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Video Blog Post: Master British Airways Award Clinic

by on November 11, 2011 · 258 comments

in British Airways

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We have until this coming Wednesday, November 16, 2011 to use our British Airways Executive Club miles before they turn into Avios points. For British Airways and short-distance flight awards, this new program is generally a neutral or slightly positive change.

However, if you want to book one of the incredible South American/ Asia awards that I’ve covered over and over again, you need to do it by Wednesday. So I put together a 13 minute video explaining the basics of getting the most out of BA miles and I’m here this weekend to help you all burn as many miles as possible! As always, I’d love for the TPG community to come together and help one another out so we can squeeze as much value as possible out of our British Airways miles.

So, to get things started, please comment with any recent stellar redemption you’ve made using your BA miles and any tips/tricks that helped you book it. I’d love to have a constant flowing discussion helping people think creatively about the many ways BA miles can be valuable. As I mentioned in the video, I’ve received tons of reader emails asking for specific help and as much as I want to respond to each and every email, it would be more beneficial to ask your questions in this open forum so others can learn from the responses as well.

Also, please make sure you read through my 10 part series on using BA miles, which should be a good primer, “even if you are a frequent flyer.”

General tipsPost 1 – Booking BA Awards, Post 2 – Booking Partner Awards, Post 3 – Oneworld Alliance, Post 4 – Taxes and Fees, Post 5 – Household Accounts, Post 6 – Companion Ticket, Post 7 – Using ExpertFlyer for Partner Award Availability, Post 8 – The Art of the Stopover, Post 9 – Leveraging Miles and Cash Redemptions, and Post 10 - Using Qantas.com to Find Oneworld Award Availability

And whenever you redeem, feel free to Tweet me your redemption and hashtag it with #burnbabyburn. Let the games begin!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Kevin

    Thanks for this useful video post and the links to all of your past using BA miles posts.

    I need to figure out where to go and quick! I also need to figure out how to do it all with no more time off work in the near future since I’ve used a ton of leave over the past year. D’oh!

    I’m thinking that Easter Island trip with a stopover in Santiago might be the way to go. Time for me to get researching!

  • Maury

    You think I should redeem them now if I want to book a flight to Mexico City?

  • Anonymous

    Depends where you are based, but I don’t think you have much to worry about

  • Maury

    I am based out of Miami.

  • http://frugaltravellawyer.wordpress.com Frugaltravellawyer

    How far out into the future will we be able to book this weekend using BA miles?

  • Boris

    Using the 100K miles from the Chase/BA Card signup, I just booked 3 roundtrip tickets Buenos Aires with a layover in Santiago. All one leg trips. JFK-Santiago, Santiago-EZE, & EZE-JFK. Total came out to be $300 a person and roughly 96K miles.

  • Chris B.

    I just booked New York -Lima – Cuzco and back with a stopover in Lima on the return for a few days in June 2012. Decided to transfer in a few last minute AMEX points to bump me up to 120,000total BA miles and booked the outbound flight to Lima in Business class :D (total redemption of 60k/person).

    Really wish I had more time to work with for these but for $111 in fees/ticket I’m not complaining!

  • Kevin

    I believe you can book 365 days in advance.

  • Chris B.

    The agent did also tell me that I can always call in and change the ticket (add an additional stopover for example) and just pay the taxes/fees for the additional segments. If I can get more than 10 days to play around with I’d really like to try and extend my one-way business class to Santiago.

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    JFK-HKG-DPS

    Cathay First Class. Cannot wait for the CX F experience! Going back using my Star Alliance Miles though.

    Also sending my family on 2 separate trips to the Philippines, also on Cathay but in Business.

    JFK-HKG-MNL-HKG-JFK

    So long, BA… I’m never looking back.

  • Tonyeats

    Last week I booked 2 tickets from JFK to Patagonia in feb as a gift to my parents! 40k + $160 each; JFK-Santiago (stop) Santiago-Puerto Montt (where their cruise left from) outbound; return was from El Calafate (FTE)-Buenos Aires (use code BUE on ba.com to find this flight–it does not show up by default if you use EZE) (stop) then EZE-JFK with a conneztion in Lima. It was fairly painless wih the agent but she had a lot of trouble finding the FTE-BUE leg even though I was looking at it on my computer with availability. She also couldn’t find the direct EZE-JFK that I saw online but my parents were fine stopping in LIM. They’d been dreaming of this trip for awhile and I felt like a hero!

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    Through end of schedule which is 11 months. So basically the furthest out you’re looking is the middle of October 2012.

  • Benben747

    ba mentions using adios points for hotels and car rentals………..no specifics yet but could there be some value here?

  • Benben747

    used 140k to take family from vegas to cancun summer 2012 on aa……………..

  • PJ

    how much were fees ? and miles you burned ? on each booking

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    The F ticket fees were $360pp, but this is only ONE way.

    The J ticket fees were $390pp and they were round trip.

