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KrisFlyer Star Alliance Round-the-World Award Planning

Samis88

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Feb 17, 2019
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Great discussion and tips. Thank you all.
I booked our first Star Alliance RTW yesterday. (Did a OneWorld RTW business in 2018.) Fortunately transferred enough velocity points in November/December last year before the transfer devaluation so had 480,000 KrisFlyer miles available.No longer need to start in SIN and go Air China to Panama City (PTY) as was really lucky and found business class availability BNE to Vancouver (YVR) with Air Canada AC36 on 11 August 2020 arriving 7am,, only one day earlier than our plan, Then fly to Toronto (YYZ) AC126 which leaves at 22:30 so we can spend the day exploring Vancouver! And fly on from YYZ with Air Canada Rouge to PTY at 8:30 the following morning. Gives us an extra day in Panama City to unwind from any jet lag!

So the rest of the itinerary flies PTY - BOG Stopover - EZE stopover (land sector) GIG-LIS-LYS stopover,LYS-FRS(stopover, land sector), then ATH-IST-SIN-BNE. Charges of almost SGD1,000 each, of which the dreaded fuel surcharge accounted for 50%! Not too bad and cheaper than paying to fly to Singapore and back separately.
Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro has no direct flights with Star Alliance so we are paying separately to fly AEP- IGR (Iguassu Falls) then IGU - GIG. And we are spending time in Europe doing an Albatross land tour and then an Oceania cruise ending in Athens.
So have used up our 7 stopovers and miles at 33,100 are less than the 35,000 limit.

I prepared the trip using the Star Alliance RTW booking tool - just be aware that it does not list every available flight! I gave the reference number to the booking centre but I think they only use it to check routing, stopovers and mileage.
Then the consultant (Mr D....) just wanted the dates, departure and arrival airports and flight numbers. As a retired accountant I had my spreadsheets ready.

Whoops - had not updated my KrisFlyer profile with my wife's details and passport nor my passport details. Consultant hung on the line while I quickly entered them. Trap for first timers!
I was not sure about calling Singapore Airlines on a Sunday but it did not matter to them. Took 2 hours and two calls for our completed itinerary and the e-ticket and receipt arrived in another 2 hours. So I am quite happy with the service.

Others have commented about the dates and availability of reward seats.Quite difficult when travelling in peak seasons and for an extended time. At least I was able to book our flights for August 2020. The return leg from Athens is booked but not the correct dates. I will call them back in about 6 weeks time and change the booking. $US50 each for the date changes is a small price to pay to be able to get the earlier flights.
 

fna

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Oct 12, 2017
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so i've been trying to make this booking work for a week and been on the phone for at least 5 hours and just can't get it going.
MEL-HND/NRT-EWR/JKF/LGA-VIE-DBV-SIN-MEL or the backwards version of this
or MEL-SIN-ATH-VIE-SFO-HND/NRT-MEL and pretty much every combination possible

all combinations work on the star alliance RTW tool, i can see business saver fares on the UA website but SG can't, so they can't complete the booking. the key segments breaking down us NY-TKY or EU to SFO. just nothing works.

almost ready to give up.
 

RooFlyer

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Welcome to AFF @fna .

Hopefully someone here can suggest a way through for you.
 

Samis88

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Feb 17, 2019
Messages
6
so i've been trying to make this booking work for a week and been on the phone for at least 5 hours and just can't get it going.
MEL-HND/NRT-EWR/JKF/LGA-VIE-DBV-SIN-MEL or the backwards version of this
or MEL-SIN-ATH-VIE-SFO-HND/NRT-MEL and pretty much every combination possible

all combinations work on the star alliance RTW tool, i can see business saver fares on the UA website but SG can't, so they can't complete the booking. the key segments breaking down us NY-TKY or EU to SFO. just nothing works.

almost ready to give up.
I had a look at your proposed route using the United airlines site. You say your first leg is from Melbourne to Tokyo. I cannot find a direct flight, just ones going through BKK. Which of course buggers up the requirement to either fly constantly West or East. Have you checked out all flight segments using the Great Circle Mapper first?>
 

Samis88

Newbie
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Feb 17, 2019
Messages
6
In June I booked an itinerary for May next year as follows:
OZ - SYD-ICN-SFO
(ground sector to BOS then New York)
TP - EWR-LIS
SN - LIS-BRU-CPH
SQ - SIN-SYD

