Need help with tricky business saver award SFO/LAX-DPS-DEL-SFO/LAX

Discussion in 'Star Alliance' started by hulagrrl210, May 25, 2012.

  1. hulagrrl210
    Original Member

    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I'm somewhat inexperienced at booking international awards and could use all the help I can get. I'm looking for 3 to go to India (DEL) next spring with a stopover in Bali (DPS) using United miles and since it is such a long trip, I'd really like to go in Business Class. I priced out the award in Y no problem online and even found some mixed cabin availability, the problem is trying to find more than 2 seats in business on any of the partner airlines (SQ,TG specifically).

    Here's my proposed routing right now that I found in Y:
    SFO-HKG-SIN-DPS(stopover)-BKK-DEL(destination)-BKK-HKG-SFO. SFO-HKG-SIN-DPS on SQ, DPS-BKK-DEL on TG, DEL-BKK-HKG on TG, and HKG-SFO on UA.
    I know SQ doesn't typically give business class seats to *A on long haul (SQ1 for example), so I'd like to go on United as far as I can (I'm thinking NRT,ICN,HKG,KIX,SIN) on the way there. I found 2 seats on SQ between KIX and SIN, but 3 seems to be a problem. From what I can see there is no business availability whatsoever on SQ between SIN and DPS and I'm also having trouble getting more than 2 seats DPS-BKK-DEL on TG and DEL-BKK-HKG on TG on the return.

    Here are my questions:
    -If I book a mixed cabin award can I upgrade the Y portions later if partner availability opens up? If so, how? Do TG and SQ open up more seats closer to the date of travel? Do they even release more than 2 seats?

    -Passenger #3 is an infant and the only reason he is getting his own seat is because of the 10% fees for lap-childing him internationally, which could easily be several thousand dollars on a trip like this. On some of those segments where only 2 seats are available in business, if my husband and I book those, can we lap-child the kid in business or get him a bassinet up front with us if he has his own ticketed seat in the back? (BTW we've done this domestically with no problem when he didnt clear his companion upgrade. Baby and I sat in FC together for takeoff and landing, dad sat in coach. Dad came to FC to enjoy meals and drinks and to hold baby, baby got fussy and wanted to take a nap in his car seat, mom went and sat in coach and read a magazine in baby-free bliss, etc. I know technically on UA we are not supposed to go back and forth between cabins, but they were nice about it.)

    -Can we/should we split the family to get 2 out of 3 business class seats if 3 aren't available on shorter Asia segments? Especially on the way home, if we do a mixed cabin award, we are essentially paying for business class the whole way right?

    -Is it worth calling United and paying the $25 on this one to try and get help? As there anything they can do/see that I can't?

    -If I fly through PVG, do I need a visa?

    -Any other tips or suggestions?

    Additional info- my home airport is SMF but I know from experience trying to find saver award availability to SFO and LAX is tough. I'm willing to drive to SFO, and/or even book out of LAX and buy a one-way ticket there if we can get an itinerary that passes through SFO on the way home so I can skip out on the final segment.
    Since we're flying with a baby I'd like to try and avoid doing wacky things like DPS-ICN-DEL or flying to S.E. Asia via the atlantic or middle east.

    Thanks in advance!
    Gargoyle likes this.
  2. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    3 seats are hard, much harder than 2, however:

    TG will often only show 2 award seats available at a time when there are actually more than 2 seats. Book 2, then go back to search and see if a 3rd seat now appears available.

    Don't expect more than 2 seats from SQ though :)

    You can upgrade later, no problem. If they deduct miles for a business class award and you're stuck in coach at booking, if business becomes available later just call up and they'll switch you, going from one cabin to a higher cabin won't incur a fee for that..

    You can transit PVG without visa. In fact you can transit PEK without visa, in PVG you can even leave the airport for a short stopover.

    I'd book 2 seats online then try to book a 3rd. If you can't you can always cancel an award within 24 hours.

    Consider even booking 3 separate PNRs, then you can easily upgrade one at a time when a single business segment opens between booking and travel.
  3. euromannn
    Original Member

    euromannn Gold Member

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    I wish you could be my travel agent!
    hulagrrl210 likes this.
  4. BuckleandBoots

    BuckleandBoots Silver Member

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    I found the EWR-DEL flight in BF to be a pleasant surprise. YMMV, but I wouldn't completely write it off, especially if there is availability.

    You may have to book two one ways to accomplish this and I realize that my suggestion violates the cardinal rule of using miles for Premium Cabin on foreign airlines.

    Plus, baby would be one of the youngest to circumnavigate the globe.
    hulagrrl210 likes this.

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