Stuck with MileagePlus?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Sfmom, Nov 5, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Hello,

    I started this hobby in earnest last summer and a couple of weeks ago booked four business class tickets to Europe for next summer, just before the United devaluation, thank goodness. Thanks everyone helping me get to a great start. Now I am trying to figure out my strategy for 2015.

    Our goal is an annual trip for four in business from SFO to Europe in the summer, generally right after July 4 because of my kids' sports schedules. Given how restricted we are - popular destination, peak season, lots of seats - I am slowly coming to the conclusion I am stuck with United, despite its lousy redemption values, because it seems to have the most seats available. AA is cheaper but racking up points via Chase I seems easier (though the Aadvantage shopping mall has been great lately). I am willing to pay the huge surcharges for BA and Virgin, even, but from what I have read so far their availability isn't great, particularly BA?

    What do you think? Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    "Europe" is a pretty vague destination. Where in Europe do you want to go in 2015?

    Can you rack up enough points with Chase to make up for the big price increase on UA partner metal (since that will probably be where the seat availability will be)? Are you willing to fly coach class rather than business class if necessary?

    I haven't found availability too bad on AA, as Air Berlin and Iberia generally seem to have seats available - but then again, I'm not looking for four tickets. And there's no way to know when/if AA's award chart will change, so that's a risk you have to factor in as well. It's unlikely UA's chart will be changing too much for a while (although there's the risk they'll decide to start adding fuel surcharges).

    I'd say go with what you know (UA), but it's a gamble either way.
     
    traveltoomuch likes this.
  3. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    I have found BA to have great avaiability, also you might consider looking at LAS, and SAN as departures, then get an inexpensive southwest flight to complete your trip
     
    edekba likes this.
  4. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    I'm usually headed towards the Mediterranean but honestly given my parameters just trying to get somewhere on the continent. We have been traveling for three weeks so it's OK if we don't land in an optimal place.

    The only way I can get close to racking up enough points for partner metal for 4 is to go "all in" on United and get its Club card, but I'm reluctant to do that. Otherwise I'm stuck at UA redemption levels (460,000) at best. Would rather shell out the $1,000 to $1,200 in fuel surcharges on Virgin and BA to avoid coach, but may not have that choice. Thanks for the tip on LAS and SAN!
     
  5. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Is being stuck on UA metal really that bad? Their route network is pretty good, and I like the BizFirst seat well enough. It certainly beats the LH and SAS sloped biz seats. I think they clarified that having short-haul flights on other carriers doesn't bump the price, so you can still use LH to connect in europe if needed (though perhaps in the back, but it's not like biz is that much better anyway on LH regional flights). The things I would miss out of SFO are the chance at LH first and the option of using the LH SFO-MUC non-stop. But you're not looking for F redemptions, and UA has plenty of metal flying SFO-FRA (albeit with the UA seat rather than the CO seat).

    The only other thought that occurs is to do some serious mix-and-matching. You may have heard mention of the Aer Lingus BOS-DUB nonstops, available for only 25k Avios RT in coach. With no fuel surcharges. I think their biz seat is an angled thing not worth writing home about, but if you could have that for 50k RT and combine it with other awards or paid tickets SFO-BOS and DUB-?, you could get the long-haul in biz for less than you were looking at before the devaluation.
     
    dstober likes this.
  6. flynow

    flynow Silver Member

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    I was on a flight from IAD to COP with SaS airline this year in Biz . The seat wasn't all that Bad! 50.000 miles oneway.
     
  7. Counsellor
    Original Member

    Counsellor Gold Member

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    American Airlines has a lash-up with Citi for credit cards that is about as good as the Chase Mileage Plus Explorer Card (except that the Chase card has no foreign transaction fees while the Citi AA MasterCard and VISA have a 3% fee on foreign currency transactions). The cards give you priority boarding status and a free checked bag among other perks. And they have pretty good sign-up bonuses, currently about 50,000 miles per card for around a $3K spend.

    Finally you can apply for and earn sign-up bonuses on both the Citi AA VISA and the Citi AA MasterCard (although recently it seems one must wait about 18 months before applying for the other card), so you can effectively get more miles with the two bonuses than with the one offered for the Chase card.

    You can usually find links to these offers posted here on MilePoint or on FlyerTalk.
     
  8. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    US Air goes to Europe, along with many airlines, so no one is stuck with United.
    AA is often hard to find seats, and with all the miles games out here it is no wonder,
    The problem is using miles not getting them, this devaluation may work out great for some of us with many miles,

    I also work the hotel points and they have been devalued, but what good is 100,000 points if you can not find a room to stay in for the night.

    Many time's I moved up front just to get the ride, space was not open in economy.
    AA is even sticking with an overnight layover on many trips.
     

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