Best deal on Premium Economy to LAX

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theevilmuppet

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Jan 11, 2015
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Hi all,

I'm currently a Velocity Platinum member and have to earn about 690 Status Credits to retain status by mid-May 2016.

My next international trip will be to the US, with the domestic path being LAX-LAS-ORD-CLE-MCO-LAX on Delta or Virgin America in First.

To maximise my earn I'm looking to get from MEL to LAX via either Virgin Australia or Air New Zealand in Premium Economy to get 75% of the Status Credits. The benefit of going with VA is the ability to upgrade, however NZ have a very decent Premium Economy offering.

The basis for the question is the seemingly massive variability in pricing for both carriers. For the same dates I've seen both VA and NZ go from ~$1000 each way to ~$2300 each way in the space of a week. Do any members have any advice, rules of thumb or general tips for securing the best value on these sectors?
 

quokka77

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Feb 21, 2013
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Watch the Happy Hour sales on Thursday for VA metal deals out of SYD and BNE. Not sure they offer the same rates out of MEL or what class the domestic leg would be on. In that case you may need to book a saver to start the journey. ANZ do regular mail outs of their trans pac specials. Subscribe to their newsletter. Allendale you can do a fare alert through Kayak but I haven't found this to be super reliable for premium economy (as passed to economy or business, where it is much more reliable).
 

quokka77

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To upgrade the VA legs there needs to be business saver award availability when you search via the Velocity website. And 45k points each way of course.
 
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NZ have very good PE facing the window herringbone style seating systems on their 777.
Also you do earn at PE rates for VA SCs.
Transitting AKL is easy. Esp if not living in SYD, going dom to int there no fun.
Would definitely go NZ if I had to do trans pac.
No bonus Velocity FF points for being a VA WP flyer though.
 

jpk

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Jun 18, 2006
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I'm thinking the same questions for next year... SYD/BNE-LAX has regular specials around the 2200 mark in PE which is amazing. But now the MEL-LAX flight is gone, MEL doesn't get any specials there at all, they didn't just pull the flight, they pulled out of the transpac market for MEL entirely. The connections to the BNE & SYD flights are horrendous and costly, and if you book it as a separate PNR VA still can't through check you so there's an element of risk there. You could fly up the night before but then you have to add a hotel & taxis into the cost.

Seriously considering doing NZ PE next year - you can get it at a good price, the product is good, and the connections are ok. If you're going onwards from the US port of entry though the routes offered are often a bit crazy.
 
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Was on ipod above, but in the VA MEL lounge now.
The main point too to consider, coming back from the US to AU, is on return, if you don't live in SYD/BNE, sometimes the connection time from SYD/MEL to your home city can be very short.
Not so bad if you come back with NZ into MEL, where the int and dom terminals are linked, and you can easily walk between them, this is the good thing about flying US to NZ and then transit there, then AKL - MEL on the 777 or afternoon 320.
 

quokka77

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If you have VA gold or platinum you can book a longer connection on the way home, and rely on"fly ahead" to pick up an earlier flight out of BNE or SYD if you are running on time.
 

theevilmuppet

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Jan 11, 2015
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If you have VA gold or platinum you can book a longer connection on the way home, and rely on"fly ahead" to pick up an earlier flight out of BNE or SYD if you are running on time.

Obviously I'm a Velocity Gold or higher member - otherwise I wouldn't be able to upgrade with points. :)
 

Teal747

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Aug 30, 2013
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What is it like flying virgin PE? I have seen it advertised at about $2200 to lax but generally I airnz is cheaper at $1200 plus $440 to upgrade to PE
Is it worth paying the extra to fly virgin?
Upgrading a virgin economy to PE does not seem as easy as upgrading a airnz flight ?
 

quokka77

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Hi EM, I know you have platinum (you mentioned you wanted the SC to requalify in your first post) but I meant "you" in the generic sense (if one is a gold or platinum member etc). Anyhow, I agree the loss of the MEL-LAX flights is a bit inconvenient for many. Personally I would take VA if I could find it at the discount rate, and there was upgrade space at time of booking. If not, i might be inclined to try the ANZ PE seat (for the fun of it). You have a bit of time to sort it out, and keep watching the fares from both carriers, they will almost certainly come on special again.
 

Teal747

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Yeah flight centre has a USA expo this month . hopefully some more $879 specials to lax
 

Caversham04

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Not sure they offer the same rates out of MEL or what class the domestic leg would be on.

I paid for ADL-xSYD-LAX in PE a couple of years ago. The ADL-SYD leg turned out to be Flexi Economy, at which point I used one of my WP upgrades to fly Business for this leg on the basis that although I was perfectly happy with Row 3, I don't normally book Flexi fares so I might as well use one of my WP upgrades while I could........

I would assume that the same rules of Domestic Flexi Economy would still apply for trans-Pacific PE booked ex-MEL.
 

Steve Dyer

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Aug 3, 2012
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82
Howdy

I an a WP with VA and I have had this choice a few times heading over the Pacific. I am based in BNE. I regularly fly to SFO via LAX with VA and my business typically only flies us PE and only a few months out. I have been lucky probably 40% of the time to book days with a J upgrade.

However, for the first time i booked AIR NZ to get to the US and I would do it again. I booked a works fare BNE to AKL with AIRNZ and was able to choose a PE seat on the 777 (yes this perc has ended) i was then on the outer of the two window seats on the Space seat and found them hands down better then the VA PE product.

The return i had a 777-200 from AIRNZ I did a one up upgrade bid and got SFO to AKL in J for $685. I dd this only because the flight was a older style 777-200 and the PE was ordinary. Although I think the AKL to LAX is always a 300ER. The Business Premier was excellent - food was brilliant. Seat was on par with with the VA J product.

Landed back in AKL and had a shower and jumped on a 777-300 back to BNE. All in all a much better experience than VA. They recognised me as a VA WP better than VA them selves do

I got 30 SC each way between BNE and AKL and 120 each way between AKL and SFO - a great earner.... yes you don't get the points bonus or counting as a requal sector, but the journey was far better and food was sensational.
 

AviationNZ

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Jul 23, 2007
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I booked a works fare BNE to AKL with AIRNZ and was able to choose a PE seat on the 777 (yes this perc has ended) i was then on the outer of the two window seats on the Space seat and found them hands down better then the VA PE product.

Air NZ now sell PE on the Tasman sector which kicks in for travel from 25 October, so now if you book a PE fare ex AU to North or South America, you'll get PE the entire journey when a 772, 773 or 789 operates on the Tasman.

I dd this only because the flight was a older style 777-200 and the PE was ordinary. Although I think the AKL to LAX is always a 300ER.

AKL-LAX and AKL-SFO is pretty much all 773 other than the one or two flights a week and the 772 refit program will be completed by October/November.
 
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