  • Dan

    BA will let you book a bit further than that — as of today, I think you can book seats on BA and CX through 10/30 or so. A week or so ago, I was doing some bookings through end-of-schedule, which was then 10/25/12.

  • Anonymous

    I booked first class JFK-HKG on Cathay for 75,000 miles and $148 one way. Return DPS-HKG-JFK in First was 75,000 and $189.90

  • Brendan

    Has anyone had success getting intra-SA tickets booked into premium economy while purchasing NA-SA Business awards for the long hauls? BA.com won’t display such flights on the search, and LAN discontinued regular business class service on most of its shorter routes about 2 years ago. I believe booking class for this intra-European-style premium economy is W, and it is just the front of economy with blocked middle seats. Any input would be hugely appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    Highly doubt it.. but maybe. Won’t known until they release details on Wednesday

  • Dan

    As two separate one-ways, I booked ORD-HKG-stop-DPS (F on the longhaul, J on the short one) and returning BKK-HKG-JFK (again in F from HKG-JFK, and J from BKK-HKG). (We live near IAD, so we can be flexible with our gateways. Besides, with a stopover, I really like the timing of the ORD-HKG flight — leaves in the afternoon, gets in at 8pm. Perfect. But crappy for a DPS connection.)

    Total cost? 150,000 miles + $400/taxes+fuel surcharges for each person.

    One sneaky thing you can do with CX — they have some SIN-BKK flights, which you can add on as a stopover.

  • Bookit

    Just booked a US-Asia reward. BA rep said the new Asia reward flight would cost 35,000 avios points. Much better than expected!!! Has anyone else heard about this?

  • Yi

    Just booked two first class rewards from EZE to MIA (operated by AA ) a few weeks ago. last week I received an email which seems like automatically generated e-tickets. I then called BA and the agent told me that my flight was changed to AA900 because of AA schedule change. So far so good. I go head to AA’s website to choose my seats. However, there’s only one available! I called AA to see if any agent can help me out, but the AA representative just say the first class was oversold and she did see the number of the available seats is -1 and she cannot move us to next flight, which still has plenty of seats, because the tickets were issued by BA. Then called BA, the BA agent told me that they cannot help me with this issue because they are not responsible for oversold.

    Any suggestion is welcome. By the way, both tickets were confirmed and issued by both BA and AA.

  • PJ

    from JFK and trying to visit RIO and Iguazzu falls as main destinations to tour : any suggestion how to best use BA miles if possible also to visit BuenosAires and Santiago on the way going down or coming back ?

  • Oregonocean

    with my 100k sign up bonus, i have booked two great trips for 2012: sfo>hkg>dps and sfo>lima>easter island>santiago>guyaquil>lima>sfo. realistically, i will only be able to use one of these in 2012, but want to do both trips at some point. do you know if all TRAVEL has to be completed in one year, or if i can make changes to these reservations within one year and push it out to 2013?
    thanks for all your info, its served me well!

  • Billy Mumphrey

    I booked 2 first class tickets to Thailand (via Hong Kong on Cathay) for my honeymoon earlier this week. That burnt 300,000 of our 310,000 miles. Tips from the process:

    - Availability on ba.com is NOT always the same as availability by phone. On the itinerary I booked, there was only 1 first class seat on the JFK-HKG and HKG-JFK flights showing online, but when I called we got 2 seats.

    - I called about 12 times to the BA award desk to check availability on different routes and there was a HUGE difference in the quality of the various phone reps I spoke with. If you don’t get someone who you feel is helping you search, CALL BACK and speak to someone else. The rep who ended up booking my trip knew their system inside and out (including time of day when seats open up on various routes) and was constantly testing different dates and routes for me to help brainstorm. She even waived the $20 phone fee as a honeymoon present!

    QUESTION: What can we do with the leftover 10,000 miles? My thought is to top this off with 15,000 points from the Sapphire program and redeem for an American domestic ticket. Any better ideas??

  • Cory

    Hey Brian-
    You say stopovers require you to fly in the same direction. Does that include layovers (not actual stopovers)? Not thinking specific awards here, but for instance Tokyo-Taipei-HongKong-Bangkok would geographically all be headed in the same direction, though if you were on JAL they would probably all route through Tokyo and on Cathay would probably all route through Hong Kong so you would end up flying in several directions even though geographically your cities line up nicely.

  • Ryan

    Brian, why did you split them into separate one way awards? How are you getting from hkg to bali? Hoping to book the same routes this weekend flying F one way and J the other

  • LA

    I was planning on burning my BA miles on BA to Europe somewhere (I am ok paying the fees). Since I am based in LA will the new chart make the miles required even higher now than it is to do a RT in F?

  • Anonymous

    I split into one ways because I will most likely have to change either the outbound or return and having them as one ways hedges my bets- if for some reason they make you reprice in Avios, I’ll at least have half of my trip booked. Even though I may be on the hook for more fees, I thought it was worth it. Plus, you can easily book a JFK-HKG, DPS-HKG-JFK online and I didn’t feel like dealing with phone reps yesterday!

