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Last minute points trip to London

andye

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I'd known about my Medical School 25th Reunion for about 6 months. However,leave, on-call commitments and maybe a bit of reunion anxiety made me say no to the invitation.
Still it was nagging away at me, all those old friends (almost all lost to follow up), memories of life age 18-24 and the general fear of missing out.
So on Monday I finally started checking out feasibility. As a start there were 2 MXP-HKG J fares available-maybe it was possible?
 
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andye

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Planning the outbound

It's a general rule of thumb that if you want to travel in style on points then you need to book 350+ days ahead. So I was under the pump. For such a short stay travelling in Y was possible but very undesirable and I can't justify paying $7k+ for a day trip. Nevertheless sometimes award seats do come up at short notice.
I had a good stash of Asia Miles (with 99k due to expire this year), & VFF, some BA, Alaska & QF and a pile of Amex MR points. Flexibility is very helpful in this situation-at least I had this in points currency if not dates

I did ask mrsandye if she was able to join me. Unfortunately she couldn't get out of work. I'd have loved her to come and we work best as a team but the plus side is finding seats should work out easier.

I'm sure the afficianados will tell me I should have jumped to awardnexus and expertflyer but for reasons I still don't understand I didn't

My major resources were asiamiles.com and united.com. I went to krisflyer too but I found it less comprehensive than united for star alliance routings

Given the expiry I would have preferred to use my Asia Miles but despite putting in every option from East Coast to HKG and HKG to LHR/LGW/AMS/MXP/FCO//MAD/FRA nothing worked. A Friday at the start of a school holiday is a tough ask.

Howver United.com came up with a viable option: Thai to FRA via BKK in J.
But would I miss it in the Amex transfer time? I felt I couldn't risk it. It wasn't visible on Krisflyer so I rang up and asked them to confirm. Once confirmed available I transferred VFF TO KF-not the best exchange rate now but has the benefit of being instant. Only $88 taxes was great.

Now to get from FRA to London. I was put out to see a cash fare was $400+. No availability on BA which with reward flight saver is usually a good option. I ended up using 8k United miles (already in account) +~$200 for an LH Y flight. The connection means I have no choice but Hand Luggage Only (even with a UK passport.

Ps: Thanks to Dr Y for swopping my oncall from Thursday to Wednesday
 
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andye

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Planning the return

A similar procedure

On Wednesday night my plan (via united.com) was either FRA/MUC/CPH to BKK then PER
Wasn't sure how early I'd have to get up to make my UK-EU connection.
From there PER-SYD on VA. Only an 80 min connection time at PER so a bit worrisome.

Didn't have enough VA miles to move over instantly so sent some Amex MR hoping they'd still be availability once they'd arrived.

Next morning, still only 84 miles in KF account. Checked on Asia Miles and hooray! LGW-HKG available in J leaving at 1220 (better time as expecting a hangover).

Nothing for HKG-SYD initially but a PE Choice award came up during the day. Put myself down for a J waitlist but not expecting it to come through

Ps: The KF miles landed about 12 hours after request
 
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kelvedon

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Now there’s some impressive research! Hope you have a great trip and a memorable reunion.
 

Major

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That's a lot of research, enjoy the results :)
 

andye

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Nice chatty taxi driver to SYD. It was pretty busy and we were diverted into the car park for drop off.
No queue at the TG desk. Told I could access the NZ lounge. Asked if I could go to SQ too-agent unsure but her colleague confirmed.
There was an enormous queue (stretching back to the SQ desks) to access departures. I was able to jump this by asking but there was no priority lane running once inside.
I dropped into the Amex lounge for a look but it was pretty full. So toddled off to the SQ lounge and had a glass of champagne (Albert et fils). There was nothing special foodwise, so popped to the NZ lounge where the scrambled egg was magnificent.
 

andye

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Boarding was very straightforward. It's been a while since I've been on a 747 which I had for SYD-BKK. It took three gos to get a glass of Veuve. The TG crew were nice enough but not at the SQ level of service.
Seat was very similar to a QF skybed 2. I didnt notice a droop. Food all good though skipped the second service. (No pics yet sorry-only decided to do a report after landing).
My German seatmate couldnt find his rucksack which he said he'd put in overhead-must have been a nightmare for him
 

andye

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I had a 7 hour layover in BKK. My original plan was to take the train into the city but it was chucking it down with rain. So I went on a mini lounge crawl.
There are a number of Miracle lounges in BKK all accessible with Priority Pass
First one was at concourse G. Comfy leather chairs. A few food options and self-serve bar.
They did have a 2 hour stay limit and I did get a tap on the shoulder about that time20190705_184325.jpg
20190705_184317.jpg
 

andye

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There was another Miracle lounge 20190705_192233.jpgin the direction of the G gates. Very similar but more airy and with more food options. I didnt stay long
 

Kangol

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Howver United.com came up with a viable option: Thai to FRA via BKK in J.
But would I miss it in the Amex transfer time? I felt I couldn't risk it. It wasn't visible on Krisflyer so I rang up and asked them to confirm. Once confirmed available I transferred VFF TO KF-not the best exchange rate now but has the benefit of being instant. Only $88 taxes was great.

Now to get from FRA to London. I was put out to see a cash fare was $400+. No availability on BA which with reward flight saver is usually a good option. I ended up using 8k United miles (already in account) +~$200 for an LH Y flight. The connection means I have no choice but Hand Luggage Only (even with a UK passport.
Interesting, you couldn't get a *A ticket with KF miles all the way to London? If an award seat for LH Y was available using UA miles, odd that KF couldn't see it.

Looking forward to the rest of the report!
 

andye

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Interesting, you couldn't get a *A ticket with KF miles all the way to London? If an award seat for LH Y was available using UA miles, odd that KF couldn't see it.

Looking forward to the rest of the report!
I asked for a Y flight to be added but the agent said the connection was too long-(it was 2.5 hours). Couldnt get him to budge. Ordinarily I'd have hung up and called again but decided to stick with what I'd got rather than risk someone else snapping it up
 

andye

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The Thai lounge is close by. Better food but a bit busier. Not too long to wait for shower-pressure was only moderate but still welcome. Stayed there for a while then moved on to the Oman Air lounge nearby. I think it's the pick of the priority pass lounges I went to. 20190705_215715.jpg Bright and with better spirits
20190705_225233.jpg

These lounges are all about a 10-15 walk to the A gates (there is another Miracle lounge close to them).
 

andye

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Arrived in FRA. I am sure @serfty will be able to confirm but on a OneWorld flight I think I would have been able to access the lounge having arrived in J with a short-hop in Y (or is that just with status). Anyway the lady at the AC lounge said no for Star Allianve. There was a restaurant with tarmac views nearby-Bratwurst and Paulaner. When in Germany....20190706_064841.jpg
 

andye

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Arrived at T2 . eGates very efficient and being HLO was through quicker than I've ever been.
Popped into the Plaza Premium (available via Amex Plat or PP) arrivals lounge for a cup of tea
Quickest though not cheapest way into London is the Heathrow Express. Time more important than $ today so made the pretty long walk to the platform.
It does rankle that at $40 for a trip to London, on 2 of the 4 times I've used it (including First one time) I've had to stand with no seats available. At least it is only 15 minutes
 
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andye

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On the tube to my sister's house in Woodford. Easy to tap on and off with credit card.
Had brunch with sister's family, mum and brother, taking in a bit if the Aus v SA cricket
 

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