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Award Redemption Travel Advice?

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Babydoc, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    First of all a big and sincere thank you to @Lucky @Tiffany and the many regular contributors such as @Gaurav @No Name @David W @PhatMiles just to name a few. I have gone from a blog lurker and dabbler in points and miles to a hobbyist with a passion for aspirational travel, thanks to the inspiration and knowledge acquired here. As a guy over 60 but still working a job that doesn't involve travel, I only get to vacation about 6 weeks a year. Not complaining, but I definitely want to make the most of it. My wife and I have been to a lot of great places around the world and don't particularly skimp on our land and sea travel, but could (and would) never pay out of pocket for the kind of air travel that we aspire to, especially after reading the many great articles on this blog.

    As a result we have a great trip planned next month that involves R/T SQ F double bed A-380 suites JFK-FRA-SIN (please forgive me for having mentioned this in at least one other post-I'm still pinching myself that it's real:)), a cruise to Phuket, Maylasia and Indonesia, and a week hopscotching around Austrailia on QF. Like most of you, we believe getting there is an integral (and a most enjoyable) part of the journey.

    To jump ahead, I transferred MR and TYP to KF last night to see if I could snag 2 F suites JFK-FRA-SIN on Valentine's Day 2017 that I saw were available. I transferred enough MR for this, but was also eyeing changing it up a little and extending to Mumbai on the A-380, for relatively few additional miles (especially with the online discount), but the TYP that I would have needed to cover the extra KF miles to cover this didn't reach the KF account as fast as the MR points, so I grabbed the JFK-FRA-SIN part so as not to lose it, which I am sure would have happened had I delayed.

    So, with apologies for the preamble, I am hoping some of you world travelers will have some suggestions about destinations and also nice ways of getting home such as CX F or J, or what have you. We don't have any reason to stay in SIN and have been to many of the major Asian cities. We haven't been to Angkor Wat or any of India. We're saving South Africa/safaris/Emirates for September 2017 as I've read that that's a great month for seeing the most game and we don't care that it's cool then. We don't do beach vacations but like to be active and keep on the move, not to mention eat and drink.:)

    We have 2 or 3 weeks we could be away and about 200K AA, 200K SPG, 200K AS, 100K TYP, 50K MR, 40K UR. I would be most grateful for your ideas...
     
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  2. No Name

    No Name Well-Known Member

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    @Babydoc.

    "We don't do beach vacations"

    Well I guess the Maldives are out then. :D

    Since I'm a beach guy at heart I'm not sure how good advise I will be able to give.

    As an aviation geek at heart I would probably have made a beeline to the KLM 5 freedom flight to Bali should I find my self in SIN without a clue of where to go or do.

    Bali is very much about relaxation for me, don't think I have your energy.

    Perhaps someone else can chime in about a more active holiday in Bali?

    Angkor Wat would be nice.
    SQ regional Silkair flies from SIN, Cathay regional Dragonair flies from HKG so possible to make it the last stop on the way home?

    There is also the temples in Yogyakarta if you want historical monuments
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogyakarta
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prambanan
    Direct flights from SIN or Bali. For hotels you have a Hyatt Regency (which looks very nice), Melia, M Gallery from Accor, plus various independent options

    I would have to think about it before I could give you anything more detailed when it comes to ideas.

    Perhaps @MidSouth Skier has some ideas?
     
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  3. No Name

    No Name Well-Known Member

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    First thing that comes to mind is that it might be possible to burn some of those AA miles you have before devaluation for your return flight.

    Since AA award tickets are valid 1 year from the date of issue, you could make a booking for your trip home before March 22 and than change it to the date you want when award space for early March 2017 open up next month.
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/01/07/american-airlines-award-changes-2016/

    Just be very sure that you don't break this rule:
    "We have advised our agents that voluntary changes to date/time only will be permitted without forcing new higher/lower award levels, and we’ll have more information once the new award levels are applicable. This means the origin and destination need to remain the same"
     
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    Babydoc likes this.
  4. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    Thanks No Name for your ideas. Really appreciate the time you spent. Will look into the temples and definitely agree that using the AA miles makes sense, probably will look into BKK-HKG stopover-JFK before devaluation. Do you think I can add a segment on SQ beyond SIN to the original ticket originating in JFK or would that require having to cancel the original ticket and then roll the dice hoping to regrab it as part of a new ticket that includes the added segment to be it Bali or BKK or somewhere else that SQ goes?
     
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  5. No Name

    No Name Well-Known Member

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    @Still looking at SQ, unlike Tiffany or Lucky I don't remember the rules or all FF programs in my head.

    Silly question, but have you tried just calling SQ and asking if you can add a segment?

    What I do remember is that AA don't allow stopovers, while Alaska does.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  6. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    Was on hold for a long time, will try again...
     
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  7. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

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    Ooops, sorry! You can definitely add a segment to an SQ award, not a problem as long as space is available at the same level, you just pay the change fee.
     
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  8. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    Great! Thanks.
     