  • Anonymous

    It’ll be the same

  • LA

    Awesome. Thanks!

  • jayhawknj

    Thanks for the video and all the good info! Will re-read all of the posts. Looking to burn 100k BA miles. Ideally, would like to book RT from JFK to BNE. QF has fees of ~$700. Two questions: 1) Do you know if CXL or JAL would have lower fees for this routing? 2) Does BA charge a fee for booking the awards that you cannot book online? Cheers!

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    The ticket only remains valid 1 year from date of issue/booking.

    “13.16. All Award travel must be completed within 12 months of the date of ticket issue.”

  • Billy Mumphrey

    I wouldn’t worry about it. They won’t be selling any more first class seats and someone will probably not show up so you’ll get 2 seats. That F cabin has 16 seats so your odds are very good.

    If you are the last man standing without a seat then I’m sure you’ll get into business class with some nice perks from AA for the screw-up.

  • Chris B.

    I’m not sure if the new partner award chart will work with this, but I think short flights (<600-700 miles) will be 4,500 one way miles after the program changes to Avios. Personally, I'd just wait until the changes are published on the 16th before moving other points in to top off the account.

  • http://twitter.com/jamucsb Jamison

    great video! too bad i cant see much of your new place in Miami since the video has been cropped ;)

  • Anonymous

    Hah this was actually shot in Brooklyn, hence the sweater! I think you can even see some LGA bound planes in the window

  • Benben747

    140k=4 total rt tickets……….should have clarified

  • Boris

    I have 25K miles leftover any flight ideas from JFK to somewhere?

  • Boris

    I have 25K miles leftover any flight ideas from JFK to somewhere?

  • Anonymous

    Right now thats enough for a cash and points roundtrip coach trip to South America or a one way in coach to Asia

  • Anonymous

    Right now thats enough for a cash and points roundtrip coach trip to South America or a one way in coach to Asia

  • jdaking

    I would love to use my points to book for two trips before Nov 16th, if anyone can help with the routing would be much appreciated

    Trip one – for 40000 points would love to visit as many as these destinations, flying out from Toronto or a near by US city to Santiago, Easter Island, Montivideo, Sao Paulo, Rio and Bueno Aires.

    Trip two – for 50000 points to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Manila, Bali, Taiwan and Cambodia

    Thanks

  • jdaking

    I would love to use my points to book for two trips before Nov 16th, if anyone can help with the routing would be much appreciated

    Trip one – for 40000 points would love to visit as many as these destinations, flying out from Toronto or a near by US city to Santiago, Easter Island, Montivideo, Sao Paulo, Rio and Bueno Aires.

    Trip two – for 50000 points to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Manila, Bali, Taiwan and Cambodia

    Thanks

  • Dhammer53

    Oregonocean, can you fill us in on how long you’re stopping in each city mentioned above, or are you transiting through these places? I’m interested in your sfo-lima-easter island- etc itn.

  • Dhammer53

    Oregonocean, can you fill us in on how long you’re stopping in each city mentioned above, or are you transiting through these places? I’m interested in your sfo-lima-easter island- etc itn.

  • Oregonocean

    2 wks in lima, which will include a separate flight to cusco
    3 days on easter island
    3 days in santiago
    1 week in ecuador
    then fly back through lima to sfo

    good luck making your reservation!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have enough BA miles to book Asia right now, but would by moving over points from my Chase Sapphire card. Does that happen fast enough?

  • Anonymous

    Yep – they transfer instantly!

  • PJ

    addios Chase BA card !! I had applications on Sapphire Preferred and Marriot up when I called to “help speed up the application..” was cited ” 3 cards MAX in a 6 months.. and was about to get shot down on both. Solution we worked out over the phone: had to close one card out to get my long time awaited card ” Sapphire Preferred” well I chose to let go Chase BA over other cards including Hyatt.. so the 60 days rule does exist ..

  • hmaia

    If want to go to Rio, I believe you can not go to Montivideo or Buenos Aires, because it is not a natural route. You may go to Rio, Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires via Lima and Santiago.
    I booked RIO-SANTIAGO-MIAMI last week, but couldn’t stop in Buenos Aires. I know LAN flies from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo, so maybe you build your way to Sao Paulo stopping in Santiago and Buenos Aires and on the way back you can depart from Rio. Tickets from Sao Paulo to Rio is not that expensive if purchased in advance. Actually the CGH-SDU is a beautiful route and the approaching in SDU (Rio) is amazing. Enjoy!
    http://www.google.com/search?q=santos+dumont+airport&hl=en&biw=1440&bih=791&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=EU-9TrXCJYWgtweh_ay0Bg&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQsAQ

  • Vitaly Romanchik

    2 adults and 2 kids going to Hawaii in October 2012 :) Burned through almost all available miles

  • Anonymous

    Booked JFK-LIM-SCL-BOG-MIA. 80,000 miles + $190 fees in business. Seems like not too many people incorporate Colombia with these great SA unlimited stopover redemption’s

  • Romina

    If I book a trip for October 2012 and want to change dates later, how far can that go?
    Will I be able to change it for early 2013?

