SFO PEK reward with stop over NRT award bookinng on Skyteam or Oneworld

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by MightyTravels, Jul 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MightyTravels

    MightyTravels Silver Member

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    This goes to all experienced award bookers who know all the tricks in the book.

    I'm looking for a business/ first award from US West Coast to China with (at least) one free stop in Japan in October/ November. I'm flexible with dates and routes/ stops.

    So Far I only found the United award which stops in NRT and flies back directly but I could only find Economy awards (60k).

    Any other secret Skyteam or Oneworld Awards? Where should I search besides Expertflyer?
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    SkyTeam has DL service nonstop to NRT from major west coast airports LAX, SFO, PDX, and SEA, where the latter two might be more likely to have award tickets as PDX in particular is always cheaper than other routings whenever I've checked. There's also NRT-PEK DL service once a day with extremely easy and pleasant connections and a PEK-SEA nonstop IIRC. DL allows a stopover or open jaw on award tickets for no additional cost in miles, although their could be additional taxes and airport fees.

    In addition, within SkyTeam, there are KE (Korean) flights through ICN although DL has many blackout dates for award travel on KE. I think your fall dates should be OK with respect to blackout periods; check the Delta website for this or look where it's been discussed in the DL forum on MP. This applies for using DL miles for KE flights; if you use KE or generally other SkyTeam miles, the blackout periods are smaller.

    Other SkyTeam possibilities include CZ (China Southern, mostly through CAN) and MU (China Eastern, mostly through PVG) from LAX. These carriers are reputed to have tight seating in economy (number of coach seats across in wide body aircraft and narrow seats with limited leg room) but I've had good experiences with CZ domestic flights in FC/biz. There are some additional new SkyTeam partners in Asia, but they're not obvious for your itinerary.

    If you're not insisting on travel to NRT, DL has daily service LAX-HND and vv, which has the advantage of being closer to downtown Tokyo than NRT. These flights have tended to be cheaper, which makes me suspect that award availability could be better too.

    There's also DL nonstop service into KIX (Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe) from the USA and DL has connecting flights to other airports in Japan from NRT, in particular NGO. Note that bullet trains can be expensive so that it can be worth some effort to fly into KIX, for example, if you wish to see Kyoto.

    DL tends to make award seats available relatively close to departure and to lower the prices in miles close to departure when the flights have light loads. On SkyTeam, partner award flights (i.e., using DL miles to fly KE or CZ) must be at the low price level in miles, while DL miles for DL flights can price as low, medium, or high and combinations. You should also be able to use DL miles for Alaska flights up and down the west coast for connections since AS is a DL partner even though AS is not in SkyTeam.
     
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  3. MightyTravels

    MightyTravels Silver Member

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    Thanks MSPeconomist for this thorough advice. I installed and used KVSTool - it showed some availability for Delta but not for what I wanted. I called BA and they found a JAL flight which works great and offers a SFO-HND/ NRT-PVG PEK-HND/HND-SFO in business for 100k. Only bitter pill is $650 in fuel surcharges :(
     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    This sounds like a very good redemption to get the dates you want all in business class with both a stopover and an open jaw. Unfortunately BA and JAL are known for high surcharges on award tickets, although I suspect that some Asian airports impose high taxes. (For example, NRT once collected a 3000 yen departure tax which is now included in the ticket prices, almost $40 at current exchange rates if the amount in yen hasn't increased.)
     
  5. JALPak
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    JALPak Gold Member

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    act fast, JAL YQ will go up on Aug 1
     
  6. MightyTravels

    MightyTravels Silver Member

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    yep looking to lock it in before the BA bonus expires too :)
     
  7. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    What BA bonus are you referring to?
     
  8. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    This made me chuckle.

    I cannot think of a connection that was both extremely easy and pleasant. :D
     
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  9. MightyTravels

    MightyTravels Silver Member

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    Hehe the AMEX 50% MR bonus points till 07/31.
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    NW to NW, now DL to DL, at the NRT hub is awfully good. Security is quick and professional and then you hang out in a wonderful lounge with beer machines, food, showers, lots of new PCs, etc. Yeah, it takes some time (although for me, getting a nonstop into MSP and not needing to worry about delays in customs making me miss a connection is almost priceless) and the route from plane to security can be a long walk, but it beats just about any other connection I can think of.
     
  11. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    SEA-ICN on OZ often has seats, if you're looking for something to get over the pond on *A.
     
  12. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Ahh. Gotcha.
     
  13. MightyTravels

    MightyTravels Silver Member

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    Folks, just a quick update. I realized checking availability every day has its benefits :) I'm now holding a reservation SFO-PVG First in United (70kCO miles). HND-SFO on JAL C (50k aa miles) and I'll be buying a Delta Economy ticket for $252 for PEK-NRT. Seems like a goo deal for me (I only need one stop in Japan).
     

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