Planning a trip to Australia

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by rachebei, Jun 15, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    Hi Milepointers!

    I hope this is the right place to post this thread (please direct me elsewhere if necessary :))

    My husband and I are planning an extended trip next July/August (2015), and I've been collecting miles/points in anticipation. I know it's pretty early, but I see on other threads that it's a good idea to start solidifying plans about 9-10 months prior to travel, so I figured now's a good time to start getting some pointers.

    Our plan is to spend about 2 weeks in Israel in July, and then about a month in Australia, before returning to the states.

    As of now, we have close to 200K Ultimate Rewards, about 8,600 Starpoints, and about 7K Mileage Plus points. [EDIT: I also have about 7,500 Delta Skymiles]

    My question is, what is/are the best airline(s) we should be looking at, based on our current mileage? I've been hearing really bad things about United recently, so I'm leaning away from flying with them, even though we have some points there (I know what we have is not significant). Ideally, we want to fly in style (business/first class), especially since these are very long haul flights we're talking about.

    Is there anything else we should be doing, or should know, in preparation for this trip?

    Thanks so much in advance!
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
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  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Definitely not too early as you'll be able to book in only a month and would want to have all your points in place by then.

    Obviously your only significant stash is in Ultimate Rewards, although you could transfer those United and combine them with the 7K you have there. However, I don't think you have enough points for two business class tickets to Australia which, if I recall, start at 120K per person and go up from there. Since you want to route through Israel (or someplace close to Israel) you may be limited in your options and may have to spend extra for the stop-over. Fortunately, UR points are easy to come by -- just apply for one of the many credit cards and you should be good to go.

    UR points are ultimately flexible and you can transfer to SkyTeam (via Korean), oneWorld (via British Airway) and Star Alliance (via United and now Singapore). Some carriers to consider that will get you to Israel on the outbound are Royal Jordanian (oneWorld) and EgyptAir or Turkish (Star Alliance).

    I'm not a regular (or even occasional) United flier but I just did have an EWR-MXP-EWR flight with them (E+ outbound and E return) and it was absolutely fine. For what it's worth.
     
  3. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    Thanks, LarryInNYC!

    Yeah, I know we're pretty far from the necessary points for two business class tickets. I'm not sure how it works with paying for part of a ticket with points and part with $. We're saving up money as well, to supplement the costs.

    Do you think we'd do better to switch the itinerary around, and fly to AUS first, then to Israel? Or would that not make a difference?
     
  4. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    You can't really pay for a ticket with part points and part money unless you spend $ to buy points but that usually isn't worth it unless there is a great exchange rate or you only need to buy a small number of points to get close to the necessary reward. You could possibly pay for one ticket and one way for another ticket and then use cash if you did economy. I think getting more UR points by signing up for a credit card might be your best bet to try to reach your goal.
     
  5. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    Oh okay, that clears that up then! Actually, on the subject of new Chase credit cards, I have another question. Currently, my husband has the Chase Sapphire Preferred (in his name) and I am a qualified user. I have the Chase Ink Plus in my name, and my husband is a qualified user. Are we allowed to put in new applications for each card (me for the CSP and my husband for the CIP) to get the sign up bonus again? (sorry if that's a silly question)

    Also, which other Chase cards would you recommend getting for additional sign up bonuses?

    Thanks!
     
  6. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Look at prices very carefully before planning to buy a one way ticket. These can be so expensive that it's cheaper to buy a RT ticket and save those miles.

    I don't think any FF program will permit a stopover in TLV on the way to SYD or VV, so OP is looking at tickets pricing as three one way segments or a RTW if the conditions for it can be met. It's not a logical routing and so I want to ask why do it this way, rather than taking two separate trips? If OP is determined to do this, it could make sense to purchase two RTW tickets and use the points toward hotel rooms.
     
  7. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    Okay, that makes sense. That's actually something we've considered (taking two separate trips). So, let's take TLV out of the equation.
     