  • Chris S.

    I’m most curious as to which S. American cities the BA call center will allow me to book.

    For example, would LAX-LIM-IPC-SCL-GIG-LIM-LAX be a valid award trip? Would IPC or SCL be the “destination?”. Should I just absorb the $140 reciprocity fee and go LAX-LIM-SCL-IPC-SCL-GIG-LIM-LAX to avoid issues booking the trip?

  • n/a

    in late October, booked 2 one-way tix for late December: 2 biz class LAN GRU-SCL(stop)-MIA. Then return on AA econ MIA-GRU. Followed the advice in your BA writeups, took the time to search segment by segment both on BA’s site, and AA’s, which is the easiest to see low-level awards quickly.
    Called BA cust serv on the dot when they opened at 7:30 am, was cordial, fibbed and said an agent yesterday found these award seats on some specific flights, I just had to pause to consult with the spouse before buying.
    Note: Choose the credit card you will pay the final fees with wisely. In my confirmation email, said I have to present the card used for the purchase at the airport. You don’t want to use a card you may cancel in near future.

  • Jeff | Sustainable life blog

    Hi Points guy!
    I just booked a trip to BKK with a 4 day stopover in NRT from LAX – and on the way back was only able to get limited availability and didnt have the miles for biz class, so I have to return out of NRT. I have to pay for a 1 way BKK –>NRT, but that’s still much better than having to pay for the whole thing!

  • Romina

    I posted this question (below) but Infamousdx already answered it.

    So, ALL TRAVEL MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE Oct/Nov 2012

    “13.16. All Award travel must be completed within 12 months of the date of ticket issue.”

    If I book a trip for October 2012 and want to change dates later, how far can that go?
    Will I be able to change it for early 2013?

  • http://twitter.com/mgalicki Mike Galicki

    Hey TPG, If you are using an iphone (again), if you hold it sideways the video aspect ratio will fill the screen better and you won’t have those black bars on the side.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Chris, can’t comment on GIG, but LIM-IPC-SCL is valid because I’ve booked it!

  • Anonymous

    aha! thanks- will do next time

  • Tao

    Does anybody know if Cathay’s new Biz product has been installed on YVR-HKG route yet?

  • Nick

    Helpful video! I was wondering if you could comment on short-term availability. My work doesn’t let me schedule much in advance (I generally know about 2 months in advance when I can take a 2 week trip). And on the BA website it seems like availability in South America is very limited for December/January. Especially with all these stop-overs it seems like a miracle is needed to make this happen.

    How far in advance do you generally book your award flights?

  • thrashsoundly

    Burned for LAX-HKG-BKK-SIN-HKG-LAX for 2 weeks in Asia. Fees were just over $900 for two J class seats. I am stoked!

    One thing to remember for those looking to burn your miles for a trip to South America, beware of the reciprocity fees. Your vacation expenses may increase dramatically for many countries, especially if you take your family.

    http://www.southamericaliving.com/reciprocity-fees-in-south-america-for-u-s-canadian-australian-uk-passport-holders/

    Maybe TPG should do a primer on reciprocity fees as it is timely with the BA mile burning.

  • Cleared and Ready

    Thanks for the video. Using your 10 part series as a guide, last week I used my 100k miles to book a one way business seat on Cathay from LAX to HKG. I’ll be exploring Southeast Asia, then 21 days later come back on a trip booked in business from Bangkok to Tokyo, have a three day stopover, then on to LAX. These two legs are counted as one trip and am in business class on JAL. All total came to the miles plus about $400. I just searched for availability for each leg on the BA site using your guidelines, and then called. Couldn’t have been easier. Although I’d never pay full price, the same trip booked out on Kayak for over 10K. Thanks!

  • PJ

    I pray I can get on AA again no stop LAX EWR as I did on NOV 1st ; that would be the best fom all bads ater Nov 16

  • PJ

    what do see when in SanDiago?

  • calbear77

    I’m spending 4 days in Easter Island (you can either spend 3 or 4 if you are flying in from Lima, because LAN only flies to IPC on Sundays and Wednesdays)
    Then a day in Santiago (overnight stopover)
    8 days in Punta Arenas (Torres del Paine, possibly see some penguins somewhere)
    5 days in Santiago-Valparaiso area
    9 days in Lima (doing a separate flight to Machu Picchu, then traveling through the Peruvian Andes over to the Amazon jungle, then back to Lima somehow)

    Had to do two separate flight itineraries:
    Itin 1 Leg 1: SFO-LIM-IPC (Easter Island)
    Itin 2 Leg 1: IPC-SCL-PUQ (Punta Arenas)
    Itin 2 Leg 2: PUQ-SCL
    Itin 1 Leg 2: SCL-LIM-SFO

    I only had 90K miles, so I had to book itin 1 with 40K miles plus about $500 in cash, and itin 2 with 50K miles plus about $380 in cash.

