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Flying from MEL to NYC in my situation...

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ronlee

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Hi - planning on moving to US soon and will be booking a flight shortly for MEL - LAX - NYC via Qantas (any other recommendations for business class? i.e., Cathay Pacific)

Looking for the following:

1. Upgrade to business class using QFF points - possible for Cathay Pacific?
2. Stop-over in LA
3. Next leg to NYC will probably be cattle class
4. Need to compare the price of 'direct flight' and 'stopover' - Essentially my company will only cover a direct flight, however, if I can evidence that it would be cheaper or the same cost, then I can get it approved. Otherwise only the flight to LA would be covered.

Any recommendations or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Ron
 
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Mattg

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Hi Ron, what dates are you looking to travel?

As I understand it, your employer is prepared to pay for your flight to New York or LA (depending on fare difference) in economy only, and you are hoping to upgrade at least the leg to LA to business using your Qantas points. Is that correct? May I ask how many QFF points you have?
 
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ronlee

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Thanks Matt

I have 120k+ QFF points.

The employer has pre-approved a "direct" flight from Melbourne to NYC (via LAX).
I want to stop at LAX for a week, then continue my leg to NYC.

So I believe a flex ticket will allow for the stopover at no extra cost.

However, if I don't buy a flex ticket and I have to compare a sale ticket of MEL-LAX-NYC then I will need to break the flight down myself into MEL-LAX and LAX-NYC.
If I have to break it down, I will need it to be either the same cost or cheaper (else I'd have to cover the difference) .

On-top of all that, I'd like upgrade my flight from MEL-LAX to Business.
 

Mattg

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Hi Ron,

Again, what dates are you looking at? (Even a month would be helpful.)

I had a look at a few random dates in September but note that prices will vary at different times throughout the year.

If you wish to upgrade using Qantas points, you will have to fly Qantas and on QF flight numbers, so that rules out CX or any other airlines.

So, my suggestion is this:

Do a multi-city booking, flying the first leg MEL-LAX on QF93, then the next leg a week later on QF107 from LAX to JFK. For the dates I'm looking at, a "saver" fare is cheapest at around $1300 - $1400. For your purposes, a saver fare should be sufficient (i.e. there's little point paying an extra $700-800 for the "flex" fare). To get the saver fare, make sure you select "best price" rather than "more flexible" when doing the booking using the multi-city tool.

As far as I can see, there is no extra cost involved in stopping over in LAX, even on a saver fare as you are allowed one free stopover in LAX (or SYD, BNE or DFW) on MEL-JFK according to the fare rules.

It also appears that the saver fare is upgradable using points. For MEL-LAX you'd be looking at 72,000 points to upgrade to business class, or 45,000 to upgrade to premium economy. I would personally then just fly the shorter LAX-JFK leg in economy, but if you wanted, that leg can be upgraded to business for 24,000 points or to premium economy for 15,000.

Note that upgrade requests don't always go through, but your chances will be better on days where the business cabin is less full. Generally speaking, flights are less full on a Tuesday or Wednesday but without knowing exact dates I can't really help much more with that.

Oh, and please check the fare rules before booking to make sure the flight is upgradable using points!

I hope that covers everything, let me know if you have any more questions.

Cheers,
Matt
 

ronlee

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Matt - you're a champ, thanks so much for your help. (and sorry for not seeing your question about the dates). so far the tentative date is the 22nd of Sept (Mon.) but would be willing to change that up if required.

Will keep you guys in the loop as to what I've selected. I actually did a quick search using the multiple routes option and it was certainly cheaper than a Flex ticket of $2100 one-way.

I'm thinking would it be easier to upgrade to business class using a flex ticket?
 

Mattg

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Matt - you're a champ, thanks so much for your help. (and sorry for not seeing your question about the dates). so far the tentative date is the 22nd of Sept (Mon.) but would be willing to change that up if required.

Will keep you guys in the loop as to what I've selected. I actually did a quick search using the multiple routes option and it was certainly cheaper than a Flex ticket of $2100 one-way.

I'm thinking would it be easier to upgrade to business class using a flex ticket?
It turns out the dates I was searching for weren't that far off after all! I'd say the 23rd or 24th of September would be the best day for the MEL-LAX flight, firstly because they are both cheaper than Monday's flight, and as they are a Tuesday & Wednesday respectively you should be (hopefully!) more likely to get your points upgrade approved.

