Newbie In Need of Help

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by ATLSounder, Feb 1, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ATLSounder

    ATLSounder Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I just stumbled across the site and didn't realize what I was missing.

    Last year I built up a lot of miles flying for work and want to use them to treat myself to new year's eve in Sydney this year.

    I need some help finding how to best use my 162,000 Continental points for a first class trip from ATL to SYD. I want to try and leave on the 12/27 and return 1/4.

    Any help our pointers would be appreciated. I really don't want to have to use all my miles just to end up flying coach.
     
  2. tondoleo
    Original Member

    tondoleo Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint ATLSounder.

    You have your work cut out for you.

    The members of this board can assist you with more information.

    What other miles/points do you have in other airlines or hotels? What CC's do you have? Are you willing to get more CC's for the bonus miles? What research have you done to help you determine the route you want to take?

    Good luck. Others will post with more questions and great answers for you.
     
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  3. ATLSounder

    ATLSounder Member

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    Thanks tondeleo.

    Currently I have about 155k in Hilton and 92k in Priority Club. All my flights were on continental or partner airlines so my miles all rolled to my onepass account.

    I'm not willing to add another CC to my credit report so that option is out.

    As far as research I have been looking at the CO/UA sites and most everything is going thru ORD or IAH to SFO or LAX then on to SYD.

    I really don't know what the next steps would be to look beyond those to airlines for finding the right flights.
     
  4. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    That's a bit of an understatement... :)

    160k miles should be enough for one person to come and go in BusinessFirst, or even First in a 2 cabin aircraft, but the problem is the time of year and getting out of ATL.

    Right now it's too far to look into 2013, but unless I'm mistaken at that time of year it looks like no SaverPass awards are available -- at least nothing shows on their site for December after 12/11 -- so it would be EasyPass @ 150k. A quick search shows ATL-IAH-LAX-SYD or some variation of it (like ATL-ORD-SFO-SYD) in a variety of different aircraft.

    If I was going to treat myself and work this out, I'd spend some serious time investigating the metal in use (because we all know that makes a huge difference) or even looking at other Star Alliance carriers, just in case.
     
  5. canucklehead
    Original Member

    canucklehead Gold Member

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    Welcome ATLSounder!

    Australia is a pretty popular destination so I would advise a couple of things:

    1) be flexible with your schedule as awards are not always easy to find
    2) book as early as possible, but in this case award availability for Jan 4th has not been listed on CO.com. Keep checking, as it only lists to Jan 3rd so far.

    The Continental website is pretty good for booking award tickets and displays availability for all classes, as well as SaverPass vs EasyPass (or Saver vs Standard on UA) awards.

    I would grab Business class if it is available as the 747 have flat beds (though tighter pitch than First) and pretty good for the Pacific crossing (but it is not First).
     
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  6. Extra Pack of Peanuts

    Extra Pack of Peanuts Silver Member

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    ATLSounder,

    The bad news: Having flown to Australia this holiday season I can tell you that it will be very, very difficult. However, it might not be impossible. To give you a little backstory, I was trying to fly in and out of Tokyo or Osaka to either Melbourne or Sydney. Getting there wasn't as big a hassle as getting OUT of Australia after the holidays. I found rewards tickets down on Qantas (using AA miles) but there was absolutely NOTHING flying out of Australia for rewards tickets until January 11th. I ended up having to buy tickets (horror, I know!) on Jetstar, Qantas's budget airline. Ironically, Jetstar (out of Cairns into Osaka direct) was much nicer than the crappy Qantas plane they shoved us in on the way down.

    The good news: You are looking to book much earlier than I did. Here is what my plan of action would be:

    1. I'd keep checking CO and UA websites to see if you can catch it right when they release the tickets.

    2. Check ANA's website for the best flight availability for Star Alliance. They show ALL the star alliance partners, which means you might fly CO in the States but transfer to ANA or something in Asia. It broadens your net considerably, and since you have CO points, you can use them for Star Alliance carriers. You'll have to sign up to get a ff # with them, but it is free, so no big deal.

    3. I'd also sign up for and start using Award Nexus. Award Nexus can find you flights on other Star Alliance carriers and is a good tool to use in addition to the ANA website.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. Extra Pack of Peanuts

    Extra Pack of Peanuts Silver Member

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  8. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Agree that you need to check the ANA site to find *A awards. Not 100% accurate but better than just checking CO.
     
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  9. ATLSounder

    ATLSounder Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll keep searching and let you know what I find.
     
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  10. javman08

    javman08 Silver Member

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    ORD-SYD/MEL is my main route for redemption of UA FF (Born and raised in Australia but live in Chicago now) I typically fly at that time of year to see my family. Be ready to book the ticket the day they become available they go fast. It has become slightly easier now that you can book 1 way FF trips bc in the old days I would have to call UA and have them place a hold for me on my outbound until my inbound was available. LAX/SFO is always in 3 with lie Flat Biz seats.
    If going to pay cash typically flights at that time of year are $1900-2000.
    If go Economy its ok as all drinks are free and a couple of red wines with dinner and an ambien always makes the flight go quicker for me :)
     
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  11. cennas
    Original Member

    cennas Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP ATLSounder!
     
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  12. TravelMusing

    TravelMusing Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP, ATLSounder... That sounds like an exciting trip in plan! :)
     
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  13. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    You need to get familiar with ANA tool at the least (if not with one of the paid services) so you would have all your options checked well in advance. It is always helpful to have your desired itinerary known in advance and tell it to the agent as opposed to having them finding it. It is YOUR trip you have to own it.
     
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  14. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP.

    There is also CO service GUM-CNS. You may be able to leverage that to get down under, and then open jaw your way back from SYD/MEL/etc.
     
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  15. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    Have you thought of Star partner Air NZ with a stopover in NZ to Syd or Mel or to auckland and paying for SYD from NZ on a coach ticket? Alternatively, buying coach in the US to LAX/SFO or SEA for options some via Asia? I did my trip on OneWorld partners and left out of JFK rather than PHL had to book two one way tix, had flight in and called everyday for flight home eventually finding space. I'm looking at my Star options later in the year back so will be interesting what you find
    Good luck
     
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