    If someone else books a similar trip, you should try to find someone who will allow you to book itin 2 leg 2 and itin 1 leg 2 as one ticket, because that would save you 12.5K miles per person along with some cash. I had been on the phone an hour and a half with a very nice rep and we were both tired, and it was difficult to book all the legs, so I didn’t press her too hard.

    The key is that the routes you book for you stops have to be on the natural route to your end destination. This means Easter Island is going to be one destination since it’s not on any natural route. So your first leg will end there and your second leg will begin there. If you have any other side trips planned, you’ll have to decide whether to book them as separate itineraries or if you just want to fly along hubs.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for all your helpful material on BA miles (by far the best of the blogosphere). I’m in the midst of constructing a South America itinerary. One of the legs is from GYE to CUZ. Looking at what might be the new distance based chart, it appears there might be some minimal savings by waiting to book; of course there might be significant downsides (fuel surcharges etc) Would you suggest booking now or taking my chances?

  • calbear77

    Each of your mini legs will be 12.5K miles/person if you book before the change, so it’s possible it will be cheaper to book those after the change. You could possibly check the Iberia tables and find out the mileage on each of your legs to get a rough sense of whether there will be any advantage to booking it before or after.

  • Aiden

    I was looking for IAD to NRT and NRT to IAD in business, but it’s stating 100k miles each way on partner airlines. Am I missing something? How did you get both ways in business for 100K??

  • Aiden

    I was looking for IAD to NRT and NRT to IAD in business, but it’s stating 100k miles each way on partner airlines. Am I missing something? How did you get both ways in business for 100K??

  • Artie

    I am looking on booking flights to Costa Rica on AA from NYC – Do you think those will be changed by the new program?

  • Anonymous

    You need to ONLY use one partner airline. This is probably mixing several. If you just fly IAD-ORD-NRT on AA for example, it will only be 25k one way for coach/ 50k one way business and 75k one way first

  • calbear77

    Probably depends on the time of the year. December and January is the peak of SA summer, so if you’re going to Argentina or Chile, it’s going to be packed and you’d have wanted to book that awhile back. But if it’s not peak, I’d say probably 6 months would give you the pick of just about any flight you want in economy or business. Any less than 6 months and business is likely to be gone and availability in economy is going to be spotty. All this info isn’t scientific, but just based on my own experience trying to book an itinerary for March/April in October. It was a challenge, though once you have your long flight (e.g. JFK-LIM or SFO-SCL) set, the rest is much easier when you’re booking the shorter flights.

  • calbear77

    Hi Boris, just so you remember that due to the reciprocity fees, this itinerary is going to net you $135 charges per person in both Santiago and Buenos Aires, so just make sure you budget for that, too. I’m sure you knew about the charges, I just didn’t want others to book this not knowing.

  • Musicalholiday

    Search engine seems hosed. I can’t search SFO-LIM. Says they don’t fly that route and to contact executive club. Anyone having any luck using online engine?

  • Concorde123

    Thanks for the Video!!! Much appreciated. Please Please do more of these types!!!

  • Romina

    Did anybody got this error when trying to book online?
    Error
    We’re sorry, we are unable to process your request. Please contact your local British Airways office.

    I happened during the credit card verification and I tried two browser and two cards.
    Any suggestion besides calling BA?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve done that, hence me saying there may be some savings to waiting. I’m asking whether it makes sense to take the gamble.

  • Jenny

    Just booked all through Cathay Pacific. one thing to note, I DID NOT go through BA website, but went through Cathay Pacific and wrote down all the legs.

    Here goes: JFK – HKG – PEK back NRT- TAIPEI(stop)-HKG(stop)-JFK for100,000 miles for two tickets
    Total Fees: $917.70

    100k miles Burned!!!

  • http://twitter.com/askevi Askia Suruma

    Hey TPG, if I want to go IAD-FCO (don’t mind the fees), are there some cool stopovers I can make in Europe on the way? Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    London/Madrid/Helsinki

    I vote for Madrid!

  • Adam

    I booked the following trip as 2 separate 1-way awards, all in F for my fiance and I in March:
    Outbound: SFO-HKG(stop)-DPS
    Return: BKK-HKG-SFO

    I used 150k BA miles outbound with a free stopover and $380 in fees/taxes for the two of us. Called BA and got the phone reservation fee waived on the 2nd call. The 1st customer service agent told me that was impossible. Keep calling!

    For the return I used 130k AA miles and $80 in fees/taxes because I wasn’t stopping over anywhere. I found 2 1 way tickets from Bali to Bangkok for $100 each on Air Asia, so Bangkok essentially becomes my stopover.

