Lost In Space...

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by lazerfuque, Nov 15, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. lazerfuque

    lazerfuque Member

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    I have inherited some miles [116k on AirCanada] and also have been an AA flyer for years [435k].

    But I am having a dickens of a time figuring out a trip I'm trying to take.

    A friend and I are trying to fly from our home in New York at the end of January to visit old friends in Hong Kong for 5 days.
    From there we're heading to New Zealand where we have a home swap. We're going to spend 3-4 weeks exploring and then head back stopping in Hawaii for 8 days for another home swap.

    We'd like to fly as much as possible just by miles but figuring this out on their various websites makes filling in Russian tax forms a comparative breeze. I'm not opposed to paying for some of the flights as well, if it's called for.

    Ugh, what's supposed to be a fun trip has me pulling my hair out.

    Where do I start to get a grip on this? Is there a paid service, perhaps, that can look at our miles, our dates and destinations and configure a plan?

    any advice is very welcome.

    dstober, Newscience and NYBanker like this.
  2. chrislacey
    Original Member

    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    Hi JP,

    Welcome to MilePoint! Nice collection of miles :) I'm sure you can find ways to make this work, but in order for our friendly community to help, it would be nice to know a few things:
    1. Would you prefer to maximize premium cabin travel (business/first class) and then pay for the lower cost tickets in coach, or would you prefer to travel in economy/coach to pay as little as possible out of pocket?
    2. Your itinerary is NYC (can that be JFK, LGA or EWR?) to HKG. Then from HKG to AKL (Auckland) or another spot in New Zealand? Then from there to HNL (Honolulu) or another island? Then assuming back to NYC?
    Keep in mind a few things:
    • Sometimes you will only be able to get a single award seat, so if traveling together is important...make sure you search for 2
    • Your Air Canada miles can be redeemed for any Star Alliance carrier (availability must exist obviously)
    • Your AA miles can be redeemed for One World carriers
    Some quick searches yielded:
    • Economy/Coach seats on AA for 35k miles one way (x2 passengers = 70k miles) from NYC to HKG on 1/25-28 and again 1/30-31. Some days have nicer flights (1 connection vs. 2 for example), so be sure to look at multiple days. I'm not seeing the "cheaper" business class or first class seats available at the end of January...but I'm also doing this quickly.
    • Struck out searching AA for HKG-AKL, but I'm not an AA guy...so you may have to call or use another tool to see availability there. I did find 40k miles on Star Alliance (United in First from HKG to Singapore and then Air New Zealand SIN to AKL) for 40k miles each (80k total...should be bookable through Air Canada as well). That is available 2/3, 2/4 and 2/12.
    • Tons of availability AKL-HNL for 37.5k miles in Economy/Coach with AA in early March. Non-stop flights with Hawaiian Airlines (if it's HNL you're headed to) or single connections on Qantas through Sydney.
    • From HNL back to there are only 2 dates with cheap Economy/Coach awards - 17.5k per person or 35k for both in March which are 3/9 & 3/10. Otherwise you are looking at 40k each.
    Ok so to sum up (my first quick search):
    NYC-HKG: 70k AA miles for 2 people in economy
    HKG-AKL: 80k Air Canada miles for 2 people in first/economy
    AKL-HNL: 75k AA miles for 2 people in economy
    HNL-NYC: 35k AA miles for 2 people in economy

    80k Air Canada miles
    180k AA miles
    ...that is assuming you can work the dates to come back on the "cheap" dates from HNL.

    Warning: This is not the "best" use of miles and I'm sure others can chime in, but hopefully you can see how this is doable. Use one-way award searches to piece everything together. Also, hopefully other people can chime in with partner routing and availability so you might be able to be on better flights (in terms of service) or book saver business/first class tickets. There's lots of wiggle room here :)

    About your question, there are a multitude of mileage booking services, but I will refrain from offering up suggestions as I've never used them. A Google search will come in handy here.

    Hope that helps! Your trip sounds like a ton of fun - enjoy!
  3. Counsellor
    Original Member

    Counsellor Gold Member

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    One other thought: Look at Cathay Pacific (CX) for NYC-HKG-AKL. Should be plenty of availability in coach if you can avoid HKG in the period around Chinese New Year, latter part of February next year, and you can book through AA using AA miles since CX is One World. That way you wouldn't have to change carriers in HKG and connect in SIN, and CX is generally considered nicer soft product than AA.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  4. lazerfuque

    lazerfuque Member

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    You guys are mensches.

    It turns out we have more time to organize than I'd thought as one can go into Aeroplan book a car rental for a single day months in advance, immediately cancel it and thereby automatically renew your miles for another year. Even a cancelled car rental qualifies as account activity.
    chrislacey, dstober and Newscience like this.

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