IAD to St Petersburg

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by tulane09, Jun 6, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    213
    Status Points:
    375
    I have 150,000 MR points and am looking to fly business to LED in September (my dates aren't flexible). So far the best I have come up with is Air France for 125,000 miles and $600 in taxes. The same ticket is pricing out to $3,900 right now, so I'm getting 2.5 cents/pt after taxes. Just wondering if there are any better options using MR?
     
    marcwint55 likes this.
  2. craz
    Original Member

    craz Silver Member

    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    234
    Status Points:
    425
    w/o posting what your fixed dates are , how can anyone say anything
     
    marcwint55 likes this.
  3. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,517
    Likes Received:
    4,573
    Status Points:
    2,570

    You might want to check Singapore to Moscow and then take the train to St. Petersburg. We did that recently as part of a vacation, and Singapore is certainly a better carrier than Air France.
     
    boondr and MX like this.
  4. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    213
    Status Points:
    375
    sorry, dates are 9/19-9/23

    I'm trying to avoid Moscow since it's such a short trip.
     
  5. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    213
    Status Points:
    375
    Does AirFrance offer saver awards or anything I should be on the lookout for? If 125,000 is the best it gets I'll just book now. Also does AF have partners who are MR transfer partners with lower award costs?
     
  6. maksim

    maksim Silver Member

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    128
    Status Points:
    360
    The train from Moscow is 5 hours iirc.... It is the high speed Sapsan train.

    Flying into LED.... Hassle from the perspective of foreigners getting hassled. Moscow is a lot better.

    We flew into LED with KLM via AMS. Delta from Newark to AMS, AMS to led. Otherwise, there are limited inernational flights into LED.
     
    tulane09 likes this.
  7. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    213
    Status Points:
    375
    Yeah, I've come to the same conclusion about international flights at LED. I'm trying to avoid Moscow solely for timing. 5 hr train ride each way really messes with scheduling on what amounts to a 3 day trip. Also it's an added expense.

    I'm fine flying the AirFrance flight, I just want to make sure I'm using the least MR points for it. Basically it looks like I'm locked into AirFrance, I just want to optimize my point strategy. Right now I can get flights I want in business for a total of 125,000 roundtrip plus $600 in taxes.
     
  8. maksim

    maksim Silver Member

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    128
    Status Points:
    360
    You can also try Aeroflot via sky team. They have a ton of daily flights into led.
     
  9. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    SU also has real business class seats rather than Tommy class, which is what all other European carriers do, at least the ones I have flown to LED , SVO and DME. FWIW I have never had even a ghost of a hassle at LED. I enter on a passport that has a visa waiver agreement with Russia so that may make it different. I fly there several times a year.
     
    MX likes this.
  10. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    213
    Status Points:
    375
    I have a guest of embassy visa. Multi entry and good for a year. When I went to Moscow earlier there was no hassle at all, I'm not expecting one this time but I guess you never know.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  11. maksim

    maksim Silver Member

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    128
    Status Points:
    360
    Moscow is completely different from St. Petersburg.

    Moscow's 3 airports, are also the 3 busiest airports in the country. LED is the 4th busiest.

    Airport is completely different and I have known others to have issues at LED from other sites. I was more or less ok since I am a native Russian speaker... albeit with a big American accent. hehe. And flew in with a USA passport. Just be careful. Given choice, I would rather fly into SVO, change planes there, and then fly domestic to LED, over flying international into LED.

    International and Domestic are also two different terminals there. So... if you fly into SVO/DME/VKO, you will go through immigration and customs there, then fly domestic. Immigration is far more regular in Moscow.

    Don't want to scare you into flying into LED, but just giving you the friendly caution, being a former resident of the Soviet Union.
     
    jbcarioca and tulane09 like this.
  12. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    213
    Status Points:
    375
    On a side note, looks like my transatlantic flights will be on the 380. What's business like on those?
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  13. maksim

    maksim Silver Member

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    128
    Status Points:
    360
    Just some more thoughts.

    When we flew into LED last fall, we flew KLM. KLM "business class" was the same standard seat in the 737. So I would feel cheated per say. Also, 125k miles AND $600 in fees? We paid $600 for our tickets, albeit in Y. We upgraded to Economy comfort for the EWR to AMS segment and well worth it.

    Since in most likely cases, the leg into LED will be in Business/Economy seat... I would feel fairly cheated.

    Just looked on RZD and realized the Sapsan high speed train is only 4 hours... not 5 as I suspected.

    From SVO, it is easy to get there, via trains, and you will have more time to experience Russia.

    Not sure of purpose of your visit, or how much time you actually need in St. Petersburg. I personally enjoyed Moscow quite a bit more. St. Petersburg was stupid expensive, and a day and a half, more than enough. Take the city tour by boat, visit Hermitage, you are set for a while. =P
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  14. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Almost all European airlines use economy seats for intra-Europe business class, but with the middle seat empty. The only exception I know of is SU, which has actual business class seats.

    I enjoy both Moscow and Saint Petersburg. I spend four weeks or so in Moscow every year, somewhat less in Saint Petersburg. I do not speak Russian. I would, if time permits spend three days for the Hermitage alone. I go there every time I am in Saint Petersburg. For anyone who has an interest in the arts and architecture a week there is not enough. For anyone who is not interested in those things I suppose a couple of days might do it. Lovers of Russian history, especially the obsessive Peter the Great, might find even a week grossly inadequate there. I admit to an interest in those things.

    Both Moscow and Saint Petersburg can be insanely expensive. Two days ago I paid US$100 for a modest sashimi lunch with twelve pieces of sashimi. It was very good, but... there are many ways for modestly priced eating and staying in both cities but they require diligence and avoiding hotel food and major tourist sites.

    I agree with you about that, although I personally know nobody who's had difficulty entering at LED. Immigration does consistently take longer there in my experience. I have been traveling to Moscow since 1978, but much more frequently during the last six years. Saint Petersburg I have been visiting since five years ago.

    The people I observe having difficulties in immigration in either place seem to have irregularities, such as no onward tickets. Slow immigration OTOH usually seems connected to arriving flights from China and/or some other Asian/Middle Eastern countries.
    I do not suggest that is always true, although it consistently has happened to me. The time of arrival does make a big difference.
     
    tulane09 likes this.
  15. tulane09

    tulane09 Silver Member

    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    213
    Status Points:
    375
    This.

    Again I know I'm not doing the cheapest routing (avoiding Moscow). I'm literally going to land Friday afternoon, and leave on an early morning flight Monday. I don't have any flexibility with this. My visa is good for a year so I figured I might as well see St Petersburg while I can. I may never go back to Russia and I didn't have time when I was in Moscow for New Years.

    Researching AirFrance business, I'm now curious as to whether I'll get to travel in the upgraded (Cathay style) business class across the Atlantic. Does anyone know the timetable for the refurb? I know I'm on the A380 from IAD to CDG.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  16. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I do not know the answer, but I have flown business in AF both old and new. Both of them, IMHO, are very nice, but the lack of full flat bed in the old style irritates some people. I sleep well anyway.
     
    tulane09 likes this.

Share This Page