I can't believe United let me do this.

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Dozer, Oct 29, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Dozer

    Dozer Silver Member

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    So a good friend of mine recently moved to Shanghai and I hadn’t seen him in awhile. Having never been to mainland China, I decided this was a perfect opportunity for me to burn some United Airlines Mileage Plus miles and book an award flight to visit him. But like all travel fanatics, I couldn’t just book a direct flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai. I had to make it the most complicated and fanatical routing possible to experience as many airlines as I could, using my small cache of United Airlines miles.

    Four hours and and five “hang up and call back” calls to United’s reservations line later, I was successful in booking a pretty sweet award flight to see my buddy in Shanghai. I don’t know how it happened but I was able to route from Los Angeles to Shanghai, by way of Europe, on both the outbound and return flights! I didn’t think that was possible and I am pretty sure I violated at least one of their award redemption rules. At the very least, I’m sure this itinerary exceeded the maximum permitted mileage (MPM) or something, but surprisingly a confirmation code popped up, my credit card was charged for the taxes and fees and I was booked!

    So my final itinerary will look like this: Los Angeles to Istanbul, Istanbul to Frankfurt, stopover, Frankfurt to Seoul and then Seoul to Shanghai. The return trip would also route back through Europe from Shanghai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Paris, Paris to Montreal and then Montreal to Los Angeles. This eight segment trip will have me traveling on four different airlines, visiting seven different countries and traveling over 27,000 miles, all in First or Business Class. And the best part of it, this whole itinerary cost me 140,000 UA miles and a mere $144.90 in taxes and fees! I’m no expert award booker by any means but I was pretty damn proud of myself.

    http://pursuedadventures.com/using-united-airlines-miles-book-amazing-trips-around-world/
     
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  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Pretty standard; you can route to Asia through Europe. The segment portion is the biggest hangup; but looks like you'll be having fun. I'm very surprised that taxes & fees is only $145 considering CDG's taxes are skyhigh. (Not as high as LHR though)
     
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  3. royce242

    royce242 Silver Member

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    I don't think my bestest of my best friend would be worth going through that hell flight for a visit. Good work on the effort though I guess!
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Taxes at FRA are higher than CDG, I think.

    Otherwise, it is a "normal" booking for CONUS-Asia via Europe. Been permissible for a while now and, quite frankly, it shouldn't have taken 6 calls to get there, but congrats on what should be an exciting trip.
     
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  5. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    unless I was going have a good amount of time with the friend, I'm in the same camp as you.
     
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  6. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Well, if the air travel for this trip was booked in business/first class, it would be well worth the ride! Although I suspect that it would take one heck of a lot of miles for this RTW trip in business/first.
     
  7. Thomask

    Thomask Silver Member

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    I consider it a good usage of miles. Have fun in all these places.
     
  8. B1BomberVB

    B1BomberVB Silver Member

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    I would do such a thing only if I wanted to go to (=spend time in) most or all of those places! Otherwise I would fly TPAC nonstop in at least one direction!
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It was booked in premium cabins. All for 140k points. The OP stated that explicitly in their post.
     
  10. flynow

    flynow Silver Member

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    It's a lot of flying around but you have a good seat and you art doing what you like to do . Fly another airline and best of all you are seeing someone you like!! I don't think that's all that bad . Have a good trip !!
     
  11. tim0thy

    tim0thy Active Member

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    Nice job! I've been in the miles game for a few years now but have only recently started flying first/business and as a newbie to the cabin I would have loved to do something like this myself. Have fun OP.
     
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  12. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    The worst of the fees only apply for FC of business class trips with origination or destination at LHR or if you have a stopover at LHR over 24 hours on an international itinerary. You don't pay the luxury tax if you're only doing a quick connection at LHR.
     
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  13. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    You're right, I missed that in the next-to-last sentence of the 3rd paragraph. What a sweet deal! The way I view this is that folks shell out $5-6K for a coach class RTW trip, and Dozer scored this with just 140K UA miles and $145! I can't believe that there's a better deal (miles for air travel)reported anywhere in Milepoint!
     
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  14. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    This is nowhere near a RTW. The OP is not crossing the pacific ocean at all so what he has is a standard CONUS to Asia via Europe itinerary.
     
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  15. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Again, unless some of those stops are for multi-day visits, I'm not sure I understand the point. However, if you do get visits to Istambul, Bankok, Frankfurt, Seoul and Paris, well, dang, that's pretty sweet...
     
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  16. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Absolutely! This is a very, very sweet deal! CONGRATULATIONS, Dozer!
     
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  17. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    This route is no around the world, but he could have just as easily flown over the Atlantic one-way and returned via the Pacific to get a around the world route.
     
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  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You also don't pay it to arrive at LHR. Only when departing from there (including stopovers of >24 hours.
     
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  19. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    Everyone is different. I would thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to fly this much and especially in a premium cabin on four different airlines! Should be a blast!
     
  20. Dozer

    Dozer Silver Member

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    Thanks guys! I'm glad some of you get my obsession! Now let me clarify some points to bring the rest of you over to the dark side. :)

    The point of this trip was to see my buddy AND to experience all these great products and services. I intentionally booked this crazy route because I wanted to fly these carriers and experience their premium cabins. I could have easily booked a direct flight from LAX to PVG but how boring would that be?? On this trip, I'll get to experience the new Star Alliance Lounge at Lax, Turkish Airlines business class from LAX to FRA via IST, the award winning Turkish Airlines CIP lounge in IST, Asiana's first class to Shanghai, via Seoul, Thai Airways' first class suite in the A380 from BKK to CDG, Thai's Royal Orchid Spa at BKK, and Air Canada's new Executive First from CDG to YUL.

    Here are some pretty pictures if I haven't sold you yet: http://pursuedadventures.com/using-united-airlines-miles-book-amazing-trips-around-world/

    The best part, this was all booked with 140,000 UA miles and $144 in taxes! And you guys are right, this is technically an "around the world" trip because I'm not crossing the Pacific. But if you look at the miles flown, I've easily flown around the world and then some. The Earth is only 24,901.55 miles in circumference, from point to point. This trip is over 27,000 miles total.

    Now, I always knew that you could route to Asia via Europe. That wasn't the point. I was surprised that they let me do it twice (on both the outbound AND return). I had always read out there that you couldn't go over the MPM's and this trip clearly exceeded the MPM's for a simple LAX to PVG route. Additionally, even though my final destination was North Asia, I was connecting in South Asia. Because South Asia required more award miles than North Asia, I wasn't sure if United would tack on the additional miles to trip. But seeing as to how it worked, I wanted to share it with the community.

    Okay, did I win some more of you guys over yet?? Fingers crossed.
     
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  21. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Not sure you "won me over" but at least I understand your thinking/logic now... Enjoy!
     
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  22. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    Nice trip. I would totally do this if I was flying alone to try out some different airlines and cities. I think you may be confusing UA and US miles. UA miles is 140K for a F award trip to Asia (north and south).
     
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  23. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Actually, it's more customary for UA to NOT let you do a RTW routing- either all TPAC or all TATL. Also, MPM is different for Atlantic and Pacific routings. ;)

    I did something sort of like this a few years ago but it was an actual RTW routing, because US doesn't care...
     
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  24. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    I think this sounds like an awesome adventure. Congratulations! Hope you'll do a trip report.
     
  25. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    AMEN! :):)
     
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