How to maximize my miles on a trip to HK?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by syphlix, Mar 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    Hello,

    I think this is the right forum.

    My wife and I need to fly to Hong Kong from JFK during April.

    I looked up flight prices, and the cheapest is Cathay at around $1028 RT.

    Are there any ways to maximize the miles I earn from this? Our preferred mileage account is the AAdvantage, and I think that works out because i think Cathay gives AA miles. However, I don't have any elite status (most of my miles on AA were earned through CC spending and bonuses)

    It' just that I read about people doing crazy double dips and getting extra miles on these long trips, and am wondering if any of those opportunities are here.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. FlyMeToTheLooneyBin
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    FlyMeToTheLooneyBin Silver Member

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    Be careful about that. If you want to get AA miles on Cathay, you have to fly with certain fare codes. Usually, the cheapest Cathay fare will not give you the right fare code to earn any miles on AA. Look up the wiki or check on the AA page for this.

    If you want to maximize your miles on AA when going to HK, you could try flying through Japan and using JAL as an AA codeshare to HK. That's what I did a few months ago.

    Then, as you have more leeway in the routing for international itineraries, you can try routing yourself in weird ways. The price will go up as you add a connection, as you have to pay airport fees and TSA fees, etc..., but you will get extra mileage.

    I did LAX-ORD-DFW-NRT-BKK a few years back and that net me close to 23K miles for the round-trip.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    When you investigate mileage credit for various fare codes, be aware that it might matter whether the ticket is written as a CX flight number or an AA codeshare for exactly the same flight. Be sure to check both the CX and AA websites for fares as sometimes there can be a codeshare for approximately the same price that earns (more) miles.

    Flights through Japan seem disrupted at the moment and JAL is not promising its usual service and perks such as lounges. (You can see the statement in English on the JAL forum here.) I'm not sure I'd count on things to be smooth in several weeks.

    CX is an outstanding airline and I personally like the long nonstop flights rather than connections as they give me a chance to have some long uninterrupted sleep after the meal service. If you don't think you want to be trapped in a plane for so long, there are CX flights from the West Coast which should be an easy connection using AA. This would add to the miles too, but be sure to calculate the amounts if this matters to you. Sometimes an estimate or guess of mileage differences can be surprisingly wrong.
     
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  4. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    Hrmm

    thanks for these hints... theres a lot here I didn't know

    I'll look through this and see what i can find...
     
  5. ahow628
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  6. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    Hrm

    so it looks like if i book it through AA w and AA flight number and a M booking class, it costs $1238

    through cathay it's $1028, but you don't get AA miles and can only get AsiaMiles

    is it worth an extra $210 per ticket for 16,000 miles?
     
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  7. ahow628
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    That is $0.013 per mile. Seems pretty good.
     
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  8. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    ah crap wtf... now it's $1209 if i book through cathay... i don't get it do fares really change this quickly?
     
  9. Eorpa
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    You could use RJ (Royal Jordanian) from JFK via AMM and BKK to HKG. ;)

    $1,326.47 return

    Not sure if what you would get AA mileage wise with them. But they are a OW carrier.
     
  10. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    Regarding which fare buckets you need from CX to earn miles into AA there are links in the AA forum here on Mile Point in the FAQ at the top. Here is the specific link for Cathay. http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/earnMiles/travel/airlines/cathayPacific.jsp

    Very limited choices, I would suggest looking for AA codes on all flights.

    As stated by others above, the difference of a couple hundred dollars for 16k miles is worth it in almost anyone's book here on the site.

    As for routing, you have options. Consider going via Europe instead of across the country. Consider buying a separate ticket to the west coast to get one of their fares going back east.

    Example routing from NYC is to use LGA instead to force a domestic connection. Getting to DFW/LAX/SFO/HNL before going to NRT/HND in Japan and down to HKG.

    Another would be LGA-DFW-ORD-HEL-HKG. etc. Or the AMM mentioned above and possibly use LGA to force an out and back to ORD or DFW or DCA before returning to JFK to catch something going east.

    You mention your wife is going. Is she willing to spend a lot of extra time flying just to get the miles?
     
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  11. ahow628
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    Eh, if she doesn't like it, he can just send her on her own flight... ;)
     
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  12. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    That works until one is EXP and the other is not.
     
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  13. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    haha

    no amount of miles is worth the reprecussions of sending her on her own flight so i can get more miles :eek:

    i think i'll just do the AA coded flights... turns out it's only like $10 more cuz the price i was getting from cathay isn't there any more... for this specific trip flying all over may not be worth it for me...

    so i just go to AA and book the flight from there, and it has AA flight number, and says M class... all is good right?

    thanks for all your help guys... theres so much i didn't know about the intricacies of these mile things...
     
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  14. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    If every flight has a AA flight number and code M you're fine.
     
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  15. Gardyloo
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    If you're booking an AA-coded flight in M class between JFK and HKG you could sign up for AA's Platinum Challenge and return with Platinum status - no baggage fees, upgrade options, lounge access, etc. The flight on which you'd cross 10,000 elite qualifying points (the requirement under the challenge, earned within 3 months) - which in your case would probably be the return HKG-JFK segment, earns a 100% mileage bonus, so instead of earning 16K plus miles you'd earn 24K, and double (redeemable) miles on future AA, Alaska, British Airways and other partners' flights. M fares earn 1 elite qualifying point per mile, so it would be a slam dunk.

    Read the link above carefully.
     
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  16. MSPeconomist
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    At this point, I suspect that you should make a decision and move fast. The fare code and price might not be available if you wait.
     
  17. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    I did this - thanks so much for this advice. It's nothing I ever would have thought of myself!

    My wife and I will now be plat's for the first time ever... only thing that surprised me is that the challenge status only lasts til feb 2012 (i thought it would be until feb 2013) but even if i don't fly that much will still be gold for the following year... pretty awesome deal for $180 imo...

    Thanks again mp'ers!
     
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  18. syphlix
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    syphlix Silver Member

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    also... before this thread i didn't know about the needing an AA flight number, and the whole booking code thing...

    :p
     
  19. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    The duration of the status depends on when you do the challenge. If you start and finish the challenge before the middle of June, your status will only last until the end of Feb. the following year. If you finish the challenge after June 16, then your status would last until 2/2013. If you don't fly 50K EQM or earn 50K EQP (i.e. around 34K more than just the JFK-HKG round trip) by the end of calendar 2011, you'll fall to Gold status on March 1 2012, then back to dirt in 2013.
     
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