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Award Redemption First Class redemption for a party of four?

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Thenewone, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Thenewone

    Thenewone Reader

    Hi there,

    based on your experience, is there any chance to score a first class award redemption on any airline for a party of four (two adults and two children).

    I was thinking e. g. From US West coast to Asia (Alaska Mileage Miles), Asia to Australia (Thai booked with lifemiles), Singapore Airlines from Australia to Singapore or Singapore to Europe (Krisflyer).

    Any other suggestions are appreciated ;-)

    Cheers
    Thenewone
     
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  2. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    Technically, yes there might be a chance but I certainly wouldn't count on it.
     
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  3. Thenewonw

    Thenewonw New Member

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    I had to find out that even in business class Singapore Airlines and Thai only release two seats in advance from South East Asia to Australia :(
     
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  4. lkar

    lkar New Member

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    Since getting into the miles and points game, I've booked a number of premium cabin trips for a family of four. It's a challenge. Mostly Europe, but we've also just booked Australia over Christmas 2018. You have to be flexible and be prepared to book early. I've spent a fair amount of time researching exactly whose calendars open when, which miles work for which carriers, which allow one-way redemptions, which allow changes, etc. You also need to be prepared to spend more than you might otherwise spend if you weren't trying to book for four.

    One issue is that you are very unlikely to be able to book round trips -- for example, if you want to fly USA-BKK-USA for a two week holiday, and exactly four tickets open up a year out for USA-BKK, it's unlikely all four will be there again when your return dates open. So, this is a problem if you want to use miles in programs that only permit round trip partner bookings, or if you think you might want to book something else better later, because you'll generally pay more to redeposit two one ways than you would one round trip. Also, for some great deals -- like distance based programs -- grabbing one-ways can be disadvantageous. And fancy stuff, like stop overs and things, can be difficult. For example, if you want to fly USA-VIE-CPH-USA, maybe you could wait and book through a program that allows free stop overs on round trips. But it's 345 days out and there are exactly 4 partner awards on LAX-VIE using your United miles. What do you do? What I do is grab them, then figure out CPH-USA later, and then probably end up paying cash, or using some other points, to fly VIE-CPH in economy. For four people, this means extra cost and potentially missing out of flying business on the VIE-CPH leg. It also means higher redeposit fees, if you need to change.

    Also, you may end up paying more taxes than you otherwise would, or using less than ideal miles. For example, I recently booked my family in J to Australia on Air Canada. Aeroplan opens up award space 355 days in advance, so I started checking a year in advance, to figure out patterns. What I wanted opened up. Aeroplan charges a fair amount in surcharges for air canada metal, but there were exactly four seats and there was no way I could wait until United opened its calendar. I tried lifemiles but I couldn't get it to book, so I ended up paying the taxes and fees to use Aeroplan. We also end up spending money on redeposit fees -- something that looks ok but not ideal opens and you grab it. But then you wake up one morning a couple of months later to a OMAAT "wide open" post -- a post that says that some new route is wide open -- and that's much better, and so you grab that but then have to pay to redeposit your miles.

    In the end, you also need to be sensitive to whether paying cash is better. The hidden costs of trying to use miles for a family of four can add up.
     
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  5. Mick

    Mick Member

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    Thanks Ikar very helpful! I’m a family of five so even more difficult! I’m looking for j to Australia for 4 of us in December next year. Didn’t think to monitor schedule for when it opens. Do you see that sort of availability on united? Do you have to check in the middle of the night? Thanks!!
     
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  6. lkar

    lkar New Member

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    I'm not so compulsive that I get up in the middle of the night. Can't hurt, I guess. I would only do it if I saw some very predictable trend -- like 4 seats almost always opening at beginning of schedule and never reappearing. I'm not even sure the airlines open their schedules at a set time every day, so you might set your alarm only to be sitting there pressing refresh over and over. At some point, it tends to make more sense to pay cash for some of the tickets or use points that give you 1.5 cents toward a ticket.

    It seems to change and what is a pattern one week is different next month. I'm not much of an expert on United, but from what I've seen, it is more random. You can find stuff opens never, 340 days out, nine months out, and/or 10 days out.

    One thing about booking a year out is to be cognizant of schedule changes. If you are making multiple connections using partner mikes, the program you are booking with may have limited options in getting their partner to rebook you on something that will work. Conversely, though, using (for example) united mikes on united metal a year in advance can be great -- even if the initial routing isn't ideal, they change the schedule so often that you can often get them to open something up at a better time if a schedule change affects you.

    With 5, you might have better luck splitting up, 2 and 3. I remember once several years Air Canada was releasing 3 J seats pretty consistently on a route to London. Maybe YVR, can't remember. And they had two flights that were barely an hour apart, so we booked 2 on 1 and 2 on the other and then all were on the same connecting flight from LHR. (We ended up finding a better option, but you may need to get creative.)
     
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  7. Mick

    Mick Member

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    Superb!!! Thanks so much for all the advice.
     
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