$554.70 in SGD for the fees.
As posted above I checked availability in the SQ and United booking tools, and also made use of Expert Flyer to double check (limited as they don't always seem to have the award flights as far out as the SQ site).
Once I had this I simply read out my planned itinerary to the agent on the phone at SQ's call centre. She checked it out and called me back after suggesting i go and make a cup of coffee (I only got half way through it).
Very easy and efficient and is the perfect itinerary for me.
Only downside is seat selection on non-SQ metal is a bit dodgy - I'll ring closer to the date to try to organise with the airlines concerned.
Regards,
Peter
Yes, seat selection with KrisFlyer RTW is more time-consuming than a Qantas One World RTW. With the latter the call centre operator was able to get us seat allocations for all flights on one call.
Not sure why seat selection would be dodgy - I just booked great seats 10 months ahead.
But before you start the seat booking process for non-SQ flights I have discovered you need to call the Singapore call centre and ask for the trip booking codes for the various airlines as they can be different to the one issued by Singapore Airlines. In our case that meant we got separate six digit booking codes for Air Canada, Copa Airlines and Turkish Airlines. Nest step is to enter the booking code into the relevant airline website to see if it will allow seat allocation. Copa Airlines was successful on-line. Air Canada , TAP Portugal and Avianca we had to call the airline AFTER locating a suitable Australian call centre number!
Would be great if there was a list somewhere for Star Alliance carriers seat allocations, indicating if a unique booking code was required, whether allocations could be done on-line or by phone and an Australian contact number where relevant. I ended up calling via the United States to get through to Avianca.
 

fna

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Oct 12, 2017
Messages
9
I had a look at your proposed route using the United airlines site. You say your first leg is from Melbourne to Tokyo. I cannot find a direct flight, just ones going through BKK. Which of course buggers up the requirement to either fly constantly West or East. Have you checked out all flight segments using the Great Circle Mapper first?>
here is the star alliance code: 811b-447a-91cc-035c356b. it goes through singapore to go to tokyo, but as far as i understand that is an acceptable outcome, tokyo is "west" of melbourne anyway, just singapore takes it further west.

it doesn't come up with an error using this route on the website, the ticket comes out to be $16,000. then i went to SIA + UA websites to find all the business saver tickets on each segment, which showed available.

lastly there was one sector which was economy only, i was fine with that as it was a short EU connection, but the SIA rep said all legs must be business saver or it won't work. i wasn't aware of this requirement and makes EU connections even harder, all resources i read didn't note this and still not sure if it's true.
 

Samis88

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Feb 17, 2019
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here is the star alliance code: 811b-447a-91cc-035c356b. it goes through singapore to go to tokyo, but as far as i understand that is an acceptable outcome, tokyo is "west" of melbourne anyway, just singapore takes it further west.

it doesn't come up with an error using this route on the website, the ticket comes out to be $16,000. then i went to SIA + UA websites to find all the business saver tickets on each segment, which showed available.

lastly there was one sector which was economy only, i was fine with that as it was a short EU connection, but the SIA rep said all legs must be business saver or it won't work. i wasn't aware of this requirement and makes EU connections even harder, all resources i read didn't note this and still not sure if it's true.
OK - probably not a good idea to share your itinerary on a public forum as maybe someone can access it and change it? But this Star Alliance tool is for RTW fares, not just a tool for award bookings. And just because it works in this does not mean it complies with the award rules as set out at the beginning of this discussion. That is why you must also use the Great Circle Mapper for directions and mileage. And I have had three different consultants tell me both verbally and in writing that we cannot travel through Singapore twice! Which is why our route goes from BNE to Vancouver to overcome this hassle.
Also of course you can fly economy on one leg (provided it is award economy). I just did this for our segment from Athens to Istanbul! So the SA rep is in error. It is often the luck of the draw in who you get - some are more knowledgeable than others.
 

Mattg

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lastly there was one sector which was economy only, i was fine with that as it was a short EU connection, but the SIA rep said all legs must be business saver or it won't work. i wasn't aware of this requirement and makes EU connections even harder, all resources i read didn't note this and still not sure if it's true.
This is not true. As per section J.2.d of the KrisFlyer terms & conditions (referring to Star Alliance Awards):

If your itinerary includes bookings in different classes of service, the award level corresponding to the highest class will apply for the whole award ticket.
And section J.3.a of the T&Cs states:

Normal Star Alliance Award travel restrictions apply.
 

fna

Newbie
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Oct 12, 2017
Messages
9
OK - probably not a good idea to share your itinerary on a public forum as maybe someone can access it and change it? But this Star Alliance tool is for RTW fares, not just a tool for award bookings. And just because it works in this does not mean it complies with the award rules as set out at the beginning of this discussion. That is why you must also use the Great Circle Mapper for directions and mileage. And I have had three different consultants tell me both verbally and in writing that we cannot travel through Singapore twice! Which is why our route goes from BNE to Vancouver to overcome this hassle.
Also of course you can fly economy on one leg (provided it is award economy). I just did this for our segment from Athens to Istanbul! So the SA rep is in error. It is often the luck of the draw in who you get - some are more knowledgeable than others.
they can change it, i'll just make another. not a problem, i have a number of these codes anyway.

thanks for letting me know about the singapore x2, that's probably why it's falling over. out of all the consultants i've spoken to, not one told me this.

i'll try again next week. whole thing gave me a migraine

This is not true. As per section J.2.d of the KrisFlyer terms & conditions (referring to Star Alliance Awards):
and section J.3.a of the T&Cs states:
yes, that's what i thought, i'm booking J saver all the way through, a Y sector shouldn't matter.
 

