Open jaw advice, probably for oneworld alliance

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Jeffrey, Dec 31, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Silver Member

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    My wife and I are still in the very early stages of planning our first CC rewards trip.. Looking at going in late 2012 or early 2013, but trying to acquire cards in such a way as to maximize the benefit before that. Currently, we have 100k Ultimate Rewards points, most of which came from me signing up for the Chase Freedom in February and the Sapphire Preferred in October before I really realized how much better miles could be compared to dollars back since we want to travel anyway. My wife just was approved the other day for both Citi AAdvantage cards using the two browser trick, and we are waiting to hear back for her app the same day for the Chase Southwest.

    Our goal destination, subject to change, is Tokyo and Seoul. Best case, we would be able to do an open jaw flying into Tokyo, stopping in Kyoto/Osaka, flying over to Seoul, and then returning home. Home in this case is kind of flexible... ATL or ORD is most likely where we would leave from, because there is family to leave our daughter with, but we are based in Hartford. So being able to build a flight plan from BDL to NRT/KIX and back via one of those cities would be huge. But if necessary, we can just book the domestic stuff individually.

    We would hope for this trip to be as nice as possible for as little actual money as possible (I know, a unique goal). We definitely would want business class on the transpacific leg, and don't much care about the short hop between Japan and Korea. It'd be nice to get all or most hotels on points, too. My current thinking was to get both Citi AA cards for myself once we meet the spend on hers and so by probably April or May we would have 200k American miles, which looks like enough to get us to Japan or Korea and back. But because I'm new at this, I have a few questions to help us pick cards in 2012 towards this goal. Can we book the open jaw ticket this way through American, even if it is on a different oneworld partner? (I would love to be in as nice a business class product as possible, and I also think it would be cool to be on the upper floor of a two level plane. Or anywhere on an Airbus 380). Will I need extra AA miles to do it as an open jaw, or is it better for me to plan to book as two one way tickets. Also, for the short leg in between, is it more efficient for me to use my UR points on Korean Air directly, to find a different signup bonus somewhere, or to just pay in cash? What cards should I target to maximize free hotel nights? We don't need to be in the top hotels, but we would like something at least equivalent in "niceness" to, say, a Marriott Courtyard. Finally, when would be the best plan for actually booking this - 330 days out, or some other time?

    Thanks so much in advance for suggestions!
     
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  2. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    Consider an open-jaw, stopover of BDL-NRT, KIX-ICN-BDL, with the 2 hr, 30 min bullet train in between. You can do this with a * Alliance reward, potentially taking ANA or Asiana across the larger pond. Play around on continental.com.

    Stopovers and open-jaw awards are harder for AA/oneworld. See TPG on June 30th on this. You're probably going to have to call AA to look into booking availability, or spend some time on several sites.

    In your position, I'd probably book two one-way business awards on AA using the cards, take the bullet train across Japan, transfer UR points to Korean Air for KIX-ICN, which is supposed to be a good redemption rate, and use your UR points & other cards for hotels.

    EDIT: Whoops, it's DL miles that have a good redemption rate. Korean, less so.

    The final, probably most significant note, is that 2012 card offers have yet to be defined, and so your strategy should probably include being on the lookout for higher card bonuses.

    I'll step aside for someone more knowledgeable.
     
  3. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    You need to remember that the Ultimate Rewards is not a lost cause by far. Those points can be transferred to Hyatt or Marriott for hotel rooms or Continental / UA for flights - transfers are on a 1:1 basis. In about 3 months you might want to have your wife apply for the Chase Sapphire card. That would give you 150K points between Marriott and Hyatt. Enough for numerous nights.

    If you are planning on going in late 2012 or early 2013 you are really not far from when you should start looking at booking. Remember that saver seats are limited. You can typically book 330 days from your flight so you would want to start looking then. As for wanting a business class seat on an A380, those are almost impossible to be had.

    I would apply for the AA cards for yourself ASAP so that you would have the points post and can therefore start looking for tickets at the earliest possible time.

    With AA all awards are basically 1 way awards so there is no increase to do an open jaw. As for getting points for the flight between Tokyo and Seoul, I would plan on paying cash as the hotels / transpacific flights should be a priority.

    As a backup, if the "two browser" does not work (and remember that it doesn't always work) for you on the AA card, you can always transfer your UR points to Continental / UA and then fly AA one way and UA the other. Of course this then causes issues that you don't have points for hotels. But that, to a certain extent, can be worked.

    Also, since all banks will only give so much credit you need to make sure that each application does something to reach your goal. For example, the SW (which is Chase) application could have been used for Chase Sapphire and you would have an additional 50K points for either hotels or the flight. As it is, the SW "pull" does nothing for your planned trip. Key is to PLAN YOUR APPLICATIONS.

    You should probably also look at this thread and the links that Randy has included:

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads...ng-a-program-how-to-use-this-forum-more.8684/

    Good luck and welcome to MP.
     
  4. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Silver Member

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    Thanks for the answers so far! This is very useful advice. I haven't spent a lot of time looking at hotel rewards, either cards or redemption rates... For those three cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul) would it make sense for me to just try and get more Hyatt and Marriott points? Our goal is about nine nights, though depending on prices we may rather save some points for future travel. When I'm ready to book, I presume the easiest way is to find the flights myself, call the AA general reservation number, and say something like "I want to book ATL-DFW-NRT and ICN-LAX-ATL on AA and JAL with these flight numbers on or around these dates."

    An aside. When I applied my wife for the two Citi AA cards, I had to talk to an online agent, one in each browser. They didn't seem aware of the other, and didn't really ask any tough questions, but I wasn't sure whether this was normal procedure.

    My thinking on the SW card was that we are going to need domestic flights all throughout 2012 to visit family and such, and since it is a first purchase signup bonus card, it made a good candidate for later credit realignment. That may have been a misguided thought, though.

    Maybe it's because I'm using the iPad app, but the link doesn't seem to be posted.
     
  5. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    Yes, that's my understanding. Be polite and patient. If you don't get what you want, thank them, hang up, and redial. And flexible dates will help you get SAAver/Saver awards.

    Not a problem if you're going to be flying domestically and Southwest does come to BDL. It only becomes a problem if you now want to get another card and Chase thinks they've extended you too much credit. Can always offer to move around lines of credit.
     
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  6. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    If you know you will be flying domestically within a year, don't forget to take into account AA's weird RT stopover rule where you can basically build in and reschedule a stopover at the "end" of your trip to a different location. Doing this might effectively give you a free one-way ticket domestically. Here's some more info from gleff's blog.
     

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