RDU - PEK

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Dixhill, Jun 23, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Dixhill

    Dixhill Silver Member

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    My wife and I planning a trip to China in May 2012. We each have about 90,000 AA miles. We like to fly business class from RDU to PEK and economy from PVG or HKG to RDU. I can only find one business class ticket so far. How easy is to find 2 business tickets? Any help or suggestion greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    How about a positioning flight somewhere else other than RDU where there might be more availability?
     
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  3. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Exactly. The "trick" is to work backwards. Find flights from ANY US city with award availability, then tack on your flight to get you there. For example, AA may not have availability RDU-ORD-PEK, but they have availability ORD-PEK... get to ORD on your own. Or CX (isn't that an AA partner?) might have a flight IAD/NYC-PEK. Worst case scenario, you may have to get yourself to SFO/LAX to begin your venture; that's just what you have to do sometimes.

    ETA... welcome to MilePoint. Have a seat, take off your shoes, and stay for awhile.
     
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  4. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    You're planning really far out some I'm pretty confident that something should be doable. Business class would be 110k miles roundtrip, any chance you might be in a position to boost your account balances just a bit? Maybe a credit card signup, a checking account opening bonus, some heavy credit card spend, transferring in points from a hotel program? You're certainly within reach --- even candidates to possibly buy points to make up the difference, since even with a points purchase you'd be spending less money than a coach ticket and getting roundtrip business class.

    And you wouldn't need to buy the points and hope for availability -- American will put award seats on hold for 5 days, then and only then would you buy the points, points take about 2 days to post to an American account.

    Anyway, I agree, you start with the transpacific flights and you have tons of options, e.g.
    Chicago - Beijing non-stop
    Chicago - Hong Kong - Beijing
    Chicago - Tokyo - Beijing
    Dallas Tokyo - Beijing
    Dallas/Chicago - Los Angeles or San Francisco - Tokyo - Beijing
    New York - Tokyo - Beijing
    New York - Hong Kong - Beijing
    and plenty of others, eg. via Toronto or Vancouver

    American partners with Japan AIrlines and with Cathay Pacific so those give lots of options in addition to the American flights. Just today I booked a couple of business class awards for March 2012 Dallas - Chicago - Hong Kong - Singapore (return Dubai - London - Dallas).

    Then figure out the domestic portion fo the trip, Raleigh to Chicago or Dallas is usually doable, American's award availability for their domestic flights tends to be pretty darned good. And again you're planning well in advance.

    What are your dates of travel, including any flexibility?
     
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  5. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Isn't there also the possibility that a nearby airport (like GSO, CLT, or GSP) could get availability when RDU doesn't have it?
     
  6. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    yes of course but we've hardly established that rdu doesn't have it :)
     
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  7. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Agreed. Although chances are if he leaves The South he will most likely have a bigger selection. :)

    And you're of course right about boosting the balance. A couple of BankDirect sign-up bonuses and a Citi account with the right promo code will do the trick. :)
     
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  8. Dixhill

    Dixhill Silver Member

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    How do you check availability for 2 tickets online? The way I am doing is to put one reservation on hold then find out if any more seat available.
    Thanks a lot!
     
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  9. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Just call up and tell them you are looking for two tickets. Or if you are doing it online enter two passengers. However -- as I say, you cannot really rely on the Delta or American websites to get you what you want.

    So, for awards using Delta miles the best thing to do is sign up for an Air France/KLM Flying Blue account and use their website. That searches MOST Delta partners, though not all. You do your research on that website, note the flights, and then call up Delta to secure them. Of course Delta is frustrating because they will not put awards on hold when booking over the phone. Only on their website. But the website doesn't include very many of their partners at all... (There is no good way to search some partners like Korean and Jet Airways online, for V Australia you sign up for their own frequent flyer program and use their website to search availability before calling Delta, for instance.)

    For awards on American
    (1) for most partners the simplest thing to do is sign up for a Qantas frequent flyer account, but it is not totally accurate for Cathay Pacific and does not show Japan Airlines (or most non-oneworld partners)
    (2) for Cathay and Japan Airlines, I use the British AIrways Executive Club website.

    Again, you note what flights are available and then call American and ask to put those seats on hold.
     
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  10. thrashsoundly
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    thrashsoundly Silver Member

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    Gary, I've been practicing looking for award flights for next year using my BA miles on CX. I keep encountering a problem with the award search engine on BA and it won't even look for flights for me:

    Error​


    Unfortunately our systems are not responding, so we are unable to process your request at the moment. We apologise for this inconvenience and suggest you try again later.​

    I signed up for a QF account and you are right, the award availability for CX is spotty at best. Have you encountered the BA error? Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
  11. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Just try again later :)
     
  12. alpinesoccer
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    alpinesoccer Silver Member

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    Also remember that if you are platinum amex holder you get a free international companion ticket if you purchase one. Since you are flying with a companion this might be worth it. I also think they are providing 50,000 Membership point sign up at the moment. These two combined more than make up for the annual fee of $450. You also get free access to Lounges when you are flying AA and DL among others.
    Just an option... Look at frugaltravelguy.com and have a look around. Rick gives good information on CC signups and offers.
     
  13. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Problem with Amex Platinum's companion ticket offer is that the price of the paid ticket can often be almost as much as buying two discount advance purchase business class tickets. It's not always (much of) a savings.
     
  14. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    It's also a restricted list of carriers which might not be the airlines that you want/need to fly.
     
  15. Dixhill

    Dixhill Silver Member

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    I was able to find 2 business award tickets yesterday. Very excited!!
    Now I need to find 2 return tickets from HKG to RDU. Since AA does not fly out of HGK, I need to call.
    What is the best way to find availability? Thanks!
     
  16. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Since the relevant partners will be Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, you want to sign up for a British Airways Executive Club account and use their rewards search website.

    But bear in mind that the website isn't very good. It will want to show you British Airways flights (through London!) rather than partner flights, if there are any available.

    I'd search point-to-point, not "Hong Kong to Raleigh"

    Search Hong Kong to Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York JFK, Toronto for Cathay Pacific availability for instance.

    And search Hong Kong to Tokyo and then Tokyo to the US.

    Of course you can also search American's website for AA flights from mainland China and Tokyo to the US.

    And once you find flights back to the US, you'll search for connecting flights to RDU.
     
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you can't find anything out of HKG, you might want to look at Macau airport (Macau is accessible from Hong Kong by frequent hydrofoil service), which has flights to China and Asia, including SIN, but not a lot of airlines in oneworld, or Guangzhou (airport code CAN, for Canton), which is a few hours from Hong Kong by frequent bus and train service. If you must purchase a one-way segment, it would be cheap and easy to China since you'll already have a visa (ask for multi-entry, which is easy to get now) and most flights within China are priced per one-way segment.
     

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