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Award flight to Tbilisi, Georgia

travel193

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Jan 2, 2014
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I recently moved points across from Virgin with the hope of redeeming a return J flight to the country of Georgia.

I recall checking a few months ago and seeing that this was possible with routing MEL > SIN > IST > TBS with the last leg on Turkish. I am struggling to get this to appear on the Singapore Airlines website though and am not having any luck with routing to IST either.

Has something changed?

Should I call Singapore Airlines to redeem?
 

Mr H

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Yes, you will have to call up to make this booking. It will be charged at *A rates. You may get told that the IST-TBS is backtracking. If so, hold your ground and explain that IST-TBS is the shortest *A route to TBS. If necessary, hang up and try again. Check availability of the SQ sectors individually through the SQ website and check TK availability using the NH website (you will have to join the NH scheme to use their tool but this is a painless process).
 

travel193

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Yes, you will have to call up to make this booking. It will be charged at *A rates. You may get told that the IST-TBS is backtracking. If so, hold your ground and explain that IST-TBS is the shortest *A route to TBS. If necessary, hang up and try again. Check availability of the SQ sectors individually through the SQ website and check TK availability using the NH website (you will have to join the NH scheme to use their tool but this is a painless process).

Very helpful. Thanks!
I will give that a shot before the devaluation kicks in.

Still curious how I got it to appear some months ago.
 

travel193

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And if you are doing a *A award in J, you might consider MEL-BKK-IST-TBS in TG and TK.

I just spoke to Singapore Airlines on the phone to make the booking. At first they told me there was no availability, but then I told them the flight numbers I had found and they were able to find it.

We only looked at the outbound leg to start with and he mentioned that it would cost 110,000 miles rather than the 78,000 I expected for Australia to the Zone 10 (Georgia). He mentioned that this was because the last leg was on a Star Alliance partner (Turkish Airlines) and that a different rate is applied. Looking at the Star Alliance award chart for SQ and I see business class for MEL - TBS should cost 145,000 miles return which is even less than the 156,000 miles I expected based on SQ Saver Award chart.

I am very confused now about what the agent on the phone was talking about.
  • Any insights into which chart I should be looking at here and redemption price for MEL - TBS return?
  • Does the mix of Singapore Airlines and Turkish award booking increase the redemption price of the flight?
  • If so, would a return trip to IST on SQ metal make the most sense with ticketed flights for the TBS leg.
Thanks for the insights!
 

Mr H

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Dec 5, 2013
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I just spoke to Singapore Airlines on the phone to make the booking. At first they told me there was no availability, but then I told them the flight numbers I had found and they were able to find it.

We only looked at the outbound leg to start with and he mentioned that it would cost 110,000 miles rather than the 78,000 I expected for Australia to the Zone 10 (Georgia). He mentioned that this was because the last leg was on a Star Alliance partner (Turkish Airlines) and that a different rate is applied. Looking at the Star Alliance award chart for SQ and I see business class for MEL - TBS should cost 145,000 miles return which is even less than the 156,000 miles I expected based on SQ Saver Award chart.

I am very confused now about what the agent on the phone was talking about.
  • Any insights into which chart I should be looking at here and redemption price for MEL - TBS return?
  • Does the mix of Singapore Airlines and Turkish award booking increase the redemption price of the flight?
  • If so, would a return trip to IST on SQ metal make the most sense with ticketed flights for the TBS leg.
Thanks for the insights!
It will be a Star Alliance redemption that should cost 156,000 miles return in J using the chart here: https://www.singaporeair.com/saar5/pdf/ppsclub_krisflyer/charts/StarAlliance_RoundTrip.pdf

You are being quoted for separate tix - one as an SQ saver award MEL-IST (78k one way) plus a Star Alliance award IST-TBS (half of 65k round trip). You should try again, explaining that you want this as a single ticket as a Star Alliance redemption. You may be told that this is backtracking, but there is no other way into TBS with Star Alliance and it should come within their maximum permitted mileage (datapoint - I got MEL-SIN-IST-ASB as a single award). If that doesn't work, hang up and try again. Or ask them what would be a permitted route.
 

travel193

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Jan 2, 2014
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It will be a Star Alliance redemption that should cost 156,000 miles return in J using the chart here: https://www.singaporeair.com/saar5/pdf/ppsclub_krisflyer/charts/StarAlliance_RoundTrip.pdf

You are being quoted for separate tix - one as an SQ saver award MEL-IST (78k one way) plus a Star Alliance award IST-TBS (half of 65k round trip). You should try again, explaining that you want this as a single ticket as a Star Alliance redemption. You may be told that this is backtracking, but there is no other way into TBS with Star Alliance and it should come within their maximum permitted mileage (datapoint - I got MEL-SIN-IST-ASB as a single award). If that doesn't work, hang up and try again. Or ask them what would be a permitted route.

Thanks for clarifying. I called again and was equally unsuccessful. Despite giving all the flight numbers with availability, he said he could not book it as one ticket for me due to "quotas" out of Melbourne. I asked why this is the case when each flight number quoted had award availability in J, but I did not understand what he meant by this quota, although I see there are other threads on that.

I also asked him to check other dates for MEL - TBS but he did not find anything. Has anyone had success booking to a destination like this off the beaten track?

I am thinking of emailing instead because then they have all the flight numbers in writing. Do you think this will be a more successful outcome? Redeeming with SQ is proving a lot more difficult than I had imagined.
 