    Used qantas.com and britishairways.com to find availability. Interesting that they both showed different seats available!

    Trip to Bali for 2 in first class with stopovers in Hong Kong and Bangkok for 280k miles and less than $700? Yes please!

    Can’t thank you enough TPG…keep up the amazing work!

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    2 questions: 1) How to determine “natural route” compliance? 2) LIM reciprocity entrance fees (Y/N)

  • Cocobinga

    I had no idea this redemption existed – looks amazing! Is it possible to have stopovers at each of these cities or are some of these just connecting flights?

    Thank you

  • KT

    Can you book this round trip in business class using BA miles?
    SFO -> HKG (stop over) -> HKT (Phuket, stop over) -> SGN (destination)
    HAN -> HKG -> SFO

  • Daburdender

    Just booked JFK-HKG-DPS today on my lunch break. Cannot wait for this trip. Couple questions hopfeully people can help with. I know I can call back and resonably switch up the trip for a $70 fee using the old BA redeption chart or completely cancel for $70 if need be. Question is if I cancel do I get the $388 in fees refunded? What about if I switch up the award, is there another amount of fees besides the $70? Forgot to ask while I was on with the rep.

  • xina

    I’d like to book business class on CX, open jaw RT ticket, ORD-HKG (stop)-CGK and SIN-HKG (stop)-ORD. On returning back to US, I don’t want to stop and stay overnight in HKG, but couldn’t find the non-stop one. So, can I make changes in the future from the stop-over in HKG to be a non-stop one without incurring any fees?

  • Chris S.

    If anyone has AA miles in addition to their BA stash, I think I’ve got a noteworthy suggestion for you, if you live near MIA, LAX, or DFW (LAN trips would have to be booked through the BA Executive Club; AA trips through AA). It takes advantage of the routing rules of both BA and AA.

    Since the BA/LAN routings basically allow you to stop at all (or perhaps most) of your desired destinations, why not return relatively-direct on AA metal and add in a free one-way off-peak trip to the Caribbean or Hawaii (depending on your location)?

    For example, being LAX-based, I might consider something like LAX-LIM-IPC-SCL for 20k on BA, returning SCL-MIA-LAX(indefinite stop)-OGG for 20k on AA.

    Something like LAX-LIM-GIG (BA, 20k), GIG-MIA-LAX-OGG (AA, 20k) could also work.

    For those near MIA and DFW, you’ve got the options of traveling to the Caribbean, connecting through those hubs (though, of course, you could still hit Hawaii instead).

    I’d like to visit Rio, so if BA gets stingy with their routings (i.e. not allowing a return SCL-GIG-LIM-LAX), I could justify spending 12.5k BA miles on LAN for a SCL-GIG leg, given that booking with AA on the return could save me the 17.5k miles required to book North America-Hawaii.

  • Anonymous

    So I don’t know the answer to the question I posed but figured I’d post a link to the routes that LAN operates with premium economy seats. It does not apply to my intra-SA flights, but the clever airbrushing in the photos is done quite well.

  • Anonymous
  • calbear77

    Well, I think the strongly implied (though to be fair, not explicitly stated) advice is that if you’re doing very short flights, you’re probably highly likely to do better by waiting. For the long flights, get ‘em while you still can, because we can be pretty sure those are going up. BA has said that 97% of the awards will stay the same or go down in mileage requirements, and while we’re all very confident our favorite South American and Asian routes are in the 3%, the short routes are probably very safe.

  • Jenny

    I have stop over in each of these cities.

  • R-info

    Hi, looking for any advice/suggestions regarding using my 103K BA miles to book travel either one-way or RT from NYC to New Zealand (I think Auckland would be ideal). Or, from elsewhere in the USA to New Zealand – I could use points from another airline to do the domestic travel. Thanks in advance for the help!

  • Khoa

    Did you look for reward bookings through the marco polo club? or just tried booking a regular ticket then called BA executive club and gave them the legs??

  • Tao

    How could you do Taipei-HKG-JFK? isn’t this backtracking?

  • thrashsoundly

    Qantas out of LAX can get you to Auckland direct. It may be hard to find availability though, but you can check on both the QF and BA engines. Look for off-season times like in APR/May. I love Auckland.

  • PJ

    From JFK : Can I get to tour Rio and Iguazzu falls with low round trip award miles ? a bonus extra stopover in SanDiago or Buenos Aires would be sweet on the way in or out

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    If you cancel, you get those taxes and fees refunded.

  • thrashsoundly

    CX doesn’t fly from HKT to SGN. Use the Oneworld interactive network map to find out where they do fly. Dragonair only serves the HKG to HKT route, but I’m not sure if BA will have a problem with it or not.