  8. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    Even if you are authorized users you can get still sign up for your own cards. In the case of chase sapphire you might also be able to get extra points by making your significant other an authorized user as well (I believe that is in effect now - its either 5K or 2.5K I can't remember) - so you would both have it and have the other spouse as an authorized user. Another option is the chase freedom which is a no fee card with quarterly sign ups and has an increased sign up bonus of 20,000 chase points right now (usually its 10000). I happen to have a referal link if you are interested in that card - just ping me.
     
  9. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    Also the person who has the chase sapphire preferred should be able to refer the other person. The referal website for chase is here https://www.chasereferafriend.com/ That should earn the person sending the referal another 5K points as long as chase will let them refer. If you fill out the info it will let you know if you can refer or not.
     
  10. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    In that case, we can bump up our points to over 300K, which is pretty close to what we'd need for a RTW on United (again, if there's a better airline we should be looking at for the flight to AUS, please let me know :))
     
  11. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    If you're going with United...

    You would actually need to have at least 400,000 MileagePlus Miles to accomplish this proposed itinerary of yours for two people.

    Here's a link to the Award Chart.
    1. 140-160k (70-80k per person) for USA to Israel in Business Class on United and/or Star Alliance Partner.
    2. 120k (60k per person) for Israel to Australia in Business Class on a Star Alliance Partner.
    3. 140k (70k per person) for Australia to USA in Business Class on United.

    If you're going with British Airways...

    You would need to have at least a minimum of 510,000 British Airways Avios plus fuel surcharges to accomplish this proposed itinerary of yours for two people.

    1. 130k - USA to Israel in business class needs 65,000 Avios per person at a minimum on British Airways.
    2. 180k - Israel to Australia in business class needs 90,000 Avios per person at a minimum on British Airways and partners.
    3. 200k - Australia to USA in business class needs 100,000 Avios per person at a minimum on BA partners (Qantas).
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  12. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I would suggest taking a look at each program that Chase UR has and determine the sweet spot of each program to maximize utility and to ensure that the awards that you want are available at the time of transferring said points into the program.
     
  13. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    oops, you're right. I miscalculated.

    Okay, I'll do that. Thanks!
     
  14. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Where are you starting out of?

    That would be more helpful.
     
  15. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    We'll probably be leaving from NYC.
     
  16. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    In that case the BA Avios numbers I quoted is correct since I used JFK as a starting point. ;)
     
  17. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    Exactly! :)

    So, if we took Israel out of this particular equation and just did roundtrip JFK --> Australia, it would be 400,000 Avios for two people, correct?
     
  18. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    If you're redeeming the Avios...
    • Qantas would cost 400,000 Avios plus Fuel Surcharges for JFK-LAX-Australia roundtrip.
    If you're redeeming United MileagePlus...
    • United would cost 280,000 for United or 320,000 for United + Star Alliance Partners (and no fuel surcharges) for NYC-Australia roundtrip.

    Here's the thing... You could mix and match by using United to get down to Australia then BA Avios to get around Australia on Qantas. You also get a free stopover on the United award so this could become lucrative with a side trip in Asia or New Zealand as an example.
     
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  19. lapointdm

    lapointdm Silver Member

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    When you think about it.. about all the problems a person could have in life... trying to figure out what the best way to get to Australia is on points isn't a bad problem to have ! :) God! I love this hobby!
     
  20. rachebei

    rachebei Active Member

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    Hi everyone... This is a loooong delayed update. I'm finally ready to book this trip and I could really use some helpful advice from people in the know.

    Here's our desired itinerary:

    MIA to Melbourne, AUS - July 5, 2015

    Auckland, NZ to LAX - August 2, 2015

    My dates are somewhat flexible, just can't travel on a Friday or Saturday. And my departure/return cities are pretty flexible as well.

    My points situation is as follows:

    Chase UR - 267,422
    United MileagePlus - 63,388
    SPG - 14883

    I contacted several award booking services for help, and was quoted a pretty crazy itinerary (with 3 stops in each direction) by one (I haven't heard back from the others yet), so I want to make see if that's my only option, or if there is some other way to make this happen. I know booking earlier would have been better, but it just wasn't possible :/

    Anyway, any advice is greatly appreciated :)
     

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