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Need help organising award flights

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GRstrawb

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Hi everyone

To cut a long story short, my wife has booked a cruise for the 2 of us in the 2nd half of May 2015. The cruise is from Barcelona to Dubai, so we were thinking that we might fly to Paris at the start of May, then slowly make our way down to Barcelona to board the ship. At the end of the cruise we would just fly home from Dubai or Abu Dhabi (to Sydney). I have a bit over 500k Amex MR points, a bit over 250k QFF and a bit over 100k velocity points. I have spent so much time looking at how I can use these points to get business flights for the 2 of us from Sydney to Paris and from UAE to Sydney (this leg would be at the start of June). JohnK has suggested converting the Amex MR points to velocity points and
fly SYD-CDG on either SQ or EY and then AUH-SYD on EY. He advised asking in here for specific suggestions.

I tried redeeming flights yesterday on the velocity website but came up with a blank. I tried booking dummy flights on the SQ website (I am a Krisflyer member) also but is was indicating that I needed a ridiculous amount of points (somewhere around a million if I recall correctly). Basically I spent all day yesterday on it and didn't really get anywhere. Not knowing the ins and outs is a big factor.

Any help on the best way to go about things would be appreciated.

Cheers
GRstrawb
 

rtyuiop

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I'm assuming you're looking for something better than economy?

My suggestion would be to focus on getting on EY flights (or the VA codeshares of them) - Singapore points availability seems to be both impossible to get and a lot more points.

The search on the VA website only searches the VA codeshares of the EY flights, calling into the call centre may or may not produce more options. CDG is actually a little harder to find availability compared to other cities in the area on based on my experience of a couple of years ago, as one of the two daily flights is operated by someone else (Air France maybe? Can't remember), so no award availability for VFF... This is all from memory and maybe out of date!

Having said that, while there's no EY flights to Spain, there's a host of other options to fly into Europe, and then intra-Europe flights are generally short and cheap. With a similar problem (trying to get flights matching a cruise departing Venice and terminating in Barcelona), I ended up flying into Dusseldorf for a few days, then paying for an Air Berlin flight to venice (cheap, and perfectly fine), and then taking a train from Barcelona to Madrid for a few days, followed by an Iberia flight to Heathrow to return home.

My flight home was a bit sub optimal due to high departure taxes from the UK (still not as bad as QF fuel charges!), and having to muck about transferring between terminals at LHR, but still perfectly acceptable.

Maybe consider doing Emirates from Europe back to the UAE on your QF points (I have no idea how practical that is), and then Etihad/VA back to AU? I believe J or F tickets will include a limo transfer from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, so ground transport is covered.

Cheers,

Danny
 

GRstrawb

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
Messages
19
Points
5
I'm assuming you're looking for something better than economy?

My suggestion would be to focus on getting on EY flights (or the VA codeshares of them) - Singapore points availability seems to be both impossible to get and a lot more points.

The search on the VA website only searches the VA codeshares of the EY flights, calling into the call centre may or may not produce more options. CDG is actually a little harder to find availability compared to other cities in the area on based on my experience of a couple of years ago, as one of the two daily flights is operated by someone else (Air France maybe? Can't remember), so no award availability for VFF... This is all from memory and maybe out of date!

Maybe consider doing Emirates from Europe back to the UAE on your QF points (I have no idea how practical that is), and then Etihad/VA back to AU? I believe J or F tickets will include a limo transfer from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, so ground transport is covered.

Cheers,

Danny

Thanks for your input Danny. That's really useful information. I'll make a phone call and see where things end up.

I did check the QFF website yesterday and whilst there did seem to be some economy seats available, I'm not overly keen to do a 14hr flight in economy. I'd prefer to do a two-leg trip home in business if it came to that.
 

rtyuiop

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Good luck!

Note that Europe back to the UAE isn't that long a flight if forced to do it in economy on QFF points - then J (or even F!) VFF flights for the long flight from Abu Dhabi back to AU on either EY or VA metal should be gettable - would also let you stopover in the UAE if you want.

Cheers,

Danny
 
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notzac

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From what I can see, EY have plenty of options for 2 x J award seats SYD-CDG in early May - you'll need to call VA to get them. For future reference, you can search for yourself online here: Book flights with Etihad Guest Miles
 

bismarck

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Transferring to Velocity and using to redeem Etihad flights is likely to be the easiest option.

There will be plenty of options for you. The first (random) date I picked in May....

[KVS Availability Tool 7.4.1/Diamond - Awards/EY]
Code:
SYD  Sydney Kingsford Smith NS AU [YSSY]
CDG  Paris Charles De Gaulle/Roissy FR [LFPG]
MON  04 May 2015


Carrier    Flight  From  Depart    To    Arrive    A/C  St  Availability
---------  ------  ----  --------  ----  --------  ---  --  -------------
EY         451     SYD   14:50     AUH   23:40     346  0   FS2  CS2  YS9
 -> EY     31      AUH   02:10 +1  CDG   07:35 +1  77W  0
EY         451     SYD   14:50     AUH   23:40     346  0   FS2  CS2  YS9
 -> EY     31      AUH   02:10 +1  CDG   07:35 +1  77W  0
EY         455     SYD   21:50     AUH   06:25 +1  77W  0   FS2  CS2  YS9
 -> EY     37      AUH   09:00 +1  CDG   14:25 +1  346  0
EY         455     SYD   21:50     AUH   06:25 +1  77W  0   FS2  CS2  YS9
 -> EY     37      AUH   09:00 +1  CDG   14:25 +1  346  0

As notzac noted, you'll need to call VA to actually book them. Let us know how you go.
 

GRstrawb

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
Messages
19
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Flights are now booked as recommended by you guys. Thanks notzac, rtyuiop and bismarck (and JohnK) for your help. I'd have wasted a lot more time trying to figure things out for myself. Your assistance helped save me a lot of time.

I must say that the KVS Availability Tool looks very useful. I had tried Award Nexus (the free community account) before I came on here. Whilst it was useful, it didn't seem to align all that well with the AMEX MR partner airlines. From first impressions (purely from looking on the website, not from using it first hand) the KVS Availability Tool looks to be a better option. For those that use it, is it worth someone like me paying the annual fee for it?

Cheers
GRstrawb
 
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