My cheap US/Australia J travel

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by rosesplus, Feb 10, 2006.

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  1. rosesplus

    rosesplus Intern

    I have been a frequent flyer from Australia to the east coast of the US for 2 years, averaging 8 paid (personally) SYD - IAD return trips per annum. Initially I posted my trips to QF however it became apparent to me that, given I was flying in Y, the highest status I could aspire to on QF, despite flying over 160K BIS miles each year, was SG and that I would need nearly 13 return trips in order to get enough miles to get one F award trip (assuming availability).

    Thanks to some great advice from “Lindsay”, “NM” and others I switched to AA and did the Challenge. The benefits are well documented so I won’t elaborate, other than to say, I appreciated the free US domestic upgrades (US coast to coast, about 65% success rate as a PLT) and the F redemptions were earned for only 3.6 return trips, all on the same QF/AA metal. The only disadvantage to joining AA was that QF moved my prearranged seating on the LAX- SYD three times within 6 months. After numerous discussions with AA and QF, I formed the opinion that QF viewed AA flyers as 2nd class citizens on their flights.

    After reading an excellent “Qasr” post {here} suggesting that US/Australia flyers change from QF to UA, I have now joined UA. I have been given a status match to 1P (similar level to AA PLT, QF SG) and I have now ticketed 126K miles of BIS Y trips on UA. My ticketed travel includes multiple SYD – IAD – IAD travel booked in “W” class at a cost of A$2468 incl taxes. I have been able to upgrade to J on the outbound journey by using an SWU (System Wide Upgrade) and the same on the inbound. All legs of my trips are now confirmed in J and F (domestic US). I’m not waitlisted or entered in a seating lottery but confirmed in my preferred J/F seat. I am able to swap, with some friends from FT, an SWU, for 30K AA miles (which thanks to the Challenge, I have lots of) or 30K UA miles. Each of these return trips earn me 44K miles on UA (on QF I was earning 24.5K miles as a PS). So after spending 60K miles for the SWU’s (2 x 30K miles) I earn 44K miles for a net cost of 16K miles per return trip. UA’s top tier elites (1K’s) are given a minimum six SWU’s per annum FOC and it would appear that quite a few US travellers aren’t able to use their entitlement.

    I realise that a lot of this information has already been previously posted but I’m absolutely thrilled with the move and if anybody else has a similar travel program to mine they should think about jumping! Eight east coast US/Australia return trips in J, for under $20K (plus an additional 128K miles) is a great deal. Next year it will cost me even less with the free SWU’s.

    A few further points to consider,

    • UA’s seating in J to the US is not as good as QF’s Skybed but I am able to ensure my seating with a high likelihood of actually getting it.
    • UA has just emerged from bankruptcy but still with significant debt.
    • UA has a Y return award trip US – SYD/MEL for 45K miles at the moment (normally 60K miles), on QF it’s 128K miles to LAX, more to IAD/JFK.
    • UA appears to have far superior award availability for J/F on this route and an F award SYD-IAD is 145k miles on UA, on QF it's 384K miles.

  2. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    duplicated in error...sorry
  3. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    I have had similar experience with UA, flying them up to 6 times a year always from SYD-ORD, often stopping over in SFO (work related) and lots of travel around the US.

    I have cut back over the last couple of years as I have a lot of work elsewhere and don't need to go so often, resulting in me losing 1K last year, but still PE.
  4. NM


    Aug 27, 2004
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    But its way better than QF in Y which is what you used be confined to

    Great to hear that you have found a way to maximise the benefits for your travel pattern.
  5. QF WP


    Jun 20, 2002
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    rosesplus, thank you for an excellent summary of how you changed your crediting of flights from one program to a number of different to extract the best vaue for you. I was happy to help along the way, it's been up to you since then.

    You're certainly on top of both the AA and UA programs.
  6. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    rosesplus looks like you've indeed maximised benefits. And pleased to read about the status match - American carriers are usually generous in this regard. Congratulations :D .

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