Need Ideas to get to Bali in Business/First

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Mikus33, Mar 13, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    I'm hoping to get 2 tickets (plus lapchild) in Business or First Class to Bali from Kansas City (or a gateway city which I can position to) to meet friends there from May 22-30. Dates can be shifted on either or both sides of that to include about 2 weeks total travel.

    I was planning to use US Airways or AA miles to fly oneworld, but I'm struggling finding transpacific flights using the British Airways website for searching.

    I thought I'd turn to this brain trust for suggestions/brainstorming. Ideally, I'd love to fly Cathay or Singapore, but JAL or any other solid business/first product would make me happy as it is a bit last minute.

    Here is what I'm working with:

    Chase - 280k
    Amex - 225k
    SPG - 50k
    AA - 150k, 140k
    US Airways - 170k, 200k
    BA - plenty for positioning flights in US and/or Asia
    United - 60k

    Throw some ideas at me (routes, carriers, even dates, etc.), and I'll see if I can research them.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    SEA - DPS on OZ is okay for 2 ppl on 5/22
    DPS - BKK - LAX ON TG/OZ is okay 5/31

    you have enough UA/UR for that...
     
  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    If you had delta miles and were ok going through Australia, there is frequently a lot of availability (va runs hot and cold in that regard)
     
  4. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    We did the LAX to HKG to DPS on Cathay Pacific some years ago on miles. And paid for DPS to Yogyakarta return trip, for visiting the beautiful Buddhist/Hindu temples there. Now that the Indonesian carrier Garuda is part of some alliance, that extra trip could also be done as Reward travel. Getting premium class reward tickets this late in the game might be difficult/impossible. If all else fails, I would ask Gary Leff's (or some other MilePoint blogger's) booking service. It could be money well spent.
     
  5. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Thanks edekba, I had my blinders on and hadn't even really looked at using UA miles. I was really hoping to burn some of my US or AA miles before the integration not knowing what the Asia award ticket costs would look like. I may need to spend some more time researching Star Alliance options this late in the game.

    I only have about 25k Delta miles. AmEx points would transfer, but it appears at a crappy 1000:750 rate - not an ideal use of AmEx, unless the redemption cost is low. Speaking of SkyTeam, would Korean Airlines be an option? I've heard there's good availability, but it looks extremely pricey for peak season (not sure if my dates are in or out of peak season - probably peak).

    Thanks for the tip on Yogyakarta. I'll have to look into that depending on our final flight plans. Looks like a cool place from a quick Google search. I am about to the point of paying an award booking service to find something for me. I've used one before when I first got into this game, and almost used one last year to find me a ticket last year, but it didn't pan out. Last year when I used one of the blogger's services I felt like I knew as much or maybe more than the person assigned to my ticket based on our initial conversation. That made me a little leery of using them, but I guess if they can't find something I'm happy with I'm not paying them. Plus, if I go that route I'll try out someone else's service this time to see how it goes.
     
  6. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    I am surprised to know that. I thought they would put some seasoned people to help us.
    BTW, I had posted a trip report on our adventure to Bali/Yogyakarta. You might get a preview of your vacation from that.
     
  7. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Yeah, the award I was trying to make happen was a RT from NRT to the US via DOH with a stopover there, and I was going to throw away the last DOH-NRT leg as you couldn't have both an open jaw and a stopover using US Airways miles. The guy from the Award Booking service mentioned using a one way, and I said that's not allowed using US Airways miles, and he said something to the effect of 'who says?'. Now, it could have been him suggesting that you used to be able get away with a lot using US miles (although getting them to issue a one way seems like a huge stretch), but to me it seemed like he genuinely had either forgotten one ways weren't possible or didn't know. Anyway, that seems like basic knowledge, so my confidence in him wasn't very high after that. Anyway, he couldn't help find me what I was looking for (which was a bit of a stretch to begin with), so nothing but a small bit of time wasted there.

    I'll take a look for your trip report, and see if I can gather some good ideas. Our friends are planning most (ok all) of it, but it'll be good to get a preview and also know make sure we don't miss anything big.
     
  8. r0m8470

    r0m8470 Silver Member

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    You can use combination of your UA and Chase UR points-converted-to-UA.

    I have a trip planned this summer to Asia (technically) with a stopover in Paris (our real destination). You can maximize your trip by putting a stop over in the itinerary. From the US, you have the added flexibility of having the stop-over in Asia or in Europe, either on the outbound or inbound leg. Asiana and EVA fly to DPS. With Asiana, you can use SEA, SFO or LAX for your gateway, or even YVR. Find the segments to the Asian gateway cities that are connected to DPS (namely ICN and TPE), then structure the other segments after that.

