiopian), since they are a new *A member. Also, if you fly TK (turkish) and you are forced into a long layover at IST due to the schedule, they will give you a free hotel room and a tour of Istanbul.
     
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  6. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    Just to specify what you're talking about:
    http://www.istanbulinhours.com/

    The UA flight in the current timetable arrives just after noon, so it may not qualify. But we're planning to leave the airport on our own to see the fascinating city. In my opinion, better than (almost) any time spent in an airport.
     
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  7. savingrace

    savingrace Silver Member

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    Ok, I just signed up for sheba miles (Ethiopian Airways) and even had 1000 points automatically entered into my account. I looked for award travel to several destinations on their website with no luck yet. Thanks for that info yaychemistry.

    Harvson 3, I had forgotten that TA offered a tour of Istanbul, etc. We spent three nights there years ago, and I absolutely loved it. The San Sofia is not to be missed.
     
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  8. tjw

    tjw Silver Member

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    Do you both have 42,000 SPG points and 60,000 US Airways points or is that a combined total?

    SPG-US Airways transfers at a 1:1 ratio. US Airways is currently offering a 50% bonus on dividend miles transferred from hotel partners until March 31, 2012.

    http://www.usairways.com/en-US/dividendmiles/promotions/points_to_miles.html

    42,000 SPG points would convert into 78,000 US Airways points. (42,000+10,000 SPG bonus x 50% US Airways bonus). 78,000 added to your existing 60,000 US Airways points would give you 138,0000 points.

    I'm not too familiar with US Airways Dividend redemptions but according to their chart, 150,000 points would allow you fly in First. By purchasing 6000 points with their current 100% bonus promotion your total points balance would equal 150,000.

    Hope this helps
     
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  9. savingrace

    savingrace Silver Member

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    Yes, we both have 42,000 SPG and 60,000 US airways points, give or take. I wasn't keen on using my spg points, but what you have figured out is great, and makes sense. I do look at points as currency, which may devalue at any time.

    And due to health issues, I can usually handle only two trips a year. One "big" trip, like Africa or Australia, and one easier beach trip. So I might not use up points as quickly as others.

    Thanks so much for posting this, tjw! Very clever, and very helpful!
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    No need to be a member in their program or to use their site for searching. ANA, Aeroplan and United.com all allow for searching on partner carriers. And they are generally better at showing options with multiple carriers.
     
  11. Funtodoimpossible
    Original Member

    Funtodoimpossible Gold Member

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    That time of year it is difficult. They used to let you route via the Pacific. That was the only way I could get to JNB a couple of years ago around that same time of year.
     
  12. savingrace

    savingrace Silver Member

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    I was able to find a return flight from JNB via Frankfurt in LH business, but still can't seem to pull a decent trip over from awards travel. We don't want to route via IAD or JFK because this makes the flight to Europe just seven hours, and that wouldn't be enough sleep for me. IST has a direct flight to CPT, so I am looking hard at TK, since I would enjoy touring Istanbul or even staying over.

    TJW, I did transfer 20,000 Starwood points over into 50,000 USairways miles for each of us. Hard to do, but I do want to use our USairways miles up.

    Wandering Armenian, I missed your reply before. I wanted to check out Ethiopian airlines fleet and it was easy to sign up for sheba miles. And to get 1,000 miles for free! Besides, there is just something about having "sheba miles" in my award wallet, it makes me smile to see it. I have been using ANA, aeroplan and United to find fares. I kind of get lost in different routes, different times, different days, and look up, slightly dazed, eyes glazed over, mouth drooling, about three hours later. Might have to set a timer.
     

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