Mr H

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Thanks for clarifying. I called again and was equally unsuccessful. Despite giving all the flight numbers with availability, he said he could not book it as one ticket for me due to "quotas" out of Melbourne. I asked why this is the case when each flight number quoted had award availability in J, but I did not understand what he meant by this quota, although I see there are other threads on that.

I also asked him to check other dates for MEL - TBS but he did not find anything. Has anyone had success booking to a destination like this off the beaten track?

I am thinking of emailing instead because then they have all the flight numbers in writing. Do you think this will be a more successful outcome? Redeeming with SQ is proving a lot more difficult than I had imagined.
It sounds like the "married Segments" issue that I am separately encountering. This only applies to consecutive SQ sectors. If you would consider other carriers, you could probably find good availability on TG and TK.
 

travel193

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So I have found a good return award from MEL - IST, but the return side is waitlisted. What happens if I book this and the return leg
It sounds like the "married Segments" issue that I am separately encountering. This only applies to consecutive SQ sectors. If you would consider other carriers, you could probably find good availability on TG and TK.

Ah yes. Just saw your question on that in another thread.
Points have already been transferred to SQ, so not sure how easily I can book on TG or TK.

Seems like the best option is to book MEL - IST and purchase the 3rd leg.
 
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Mr H

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It is your call, but it would make me sad if you did that. You have the points and you should be entitled to the best possible outcome. Getting a booking on TG and TK would be no harder than getting SQ and TK on the same booking. It is just a *A booking (you don't need any SQ flight, you just use their points and their booking agents). Arguably the TG J offering is superior to the SQ offering, and TK is pretty good to in long haul. If you only book MEL-IST and then do revenue on IST_TBS you will lose your J luggage allowance, have no lounge in IST (unless you have *A status) and have a cramped but short flight at high $.

You can also book as two singles - so no need to do the same route/carriers each way. If you can get SQ and TK one way, why not do TG and TK the other and get to try out more products? Seriously, if you are not a regular J flyer then this is a rare chance to sample the pointy end - make the most of the opportunity and don't be put off by the hassle of a couple of extra phone calls.
 

travel193

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Jan 2, 2014
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It is your call, but it would make me sad if you did that. You have the points and you should be entitled to the best possible outcome. Getting a booking on TG and TK would be no harder than getting SQ and TK on the same booking. It is just a *A booking (you don't need any SQ flight, you just use their points and their booking agents). Arguably the TG J offering is superior to the SQ offering, and TK is pretty good to in long haul. If you only book MEL-IST and then do revenue on IST_TBS you will lose your J luggage allowance, have no lounge in IST (unless you have *A status) and have a cramped but short flight at high $.

You can also book as two singles - so no need to do the same route/carriers each way. If you can get SQ and TK one way, why not do TG and TK the other and get to try out more products? Seriously, if you are not a regular J flyer then this is a rare chance to sample the pointy end - make the most of the opportunity and don't be put off by the hassle of a couple of extra phone calls.

Good points there! I will find an itinerary with Thai airways and see how I go with booking that.
Agree that it's a shame to miss out on the target redemption and end up paying for a flight I was hoping to redeem.

Tangent
I feel like there needs to be a bit more consumer protection in the whole frequent flyer game. Airlines have the ability to devalue points so easily, while making redemption very difficult. At the same time there is a whole marketing game where they make appear very easy to book. The whole quota system is a prime example of the complexity they throw in to make life hard for the consumer.

I have redeemed many flights with other airlines and understand the airlines position, but the consumer is treated very poorly with the way things are at the moment. Guess it's a balancing act creating both earn and redemption opportunities.
 

travel193

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Jan 2, 2014
Messages
60
Points
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It is your call, but it would make me sad if you did that. You have the points and you should be entitled to the best possible outcome. Getting a booking on TG and TK would be no harder than getting SQ and TK on the same booking. It is just a *A booking (you don't need any SQ flight, you just use their points and their booking agents). Arguably the TG J offering is superior to the SQ offering, and TK is pretty good to in long haul. If you only book MEL-IST and then do revenue on IST_TBS you will lose your J luggage allowance, have no lounge in IST (unless you have *A status) and have a cramped but short flight at high $.

You can also book as two singles - so no need to do the same route/carriers each way. If you can get SQ and TK one way, why not do TG and TK the other and get to try out more products? Seriously, if you are not a regular J flyer then this is a rare chance to sample the pointy end - make the most of the opportunity and don't be put off by the hassle of a couple of extra phone calls.

Success! Third time's a charm.

I called again and went through the usual shenanigans. After providing flight numbers and leaving a day earlier, they were able to get me the flights I wanted on the outbound and waitlisted on the way back.
Outbound MEL - SIN - IST - TBS
Return TBS - MUC - SIN - MEL.

I guess I shouldn't count my chickens given the return is waitlisted and I forgot to ask how many points they were deducting. They seemed keen to get rid of me. But happy to have found availability on the outbound.

Appreciated your help Mr.H! FWIW I looked into the Thai route and had it in mind as a backup.
 

Mr H

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You will have to call them and plead the case that the only way to do MEL-TBS is via IST and therefore it should count as a single *A redemption. Going via MUC is likely to be a stretch too far as there are more direct routes. Having said that, there is a *A route to TBS that is significantly shorter (>10%)...
 

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