    Remember that you have 2 open jaws if you use UA. So you can fly in to DPS, and fly out from JOG (or any other Indonesian airports for that matter). Indonesia is a very large and diverse countries, you would not run out of options there. I do recommend for your travel within Indonesia to stick to either Garuda (and its LCC subs Citilink), or Indonesia AirAsia. Try to avoid Lion Air if possible. From my personal experience, their operational procedures are very poor, and customer service has quite low standard. They also just became a news item in Indonesia due to massive cancellations and them leaving thousands stranded in CGK.

    There's a good chance that you may need to find the segments on your own, and spoon-feed the phone agents for your itinerary. I did for ours. We flew SEA-YYZ-CDG (stopover)-PEK-ICN (destination), then ICN-PEK-VIE-ZRH-YYZ-SEA on the return leg. My wife used an open jaw and she would fly SUB-SIN-NRT-SEA later on with none of the segments on UA, they were all on partner airlines.

    I used UA website to find all the segments with the exception of SUB-SIN, I used SQ website to do that, then provide the flight # to the phone agent. You do need a Krisflyer acct.

    Let me know if you have any questions. Always happy to help a fellow mile enthusiast!
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
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  9. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Thanks for the great info! Did you fly J or F, and what did your flights cost you (miles & rough estimate of taxes)? What partners are you flying?
     
  10. r0m8470

    r0m8470 Silver Member

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    We will fly coach on outbound up to Inchon, then biz on the inbound back to SEA. My wife also fly on biz from SUB to SEA. We took advantage of UA partner sale that just ended. We spent 105K miles each. We ended up with Air Canada, Air China, Austrian, All Nippon and Singapore Airlines. I was trying to get ICN-NRT-SEA but then the availability was gone before I booked. So I ended up having to fly back from ICN to SEA via Europe. I was saving PTO as well, so I did not structure the segments in Europe with mini layover. I could have done that, and got a couple of extra days, one each in an Asian *A gateway city, and another in Europe.

    Since you live in Kansas City, ever thought of getting SW companion pass? We have that when we lived in Austin. It is very handy for positioning.

    Once you're done structuring your flight itinerary, if you plan to stay at Ubud, make sure to check out Komaneka properties. We stayed there for our honeymoon, and we were blown away. We also stayed at Alila Uluwatu (Google it - there is a good chance that you've seen picture of their main pool), which is an excellent property in its own right, but Alila cannot match Komaneka's hospitality.
     
  11. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Yeah, we had the companion pass a couple of years ago (expired end of 2013), and it was incredible. We were going somewhere stateside every month, which was a lot for us. It provided so much value. Then we moved to Doha, Qatar for 2 years, and when we moved back to KC at the beginning of this year I had planned to get it, but waited too long, and the credit card bonuses dropped to 25k each. Hopefully we'll get it again soon.

    Thanks for the recommendations in Bali. When you mentioned Ubud and pool, I immediately pictured what turned out to be the Hanging Gardens pool. I googled Alila Uluwatu, and I have seen that one before too though.
     
  12. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    SAN-NRT has 2J for JL on 5/24... ;)
    NRT-HKG has 3J for CX on 5/26... ;) ;)
    HKG-DPS has 2Y for CX on 5/27... ;) ;) ;)
    (or you could wait until 5/28 if you simply MUST have J for a 4 hour flight for a KA flight then.)

    (You really need to be doing a segment by segment search on BA, the CX flight HKG-DPS isn't timed great for a lot of USA connections so you might miss it doing a USA Gateway-DPS search. Also, CX availability has dried up a lot now that everyone is buying cheap US miles to fly it, and there aren't 744s with 9F cabins flying to the USA any more. :( Your best bet if you are feeling "lucky" is to wait until a week or less before your travel dates, historically, F and C partner awards will be opened up by CX close-in if the cabin is unsold. You may want to invest in Expertflyer. ;))

    Um, so do Thai (TG) and Singapore Airlines (SQ). TG avail to DPS from BKK is pretty good, so is SQ availability. SQ uses regional equipment for a lot of Asia that is available on redemption: it won't be visible on the UA site, but it's there if you search using the ANA tool. Their SIN-DPS service is all on regional planes (4x daily), so available as part of a UA redemption (but UA horribly penalizes you for flying partners with really huge mileage burn :().

    PS: OP can transfer Chase to SQ and use SQ Krisflyer to fly to or from DPS... potentially in SQ Suites class or SQ F on the longhaul segments. ;)

    PPS: OP, you do realize that there will be a cash outlay for the infant-in-arms, right? Often it's 10% of the cash fare. Be sure you are careful about that, I've seen nightmare stories on problems with lap children tickets as part of UA awards being screwed up in the UA forum on FlyerTalk...