In my opinion there is little point in buying the more expensive flex ticket. Only two options are available for economy - saver and flex, and according to the fare conditions both are considered "Economy" when it comes to points upgrades, so no real difference, either in points cost or in the chance that you will be upgraded. As far as I'm aware, upgrades are allocated according to frequent flyer status.
 

Nizar

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Sorry to hijack the thread but Mattg would you be able to advise on what days the cabin is usually less full going in the opposite direction ie. LAX-MEL ? Thanks
 

Mattg

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Sorry to hijack the thread but Mattg would you be able to advise on what days the cabin is usually less full going in the opposite direction ie. LAX-MEL ? Thanks
As a general rule, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are less full on any route as the least amount of people need to fly. The US-Aus routes are a bit unique in that the flights arrive two days after they leave, but this usually still works (Mondays departures are also a bit quieter). And Friday & Saturday departures are almost always more heavily loaded.
 

ronlee

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Thanks Mattg - I'm thinking I will book my flight whilst in my Silver QFF status and apply for an upgrade on the Flex ticket for a Tuesday flight over on Sep 23rd. (my Silver status is up for review on 31st August)

This will give me the best chance of getting a business class upgrade.

Thoughts?
 

ozbeachbabe

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Thanks Mattg - I'm thinking I will book my flight whilst in my Silver QFF status and apply for an upgrade on the Flex ticket for a Tuesday flight over on Sep 23rd. (my Silver status is up for review on 31st August)

This will give me the best chance of getting a business class upgrade.

Thoughts?
Is that school holidays?
 

Mattg

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Thanks Mattg - I'm thinking I will book my flight whilst in my Silver QFF status and apply for an upgrade on the Flex ticket for a Tuesday flight over on Sep 23rd. (my Silver status is up for review on 31st August)

This will give me the best chance of getting a business class upgrade.

Thoughts?
To be honest, unless your employer is paying I don't think it would make a difference re. upgrade chances if you got a flex ticket. The saver ticket is also upgradable (and cheaper) and both are considered "economy" under the fare rules. The way upgrades are prioritised is by status, rather than fare type in this case.

Are you requalifying for silver status?

As the OP pointed out (and I didn't realise before) it is school holidays, so that could mean the flights are a bit fuller. But it's worth giving it a go anyway, and make sure you select premium economy as a fallback option. It's not a bad fallback option. I don't think there's much more you can really do to improve your chances. I hope it comes through for you!
 

Deborah66

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HI there,
Don't want to disturb your train of thought, but have you thought about going to LAX via Fiji? The flights are cheaper by far, codeshare with Qantas and business class is almost always empty at the moment so an upgrade is almost always a possibility.
 

Ansett

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HI there,
Don't want to disturb your train of thought, but have you thought about going to LAX via Fiji? The flights are cheaper by far, codeshare with Qantas and business class is almost always empty at the moment so an upgrade is almost always a possibility.
Great thought however to get the upgrade it needs to be on QF Metal and that is not possible on that route :)
 

ronlee

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Yeh - The employer will only pay for a direct route and the most direct route I know is MEL-LAX-JFK.

Can anyone enlighten me on how stopovers work. Right now I've been approved for a direct flight from MEL-LAX-JFK (all within 24 hours) and getting into JFK the "next" day after flying. So the question is... can I book a flex flight MEL-LAX-JFK (as approved) then proceed to change the leg from LAX-JFK to another day?

From my research the only thing I'll have to pay is the difference?
 

Mattg

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Yeh - The employer will only pay for a direct route and the most direct route I know is MEL-LAX-JFK.

Can anyone enlighten me on how stopovers work. Right now I've been approved for a direct flight from MEL-LAX-JFK (all within 24 hours) and getting into JFK the "next" day after flying. So the question is... can I book a flex flight MEL-LAX-JFK (as approved) then proceed to change the leg from LAX-JFK to another day?

From my research the only thing I'll have to pay is the difference?
I believe that's correct. You should be able to change a "flex" fare for only the cost of the fare difference. In your example, I don't think changing the date of LAX-JFK will affect the fare as it seems to be the same price most days anyway, other than that you may have to pay a few extra taxes because you would then be stopping in LAX for over 24 hours, turning it from a "transfer" (where you don't have to pay all the LAX taxes) to a "stopover" (where you do). And if you need to use the call centre there would be an $80 fee. But certainly, it's a viable option.
 

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