Mattg

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yes, that's what i thought, i'm booking J saver all the way through, a Y sector shouldn't matter.
I'd encourage you to read the Star Alliance Award and Star Alliance Round The World rules in full. There's a link to the KrisFlyer T&Cs in post 1 - see Section J.
 

fna

Newbie
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Oct 12, 2017
Messages
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ok. i simplified the itinerary down and seems to work. i realised the biggest mistake was me calling into "SIA redemption" rather than "other airlines redemption", the person i spoke to today knew exactly what i was trying to do.

the biggest issue right now is i used UAs website to find saver fares, but these mean nothing if it's not on SIA's inventory, so he said i shouldn't bother checking UA but only check SIA.

using any of the tools such as expert flyer doesn't really work it seems, it'll show me availability of I class TIX on AC but it won't matter if it's not in SIA inventory? which means i have to ping SIA's website endlessly. is there an easy way to do this?

Others have commented about the dates and availability of reward seats.Quite difficult when travelling in peak seasons and for an extended time. At least I was able to book our flights for August 2020. The return leg from Athens is booked but not the correct dates. I will call them back in about 6 weeks time and change the booking. $US50 each for the date changes is a small price to pay to be able to get the earlier flights.
how did you find the availability of all your sectors? did you manage to find them all on SIA's website?
 
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Mattg

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ok. i simplified the itinerary down and seems to work. i realised the biggest mistake was me calling into "SIA redemption" rather than "other airlines redemption", the person i spoke to today knew exactly what i was trying to do.

the biggest issue right now is i used UAs website to find saver fares, but these mean nothing if it's not on SIA's inventory, so he said i shouldn't bother checking UA but only check SIA.

using any of the tools such as expert flyer doesn't really work it seems, it'll show me availability of I class TIX on AC but it won't matter if it's not in SIA inventory? which means i have to ping SIA's website endlessly. is there an easy way to do this?


how did you find the availability of all your sectors? did you manage to find them all on SIA's website?
The trouble with this advice is that the Singapore Airlines website only shows award availability for the following Star Alliance airlines:

· Aegean
· Air China
· Air New Zealand
· ANA (limited routes only)
· Brussels Airlines
· Croatia Airlines
· Egypt Air
· EVA Air
· LOT Polish Airlines
· Lufthansa
· SAS
· Shenzhen Airlines
· Swiss (except First Class, which is unavailable via KrisFlyer)
· Thai Airways
· Turkish Airlines
· United Airlines

Last time I checked, the Singapore Airlines website does NOT show any award seats on these Star Alliance airlines:

· Air Canada
· Air India
· Asiana
· Austrian
· Avianca
· Copa Airlines
· Ethiopian Airlines
· South African Airways
· TAP Portugal

So if you want to include travel on any of those airlines, you have to search elsewhere. The United website is probably the easiest place to do this, but you can also use the Aeroplan website (which may be slightly more accurate than United at showing partner airline availability). I usually cross-check on both websites before calling KrisFlyer.
 

fna

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Oct 12, 2017
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Well that's the crux of the problem. I checked on UA which showed at least 2 Tix of business saver available on every sector. SiA confirmed the route adhered to the rtw rules but the consultant said he could not see the fares I had found. His only advice was to check what was available on the SIA website. Given that I can't trust the availability of UA website or the comprehensiveness of SIAs website. I'm lost as to how I can actually plan this.
 

fna

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Oct 12, 2017
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so after few more hours of research and few more hours of back and forth from this most excellent SIA consultant, i have managed to book 2xRTW redemption on J.

Route: MEL-exSIN-LAX-exBNA-NYC-ex-FRA-VIE-DBV-exIST-SIN-MEL

few notes:
1. I was allowed to go through Singapore twice, once as a stop over and once as a transit.
2. There were a couple of flights that the SIA consultant found which i could not find at all on UA, CA or SIA websites. feels like i just got extremely lucky
3. the LAX-exBNA-NYC sector is currently on Y, not sure if possible, but if an award saver comes up on this sector would i be able to upgrade by paying only the change fee?
4. overall fee was 500 SGD per PAX, this was mainly due to the consultants ability to find numerous SQ flights which i couldn't.

very happy this is all done and thank you all for your help.
 

Samis88

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Feb 17, 2019
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Well done. I was never able to get SIA to agree to us going through Singapore twice - it is a shame that SIS call centre staff cannot all follow the same rules! With your flight from Los Angeles to New York which I see is going via Nashville, the likelihood of business saver availability with United is rare. There is premium economy on a couple of the direct flights but I guess it depends on your dates of travel. My understanding is that you can upgrade from economy to business if it becomes available for the standard $US 50 per passenger fee if a non-SQ flight.
 

fna

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Thanks samis. Wonder what the degree of change I can put in. Can I simply scrap the transit and sub in a direct SFO to NYC for 50? Guess il find out when it becomes available.
 

Mattg

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Thanks samis. Wonder what the degree of change I can put in. Can I simply scrap the transit and sub in a direct SFO to NYC for 50? Guess il find out when it becomes available.
With this award, you can only make date and airline/flight number changes. The actual routing cannot be changed. Also note that any changes must be made before the first flight is taken.
 

fna

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thanks Matt, i'll keep an eye out for SFO-BNA-JFK upgrade availability on UA.
 

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