Japan Spring 2012 - steps to take now/ award travel questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by curtis1120, Mar 2, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. curtis1120

    curtis1120 Silver Member

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    I'd like to take a family trip to Japan in April 2012. What steps should I take now? When are award seats released (180 days?)?

    Current FF miles between me and my husband: No status on any airline
    Me: Continental 38K (with 50K pending from Credit card sign-up)

    Him: Continental 38K (with 50K pending from CC)
    United 3K
    USAir 80K

    Hotels: Hilton 180K (silver status) 40K marriott (gold status)

    We only have 8-12 of weeks of work travel for him likely for the remainder of 2011. Mostly we don't get to chose hotels but will probaby be marriott. Airline will probably be usair. We'll pay to do this trip regardless, but using the miles effectively and getting good value for them is what I' hoping for.

    Questions:
    1) Currently there are 2 more weeks of the marriott megabonus to get a free night. After that should we switch to airline miles?
    2) Can we use Star alliance to get 3 tickets on the same plane - 2 through our contiental miles and one on Usair?
    3) We'll have 1 child under age 2 is it worth a seat?
    4) Total 2 adutls, 2 kids over 2 and one under 2 shoudl we try and getat least one seat in business class so one adult is well rested?
    5) What else should I be asking?
     
  2. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Plan ahead to collect documents and get passports for everyone. Assuming US, you don't need visas, but there have been some bad lags in processing new passports.

    Be sure to do tickets so that every kid is on a PNR (reservation record) with an adult, which will probably require using miles from same account and flying same class as the adult.

    Getting five award seats on the same flights will be tough.

    Yes, you should get a seat for the under-2.
     
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  3. thetenken
    Original Member

    thetenken Silver Member

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    Where in Japan are you going?

    Are you going to be in a lot of places or just one or two?

    Options to consider: getting the Hilton Surpass card a few months from now, and then using the AXON award to book multiple award nights for cheap in Tokyo or Kyoto. Surpass will also get you instant Gold. 180k HH points will get you a Cat6 stay for a few nights, and the Gold in Asia will get you good upgrades. If you really wanted to plan ahead, you could get the Surpass card soon and then try and rack up 40k in spend for Diamond.

    You can use Star Alliance to book award flights on the same plane. Expend the 80k US Air miles and then the other two on Continental. You can also buy 100k worth of miles for a bit over 1k with the double miles promotion now.

    Depending on how much you're traveling, you should look into getting the Japan Rail Pass.

    Without knowing how long you're going to be in Japan and where you're going to go, it's hard to give you good advice.
     
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  4. curtis1120

    curtis1120 Silver Member

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    Where in Japan are you going?
    With more than a year to plan we are thinking Toyko, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji and Hiroshima. More of our time will be in Tokyo since I have family friends who live there and will want to spend time with them as well as see the sites.

    Are you going to be in a lot of places or just one or two?
    I go back and forth. Moving less would be easier on teh kids, but the kids will love the trains so we aren't sure.

    Thanks for the Hilton tip. I'll remember that. If Hyatt still has it's 2 nights free promotion I'll consider that as well.
     
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  5. curtis1120

    curtis1120 Silver Member

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    This is why I'm a newbie. If a PNR is a reservation record then wouldn't a child be on it regardless of weather I paid or used miles and weather or not the travelling adult is on the same ticket? I'm also assuming that If I have to use miles for some passengers nd pay for others we'd be better paying the adults's way to gain miles on those tickets rather than paying for the kids - who do have accounts but fly less than 1000 miles a year?[/quote]
     
  6. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Different airlines might do it differently, but in the case of DL (and NW earlier), if you pay for one ticket with money and the other with miles, they cannot be on the same PNR and if they're not, you might be separated if IROPs happen--for example, if there's a weather or mechanical delay and you miss a connection, the airline could rebook you on different routings if there are separate PNRs. Some airlines permit you to later "link" (but not combine) PNRs but this doesn't do much; it just means that there's a note added as a comment line attached to the reservation where agents usually don't look. Similarly, if there's a change in aircraft that changes the seating map, you are much more likely to be reassigned to seats that are together if you're in the same PNR.

    Only you can decide how important this is versus doing the tickets so that the adults get the miles.

    Earlier you commented about possibly doing one business class seat. You should be aware that airlines will not permit any "visiting" in the business class cabin by persons, including children, with seat assignments in coach. Depending on the carrier, you might be able to swap seats once in the middle of the flight, especially if this doesn't involve moving any luggage.
     
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  7. thetenken
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    thetenken Silver Member

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    Tokyo and Fuji are relatively close together. You can take a day-bus that will take you to Fuji around night-time, do the ascent, and see the sunrise. Problem is if your kids are too little, it might be too strenuous.

    Oh yeah, how long are budgeting in Japan? And will you be spending the night with your family friends or will you be spending your nights in the hotel?
     
  8. KIXman
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    KIXman Gold Member

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    Avoid the last week of April like the plague for your visit. It'll be Golden Week in Japan, which is a week of consecutive holidays and all transportation, hotels at good spots, tourist areas etc will be crowded with visitors, not to mention expensive.
     
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  9. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    Will the cherry blossoms still be in bloom in early April? (assuming you avoid Golden Week and go early April) If you are going to Japan at that time, I'd suggest planning so that you are there for at least part of the Hanami celebrations. It really is something to see and the trees are beautiful.

    Hotel wise, you can fast track to Hilton gold but you would just need to time it right so that you had status next April, ie, fast track next year or go to Japan earlier. Marriott also has an instant gold promo (check the other threads I can't remember where I saw it). And, if you are simply looking for status, I believe you can get 10 nights per conference room booking at Marriott (as per the other forum). Again, just needs to be timed correctly.

    Cheers
     
  10. I'll be following the replies, as we're planning a similar trip using FF miles!
     

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