Hi! First timer planning trip to China

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by mrtmr, Oct 15, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. mrtmr

    mrtmr New Member

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    Good morning everyone,

    This is my first time posting.
    My goal for earning miles is to fly a family of 4 to China in 2018. I would love to upgrade to business class on Cathay, when we go. I just joined Asia Miles. I also plan on getting a miles card or two and churning those to accumulate miles.

    Any advice for a beginner?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    We sometimes use AA one way and UA the other,

    Sometimes 4 up front is a little hard to do.

    I travel to China twice a year, and have been there many times, their time is upside down, but WE CHAT, and face time it is easy to talk everyday, with my wife's family.

    Never get tired of the sights.
     
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  3. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Sure. Advice: to the extent that you know, be very precise about what you want. I read the above as "I want to buy coach tickets on Cathay and use miles to upgrade to biz". Perhaps you meant "I want to use miles to get biz class tickets on Cathay"?
     
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  4. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    Upgrades do not always clear.

    Tonight IAD/FR, did not clear, on UA. LANDING ONE HOUR. next leg IST.
     
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  5. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint. 2018 is a good goal on this. You have plenty of time and should be able to do this sooner. Actually sooner is better as the miles tend to devalue over the long term.

    The toughest hurtles in my opinion is getting 4 tickets in a class above economy on any long haul flights like that. You may have to settle for economy on some of the tickets or split it over two flights. We usually find 2 seats on many flights but 3 or more is much harder in my experience.Also be flexible, plan to fly there in the off season to save miles and fine better options.

    I would try to get AA mile credit cards. Harder to churn but very good miles earning. Before much longer I would apply right away for the Barclay US Air card or cards as these miles are going to be moved or usable on AA or Oneworld partners in the near future but I doubt the card will be available much longer.

    Without us knowing more details about you it's hard to give much advice. We assume you are USA based? It would be helpful if you are located near a Oneworld hub like Chicago, Dallas, etc. If you have a spouse that can apply and obtain credit cards to churn that would be helpful as well.

    Watch for promotions within your programs that add extra miles for using the shopping portals or other events. Try to scrape together minor points as you go through e-rewards, e-miles, contests, etc. You might want to set up a separate email just for junk you sign up for.

    You can also convert various other points over to miles which would help. Like AMEX reward points, hotel points. Although make sure you get enough hotel points to use for your trip as well.

    As the programs tend to devalue over this amount of time I would have a goal of at least 130k miles per person you plan to put in business or first. So 520k total for the family at least. Most likely you can get economy by then for 75k round trip or 300k total.

    AA has three basic credit cards right now so if you an other person in your family both signed up for one each over the next 12 months (watch for special increased bonuses as you go) you could get about 100k each or maybe more from these. Plus each person should apply right away for the US Air card for 40k each. So that would give you around 280k total. If the US air card stays around for more than another 90 days after you first apply you might be able to get another one (Barclay apps usually make you wait 90 days between them).

    I would study up on Milepoint, Boardingarea blogs, Flyertalk, Million Mile Secrets, Upgrd dot com and many of the related blogs. Be careful to watch the advise they give as many get money for referring you to a credit card. It's good to click through their links to give them support but make sure it the best link (most points available) and the right card for you. Resist cards that offer miles in other alliances if you want to fly on Oneworld. Concentrate on your best option.

    Also if you live in a non-Oneworld hub like say Detroit I would change my plans to fly the biggest airline from that Hub and on those alliance partners.

    When you are ready to book. Plan on booking as far out as the schedule allows. Depending on the carrier this might be 11 or 12 months out to find availability as soon as it is released in many cases.

    Good luck.
     
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  6. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    One more thing you might want to study up on before you go is the visa requirements depending on where you want to visit in China. Hong Kong doesn't require a tourist visa but I believe the mainland does for more than transit (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this).
     
  7. ariosto

    ariosto Silver Member

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    Welcome to MP, after the airfare and ideal locations is decided will you need hotels or do you have friends? As I went this summer with family which included 2 children and we're able to stay in Hilton doubletree beijing for only 20k points per night for 2 rooms which as a gold member they extended benefits to whole family and that meant free in room wifi and free breakfast (loved the breakfast here) for all and access to executive lounge for Drinks of a refreshing nature in the evenings. This hotel is not centrally located but cabs are so inexpensive IMHO that we had no need to pay 50k points per night in other locations.

    Also visa is something to take into consideration as it adds up but worth it in my opinion as there is so much history here. Our flight back from shanghai were in 1st class AA( not that great compared to others )but at that moment were going for 62.5k initially booked 2 in 1st & 2 in economy while in Shanghai saw 2 other 1st class open up and called to re book for $150 fee.
     
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  8. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    In Beijing, you might look at the Crown Plaza about 3 blocks from T Square, $100.00 a night Breakfast inc. PVG is great, I enjoy West Lake we stay at the National Hotel on the lake..

    Flights will open up sometimes just a few hours before departure. I have an April trip booked 62.5 FC. 210 pounds of luggage...3 cases. IND ORD PEK
     
  9. mrtmr

    mrtmr New Member

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    Hi, to me (someone new to the miles game) both options sound the same. Is there any advantage to either option?
     
  10. mrtmr

    mrtmr New Member

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    Wow! So much to think about. Thank you.
    We are located just north of Boston. I don't know if that is a Oneworld hub but will find out. I will also ask my wife to get a card to churn.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  11. mrtmr

    mrtmr New Member

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    Thanks, Beijing is definitely on the itinerary.
     
  12. mrtmr

    mrtmr New Member

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    We have friends there but will be staying in hotels. Our friends mentioned the high speed rail for inter china travel. Are there any programs to convert miles to tickets on these trains?
     
  13. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    Boston is a good location for the airline miles game although a focus city for many airlines but not really a true hub for any so that's good I think. It's a great city to get cheap redemptions using Avios points to go to Ireland as those are distance based programs and Boston falls into a cheaper redemption threshold on routes to Dublin. You may end up being forced to fly out of New York to get the best choice of mile awards to China but you never know. Sometimes less elite heavy airports have more availability. My best guess is United may have the most direct flights from Boston to China but I don't think there are any non-stops so you'll likely go through NY or Chicago, etc. anyway. You might be able to build a flight through Europe as well.
     
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  14. ariosto

    ariosto Silver Member

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    I am pretty sure there is no way to do this I used the bullet train from beijing to shanghai but prices are very reasonable and actually fun doing 302km/h :)
     
  15. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Flying on a paid economy ticket upgraded to biz means you probably earn miles (both redeemable and status) for the flight, and you need fewer miles. It's also handy when a third party (an employer?) is willing to pay for your economy ticket but is being stingy about buying business class.

    Using a "real" award ticket has the obvious advantage of less cash out (though beware fuel surcharges). It also helps you in the event of irrops - you have a real business class ticket, so any reaccommodation should also be in business class, even if they put you on another airline. It can also be easier to find seats - many programs allow award bookings on partner airlines but don't allow upgrades on partners.
     

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