  • greek2me

    Don’t know about GIG, but this week I booked
    JFK-LIM-IPC (dest)-SCL-EZE/AEP-GRU-LIM-JFK for 80k BA miles in business class (except SCL-EZE and AEP-GRU were only avail in coach around my desired travel days). $240 all in taxes/fees per person

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    Are you perhaps booking for someone else? I had this problem when I was booking my sister and bro-in-law for a trip and not myself (Head of Household account). I had to call it in. Simple enough and they waived the phone fee.

  • thrashsoundly

    “Natural route” is subjective, but if the stopover city is on the way, you’ll probably be ok with a good phone agent. What were you thinking?
    Peru does not have a reciprocity fee.

  • Brasay

    Any advice on flying from Seattle in June/July? Would like a South America trip from 2-3 weeks with ~110k miles on BA card. Worth going down there during their winter?

  • http://infamousdx.com infamousdx

    When I went JFK-YVR (which continues to HKG), yes. It varies but it looks like the majority of the time, you get new biz.

    http://data.flight24.com/flights/cx889/

  • thrashsoundly

    Are you looking for a non-stop from SIN to ORD? CX doesn’t fly that route direct. You’ll have to at least connect in HKG.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=162700656 Steven Kekich

    I just tried to book a one way MIA-LIM-IPC-SCL and was told that going through LIM to IPC violates natural routing. I am going to call back now and try to reach a different agent…wish me luck!

  • sil

    I don’t think i planned it right. LAN biz from lax-lima-cuzco for 40k miles, then cuzco-arequipa – lima for 10k miles, then on AA- lima -miami- lax for 30k (biz)

    what is done is done but just wondering if I could have just spent 40k for LAX-Lima-Cuzco – Arequipa, then for AA, arequipa – lima- lax for 30k Biz? anyone??? not upset about burning extra 10k miles of BA that I didn’t need to

  • Ctrix65513

    Have read post after post and still a bit confused on natural routing. I’m looking to do a mini tour of the US using AA and maximizing my unlimited stopovers. In the most basic and dumbed down sense is it basically drawing a line from point a (your departure destination) to point b (your arrival destination) and you can stop at places along the line where AA has MileSaver availability?

    I was trying to do something along the lines of Chicago (departure)-San Antonio (stopover)-Las Vegas (stopover)-San Franscisco (stopover)-Seattle (stopover)- Alaska (destination)-return to Chicago. Would anything along those lines work?

  • Anonymous

    Anything is possible if you get an agent to ticket, though many will shut you down if you are trying to game the system. A rational phone rep will probably tell you that transiting via San Antonio from Chicago to Anchorage is not a logical routing. Though it can’t hurt to try! Please report back your experience

  • Anonymous

    Def a bad rep!

  • Matthewrojas

    Did the NYC – Easter Island – Santiago – NYC route a month ago (40K) and just booked NYC – Amman, Jordan – Kuala Lumpur – Hong Kong – NYC (literally around the world) for 50k points…had to book 2 separate one-way open jaw tickets and find one of the few NYC-Kuala Lumpur via Amman, Jordan available tickets, but it was worth it!

  • asiangringo

    Excellent – thanks for the reminder about the changing program. Just booked our family trip from JFK to BKK (via HK) on partner airline Cathay Pacific for 50K round trip per ticket. Two weeks in Thailand next year. Yes Please!

  • Thomasdean

    I would love an answer to this question as well!

  • Anonymous

    Its good for a year from the day you issue. So if you book today, you can complete travel from one year from today. They may let you extend, but I’d expect if you want to go into 2013, they will make you pay to redeposit and book with Avios points

  • Cleared and Ready

    That’s exactly right. I had to play around with the dates for each leg to find ones with only one partner airline.

  • Romina

    yes, that’s exactly was i was trying to do. Booking for my in-laws. I’ll call then, thanks.

  • Anonymous

    TPG – thanks for providing such great guidance. Several months back, I took your advice and switched over AMEX reward miles to BA during their 50% bonus promotion. I did that with the expectation of using the miles through AA to get two first class tickets from East Coast down to Buenos Aires. At that time, it was pricing out the total for two tickets at about 240K miles + $250 in fees. Am I right to understand that as of next week’s changeover to Avios, that trip is likely to double in points required? Or is it primarily the multi-stopover itineraries that are most likely to be affected? Thanks again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Randolph-Mah/1431625838 Randolph Mah

    Great Video. I was able to find all legs for my trip to IPC via SFO and LIM (2 day stop) except the return leg from SCL in Biz. Gave up and just called in, but had found all but last leg on mine own. Settled for SCL-LIM-LAX a couple of days later than I wanted, but I will try and change it later. Great agent named Tim. Was wondering why everyone wants to go to IPC recently. He said they have booked over 300 trips there recently and before he never had booked a singlr one. He did mention there would be an exception chart which would keep the same redemption levels to their most popular spots, like Capetown, but probably not IPC. Good luck everyone. SFO-LIM-IPC-SCL-LIM-LAX.