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  9. No Name

    No Name Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought about getting home from India, on the AA charts Sri Lanka is considered Asia 2 rather than India/Middle east which means you can start an Oneworld award from there on either Cathay, Malaysian or Sri Lankan.

    Paid flight or using Avios should get you to CMB easily from BOM

    But as I said above AA don't allow stopovers, only layovers of max 24H.

    If you decide to use Alaska miles instead to get a stopover keep in mind that they can't book Dragonair flights, while AA or other Oneworld programs can. You would need to keep it strictly Cathay flights.

    If you still want to visit Angkor Wat that would be 35K Krisflyer miles before online discounts for India-SIN-Cambodia.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  10. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    That is great advice. I am weighing the options so I'll be ready to act before the devaluation.
     
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  11. PhatMiles

    PhatMiles Active Member

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    How far do you want to venture out of SIN?
    India is a great destination to hop from SIN. BOM/DEL/BLR/HYD are only 3 hours away. Based on what you want to do, there will be a ton of stuff to do in India.
    On the other way you can go to BKK or SGN and do more things as well. BKK has beach and non beach activity.
    @Tiffany had some good write up on places in/around Bangkok
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/01/20/exploring-kanchanaburi/
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/01/18/review-bangkok-food-tours/

    I heard nothing but great things about the Tiger Temple in Thailand. While it is a different experience, it is not for everyone in my opinion. May be try that?

    If not BKK, venture in to SGN. Any of these destinations do not take you far away from the US. If you don't mind going far away, how about Australia?

    I personally would stick to India Thailand and around (3-4 hr flights) that gets me in to the US easily. Low cost airlines in Asia are a good way to hop but sometimes the costs add up with bags, food, seat assignment, etc

    Last but not least, I am jealous that you have 6 weeks of vacation time. :)
     
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  12. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    Hi Phat, I was hoping you'd "weigh" in :). Those are great ideas about India and the tiger temple also. We've been to SGN and are doing a week in AUS in May, but might want to get to HAN on this trip next year. Will definely see about putting together India and Southeast Asia with a great flight back home using an AA predevaluation award. Thanks!
     
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  13. PhatMiles

    PhatMiles Active Member

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    Depending on where in India you want to go, I may be able to suggest something. Also how long you want to stay in those places.
     
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  14. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    @Tiffany Just spoke to SQ agent. Unfortunately, he says there needs to be availability at the saver level for the whole new itinerary in order to be able to add a segment for the difference in the JFK- SIN fare and the JFK-SIN-XXX fare. The irony is that the reason there's no availability in the new itinerary is because I already have the 2 F saver suites on the JFK-SIN flight! If I were to let them go and then try to rebook the new itinerary I would lose the seats to somebody on the waiting list for the JFK-SIN. It seems my only option if I want to go beyond SIN with SQ would be to pay the higher price of a separate award.

    Is that your understanding?
     
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  15. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    Maybe try calling again and speak to a new agent? It's possible the agent could have it wrong.
     
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  16. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

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    Yeah, don't cancel and rebook! If you're not changing zones, there shouldn't be additional miles required.

    We do this a lot, because SIN-DPS (which is such a popular destination), is almost always only available in Economy. So we book the long segments online, then call to add the short one. It does sometimes take a couple of agents, like with everything.
     
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  17. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    Success! Added SIN-HKG F suites for only 10,625 KF miles pp (they gave me the online discount) and no additional taxes. Thanks for your advice on this!
    Unfortunately, I learned about this too late to help with my SQ JFK bound trip from BNE in May. I booked separate awards for BNE-SIN business and SIN-JFK F when there was saver space on the BNE-SIN segment, but now there isn't any saver space on that segment so I can't combine the awards for the mileage savings that I would have gotten if I had known to do this earlier. Oh well, always learning. ;)
     
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  18. snic

    snic New Member

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    So, to clarify here:

    Tiffany says "we book the long segments online, then call to add the short one". Does that apply to destinations that are farther away from SIN than DPS? Specifically, I'd like to book JFK-FRA-SIN-stopover-<india>. So I'd be interested in grabbing the JFK-FRA-SIN legs as soon as they appear in the schedule, then adding the India leg a couple of days later. It sounds like this should be doable, but that some agents will insist that award space must be available for the entire itinerary including the already-booked segments. Sound accurate?

    I know Babydoc reported success with this strategy to HKG, but I'm specifically asking whether this strategy routinely works for Tiffany when she books longer extensions for clients - and how many agents she has to go through to get one who will do it!
     
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  19. Babydoc

    Babydoc Member

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    @Tiffany will weigh in I'm sure but the Brisbane-Singapore segment is an eight hour flight and according to the agent I spoke to it would have been combinable had it still been available at the saver rate even though it was long after the SIN-FRA-JFK was available at the saver rate.
     
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  20. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

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    @Babydoc has it right!

    That being said, JFK-FRA-SIN (stopover) India might be backtracking? I would try to price something available today (even in economy) to see, because I'm not 100% sure.
     
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