    PPPS: Personally, having your US miles turn into AA miles and giving you a balance of over 500,000 miles to work with doesn't sound so terrible, given your requirements (multiple seats, infant in arms). Might help if you did OW one way and *A the other, with BA for positioning. Since US doesn't do one-ways... ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
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  13. r0m8470

    r0m8470 Silver Member

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    You are correct! I forgot about Thai, they also showed up in UA. I used KrisFlyer site to find availability on SQ. You are also correct about UA high requirements for partner redemption. That was why I decided to book when they had partner promo.

    I forgot to mention the CX option with AA. I booked 2 tickets in biz for my parents to visit from CGK this Fall, using AA miles, flying with CX and Alaska. I found the availability through Qantas website, then call AA and book. The phone fee was waived.
     
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  14. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    I was able to put MCI-ORD-DOH-DPS on hold for the way out there, which actually works out very nicely (if I can find a decent return option using US miles) as our friends are on the DOH-DPS flight. I've flown the 777 QR business product a few times (as we lived in Doha for 2 years) and it's very solid, but I was hoping to try out a new airline's J product. However, I'm extremely excited that the DOH-DPS flight is on QR's new J product on a 787, which I have yet to fly (on any airline).

    All in all, the outbound routing is a huge win as it's only 2 layovers (great for the kid/wife), and we get use of the incredible lounge in DOH, plus we get to be on the same flight as our friends (even if they are back in Y).

    Now, if I can just find something in the next 72 hrs for the flight back. Ideally, we'd be crossing the Pacific this time around, maybe even with a stopover in HKG (never been) or NRT (really enjoyed Tokyo, but it's a trip to/from NRT). An around the world trip in J is a bucket list item, even if its only one or two real destinations. Then again, a layover in Europe somewhere wouldn't be too bad either. Again, I may be hoping for too much, but a man's gotta dream.

    Thanks for the suggested SAN-NRT route as that one hadn't crossed my mind. Looks like it has it's pluses and minuses as it's a 787, but it's got the angled layflat seat.

    I have been doing the segment to segment search which is how I came across the MCI-ORD-DOH-DPS route. It's too bad about CX not flying the 744's to the US anymore. I'd love to experience some CX F, plus I'm kind of in love with the 747 even though I've only flown it once.

    With the outbound routing through the Middle East, I think I'm now stuck using US miles for the entire trip as AA won't let me route through the Middle East and US requires a roundtrip. So, that rules out SQ (the A380 suites are a bucket list item for sure), and all other *A options, unless I'm missing something. The US miles converting to AA could be a good thing, but I'll lose the ability to route through Europe/Middle East to Asia as well as a stopover, correct?

    Yeah, I'm aware of the cash outlay for the infant in arms. Not looking forward to seeing that bill. I hear kids cost money so I'm sure this won't be the last time.

    Thanks for all of your help. I'll go back to searching now, and if you come up with any more routing ideas, be sure to post them here. Thanks again!
     
  15. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    NRT-SAN has 2J on 30 May, 31 May, 4 June, 6 June.

    Converting to AA miles means you'd break to two awards: USA-ME and ME-Asia2.

    Also, there's JL KIX-LAX availability in J around those dates as well, with a CX connection from HKG. Add in DPS-HKG and you should be good, just needing to get to MCI.

    I'd ticket that US award REALLY REALLY soon. It might not be an option within 72 hours. :(
     
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  16. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Yeah, I'm seeing those options. I'd love a better J seat than those angled lay flats...

    You're right though, I need to make this happen ASAP. I don't want to break it into 2 awards.
     
  17. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Well, the other option would be to bite the bullet, let the US award expire, and cross your fingers that CX F opens up. Cost would be:

    67.5K USA to ME in J
    30K ME to Asia 2 in J
    67.5K Asia 2 to USA in F

    So 165K, not terribly egregious since US is at 120K for the RT (but you're probably going to have to settle for JL slanty C if you stick to US- though there's). Also, you're not locked into OW, could use the SPG+UR to book SQ, or UA+UR to book via UA, or whatever.

    My personal feeling is that with a small lap child, the hard part is going to be the being on airplanes for hours on end since they don't really care so much about Krug or whether the seat is slanty or an SQ suite :), so being able to break things into smaller travel chunks via one-ways is a boon. You've got LOADS of miles. Spend them liberally. Why not stop in HKG and TYO on the way?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
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  18. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Yeah, I've got a good number of miles, but I'm thrifty. I feel like it's a waste to spend them on 2 awards when I'm not even really stopping over in Doha. Plus, if I give up the RT with US, then I don't get the stopover for free. Now, if you were to tell me there is SQ suite availability I could possibly be swayed...

