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Help sought re timing of QF award flights!

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by icarus, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. icarus

    icarus Member

    Feb 15, 2005
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    I've learned a heap on these boards and I'm now hoping that one of you experts can give me some advice on something that's probably perfectly straightforward for the more experienced.

    I want to book an award flight CBR - SFO (or LAX if necessary), return, for late Sept 06, returning early Oct 06. I know that business class flights are greatly in demand (esp from CBR, as most connecting flights are economy. If I book the connecting flight separately, though, I burn more points).

    When I've booked award flights before, they've been in economy, and I've been able to wait until the return flights were available before booking.

    This time, though, I'm wondering whether I should book one way as soon as the flight becomes available, and then hope I'm able to get a suitable flight back, or is it better to wait for the return leg to become available as well so they are both on the same itinerary?

    I know this is probably kindergarten stuff but for some reason it has me in knots. So would greatly appreciate any help from wiser heads out there.
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    thanks!
     
  2. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    You can book the flight in business class SYD-LAX/SFO and the connection from CBR-SYD in either economy or business class. The points calculation will be as for business class all the way.

    You may be able to book it as one-way for now, and then when the return flight opens up, if the ticket has not yet been issued then you can just change it to include the return. But if the ticket has been issued you can then either book a new award ticket for the one-way return, or pay the change fee (5,000 points) to have the itinerary changed to include the return flight.

    Now that award bookings are one-way flights, you get some more flexibility around how to do this - just one of the enhancements to the program earlier in the year :) .
     


  3. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    1,248
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    Sydney
    I booked an award QF flight Sydney to San Francisco and will book the return flight when the 355 days advance booking date arrives next week. The reason being that I notice business class award seats on this route fill quickly with the new SYD-SFO flights from early 2006, especially when the flights are only Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Friday and Sunday are the busiest dates booked in business class for this route. As my outbound award flight is confirmed I also have my seat allocation.

    From reading this forum I am aware that NM has lots more experience than myself, but I can't seen any benefit, after booking outwards flights, by joining the return flight. Just use the two one way bookings. If you don't have business to do in LAX I can't see any point flying there as SFO is much better.

    Also, I can't see the benefit of using 30,000 plus points to fly Business class for a 50 min trip from CBR-SYD when you could probably pick up a return ticket for about $200 (not business class). Just an option.
     
  4. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    There is not much benefit at all. The PNRs can be linked even if they are different tickets. The only benefit in linking is so that the QF check-in agent can see that you have a valid return/onward flight booked. If they can't see it, you will have to show proof of return/onward journey before Qantas will accept you for travel to the USA. It is a condition of entry that you have onward bookings so they have some certainty that you plan to leave within your Visa (or Visa Waiver Program) validity.
    If booked as CBR-SYD-LAX, without a stopover in SYD, the points cost is exactly the same as an award just for SYD-LAX (96,000 each way). So you get the CBR-SYD sector for free, even if you end up on a Dash 8 in economy.

    And the taxes may be less since SYD is only a transit in that case. If booked as two flights, the taxes will be calculated as two separate one-way flights. Note if buying a separate paid ticket for the CBR-SYD, make sure it is linked to the award SYD-LAX/SFO flight by Qantas reservations, of if you miss-connect due to a late arrival into SYD from CBR you may have some issues with missing your award flight.
     
  5. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
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    Just like I said, NM has more experience in these matters as do the majority of other people who provide their assistance.
     


  6. icarus

    icarus Member

    Feb 15, 2005
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    Many, MANY thanks for your responses! NM, it sounds to me like you're suggesting that I should book one-way as soon as the flights open up, and not wait for the return flight to open up as well?

    Thanks also for the tip about linking tickets; I hadn't thought of the visa waiver issue, so that's very valuable info. I think I should be able to avoid the 5000 point change fee, because although I'm only a measly silver status (I miss my gold!), last time I changed an award fare I was told that silver status was enough to avoid the penalty.

    Maca44, thanks also for your advice. I didn't want to book the CBR-SYD connecting flight separately because, as NM points out, if I book the flight as from CBR to SFO (via SYD) then the CBR - SYD leg is effectively thrown in gratis.

    Couldn't agree more about preferring SFO to LAX! These days I only ever go to LAX to transit somewhere else, whereas I love SFO and if I can travel straight there will spend a few days before heading off to Madison.

    But now you both have me worried about a separate thing - NM, you mentioned tickets being "issued" and on another thread someone referred to hard copy tickets for award flights being posted. I booked another award flight CBR- LAX for next April, a couple of months ago, and haven't received anything except the electronic confirmation. Should I be worried? And what's meant by the ticket being "issued" - is that something more than confirmation?

    Sorry to be such an ignoramus!
     
  7. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
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    Icarus,
    If you go to the QF website, pull up details of your award bookings it should show whether it is an Electronic ticket or not, and although more experienced people will correct me if I am wrong, I have little doubt that it won't be an electronic ticket and you only have to show photo id etc.
     
  8. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    That is what I would be doing ... but I have not booked any awards since the new one-way awards came into play.
    There are two types of changes ... those that require the ticket to be re-issued (which cost 5000 points are are not waived even for Plat members) and those that don't require a re-issue (and incur a 2500 point revalidation fee which is often waived).

    A re-issue is required if you change the routing. A revalidation is required if you maintain the same routing and just change the date/time of the flight. So adding an additional sector (the return) is a change to the routing and hence a re-issue and hence a 5000 point fee will be charged.
    All tickets must be issued before you can travel, but the issued ticket may be paper or electronic. In most cases, award tickets will be issued as electronic tickets. It is the process of issuing the ticket that triggers the payment, whether in hard currency or FF points. So you will know when the ticket has been issued by watching when the points are removed from your FF account.

    You can make as many changes to the routing as you like until the ticket is issued. However, QF will want to issue the ticket as soon as possible after the reservation is made. They used to allow the booking to sit in an un-issued state for a long time, only issuing the ticket a week or so before travel. But now they seem to want to issue it pretty much immediately. They, may allow you to delay the issue by a few days, but not much more these days.
     
  9. icarus

    icarus Member

    Feb 15, 2005
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    NM, you are a god, and I can but worship at your feet.
     
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