    Right now I'm looking into flying back across the Atlantic again. I haven't gotten to the TATL flight yet, but MH has some interesting options, possibly even F on an A380 to LHR, and we've never been to Kuala Lumpur. You're right though about having the kid be on an airplane for hours on end. She did well on her DOH-CAI, then CAI-DOH leg 24 hrs later continuing on with a DOH-ORD flight 12 hrs after that. But she screamed the entire ORD-DSM flight that followed. I blame the kid's mood on the downgrade from QR J to AA regional jet F, but my wife says the she didn't sleep well toward the end of the DOH-ORD flight. Doing something crazy like DPS-KUL (stop) KUL-LHR-DFW/ORD-MCI might be asking for a painful end to our trip. Then again, DPS-NRT (stop) NRT-SAN-ORD/DFW-MCI might not be any better. So many options to research...

    In either case I feel like I need to take advantage of a stopover somewhere besides DPS to get to see something else and also give the kid a break.

    Edit: I'm thrifty, but F on an A380 has me quite intrigued and contemplating the extra 40k, even if it's not on a top tier airline like QR, EK, or EY.
     
  19. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Think I'm going to have to put it down for tonight and sleep on it. Hopefully, I'll ticket something tomorrow night. <famous last words>
     
  20. r0m8470

    r0m8470 Silver Member

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    You might be able to get business lie flat - most of the way anyway - if you're going through Europe. You might be able to throw in a semi-stopover in Munich too, if you're willing to fly out of DPS on 6/1.

    You can do:
    6/1 DPS to BKK, Thai
    6/1 BKK to VIE, Austrian, arrive in VIE on 6/2 early morning
    6/2 VIE to MUC, take the 1pm LH flight, stay at Munich
    6/3 MUC to YYZ, take the LH flight, it's on A330-300, should be the lie flat version
    6/3 YYZ to MCI, there are few options, these are the ugliest options though, most likely you'd get in to MCI way late.

    That might be 5-6 segments, per award-ticket. I think w UA that would cost 85K.
     
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  21. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    I see that it is beyond your travel time frame, but the info might help some other travelers looking for ways to get to Bali,

    "Emirates to fly to Bali from Dubai starting June 3."
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
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  22. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    So I found DPS-HKG (stop) HKG-DOH-ORD-MCI availability for the return. After a few, "we're too busy right now so we're going to hang up on you, sorry for the inconvenience" calls, I get through. First lady no help. She says the routing is not valid. HUCA. Money every time. Next lady makes the routing happen and goes to the fare desk to check price in miles and the cost in cash of the infant ticket (10% of revenue ticket). She gets back on the phone and...

    Infant ticket is $2,864.

    Blew me away. That means our tickets would cost $28,640 each. For those of you following along at home thats about 24cpm value for the award ticket (ok, so I'd obviously never pay that much, but it's still interesting to think about). I knew I'd be shelling out some cash for the infant ticket, but I didn't know it'd be that much.

    @eponymous_coward warned me. I had no idea though.

    Anyway, so I'm starting to brainstorm ideas. Can I just book her a seat for 120k (and $60 in taxes/fees)? Yeah, but there's no 3 people availability. Could I book myself a coach seat, and her and my wife business class seats, and then I just sit in her business class seat? That'd only cost me an additional 80k + negligible fees. Sounds brilliant except there are a few segments where there is no Y availability.

    Any other ideas? I'm not too excited about dropping $2864 in addition to the miles. I might end up doing it if it's my only option. I'm trying to convince myself it's still a good deal, and it probably is, but right now I'm just a bit shell shocked.
     
  23. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Oneworld? What does the award price out at in avios? Probably horrendously expensive, but with avios you can pay infant in atms with the miles I believe.
     
  24. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Good question. Just using their award chart, and not actually running it through their website it'd be...

    In business class:
    MCI-ORD 9k
    ORD-DOH 100k
    DOH-DPS 50k
    DPS-HKG 25k
    HKG-DOH 40k
    DOH-ORD 100k
    MCI-ORD 9k
    Total 333k per ticket + fees

    I feel good about my avios stash, but I'm not rocking that kind of balance. Good thinking outside of the box though.

    Tomorrow I plan to try to find availability for 3 in mostly J, maybe a leg or two with 2 in J and 1 in Y. 120k + $60 is much better than My hope is on the Y legs, I can sit in the infant J seat, and just hold the infant, leaving the Y seat open. Worst case I get stuck in Y for a leg or two. We'll see if I can find the availability though. I was close this afternoon. Close doesn't cut it though.
     
  25. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Might also get grief from the airline because, well, you didn't pay for two adult awards in J + infant in arms, you paid for two J awards and one Y to try and sneak around the cost of the infant in arms.

    I suspect FlyerTalk has better advice on traveling with kids (things are sort of dead here), might want to check their forums.

    I would probably use AA miles for the longhaul segments if you were breaking the ticket into segments, BTW. ;)
     

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