  • Doolie

    Does anyone know of a good deal to redeem BA miles along with the companion voucher? I know the flights must be on BA so that leaves most of the destinations to Europe with a layover in London. I am planning on my honeymoon in May 2012 and I would love to score a deal in business class before the mileage hikes next week.

    Thanks!!!!

  • Athan

    Hey Brian – Had a quick Q for you. What is the current price of BA-based round the world tickets (bus/econ) and what do you anticipate it switching to? That’s what I’m really saving for, but might adapt ASAP and use the miles if you think they’re changing…

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think they have specific RTW pricing- you’d just have to price out a multi partner award based on that award chart- not sure what it would be- I’m on iPhone now

  • KT

    Thanks for your tips. I am planning to use the BA miles to Europe from the west coast in biz class with stop overs. Does it make sense to do it before the change to Avios. From your post above it looks like it did not if I were to book coach tickets but what about business class ?

  • Jason10170

    TPG, I am flying to Singapore on Jan 4, 2013. Are the BA award tickets like other airlines where they are only valid for one year from the date issued? I’d like to burn my BA miles for the trip so what’s the chances of being able to do this before the Avios change? Also, I don’t live in a Cathay Pacific hub so would I be able to book a first class ticket to Singapore from CLT or do I first need to get to a hub like Chicago?

  • Anonymous

    I know the majority of the comments are addressing long-haul bookings prior to the expected devaluation. However, would the majority opinion be that East coast flights to the caribbean will decrease significantly after 11/16? RDU-JFK-BGI maps out at 2513 miles which should be close to the maximum mileage required to get to any caribbean destination from the east coast. Using the recently-released Iberia Avios distance based chart, one way on on this routing would drop to 12,500 from current redemption rate of 17,500. Distances under 2000 miles (which would reach much of the caribbean when routing from most east coast cities through Miami) drop to only 10,000 miles each way and at least one destination from RDU could be had for 7500 miles each way, RDU-MIA-NAS. Any reason not to think this will be the case after 11/16?

  • jdaking

    is this route good for 40000 pts? MIA-Bogota-Santiago-Easter Island-Santiago-Buenos Aires-Sao Paulo-LIM-NY

  • NRSA

    Some observations about this BA mileage deal:

    1. The fees for redeeming these awards through BA to fly LAN, JAL, and CX seem relatively high compared to using AA to redeem. However, these one partner mileage deals are still an incredible deal considering only BA allows you to almost go crazy maximizing the travel.

    2. A current alternative for Asia award travel:

    AA is running this promo

    http://www.aa.com/viewPromotionDetails.do?fN=YVRTYO2.xml&_locale=en_US

    Basically, SFO-TYO or YVR-NRT good for travel through 2/29/2012 for half off the mileage (50K business/30k economy).

    The downside, roundtrip is required (no one ways), and it is only good for flying between those city pairs (meaning only between SFO-TYO or YVR-NRT, no other destinations permitted).

    If you want to continue on to another part of East Asia, then you combine this award with a Oneworld award (distance based) flying up to 4000 miles on two carriers both JAL and CX (Dragonair is considered another Oneworld carrier) for 35,000 AA miles (coach, 70K miles for J) in any direction and change of dates allowed (no change in routing permitted).

    I just booked to SFO-TYO earlier today for December departure and January return for 50k in Business (no First Class on this flight). So total mileage is 85K AAdvantage miles used to fly Business to Asia and Coach (multiple stops) intra-Asia and about $75 in fees to TYO and should be about the same for the Oneworld award (I have not booked the Oneworld award yet). So the total fees for this combo deal should be around $160 per ticket ($50 is the AA booking fee) based on my previous experience.

    Flying in coach intra- Asia won’t be too miserable because the way I am structuring the legs; each flight will be between 1.5-2.5 hours. Generally, I don’t see the value in premium classes for flights under the 2.5 hour mark (

    I am trying to get the most value (including fees and taxes) for these miles, and I think this combination receives the best value for a multiple leg itinerary to Asia.

    3. BA Miles – What do you think Brian (TPG)?

    I think BA miles after November 17 would be most valuable for domestic use on AA especially flying to Hawaii because they consider a flight from the mainland to Hawaii to be domestic costing 25k miles Y/50k miles F and fees/taxes of $2.50. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Another use is for last minute travel domestically on AA. Most domestic carriers charge a $100-150 fee using miles for last minute travel on top of whatever other fees they may charge. I don’t think BA does that for its one partner awards on AA, and I hope they don’t change that if they don’t charge on November 17.

    Again please correct me if I am wrong.

  • Jason10170

    No, Hawaii is 35K miles roundtrip for coach. I just recently booked it. And Business is 2x and F is 3x that amount. So a RT F award to Hawaii is 105K, 70K for Business.

  • http://twitter.com/mchoi9 Mike Choi

    I booked this about a week ago:

    JFK-HKG(stop)-DPS(stop)-SIN(stop)-BKK(stop)-HKG-JFK

    All on CX J

    There’s an open jaw between DPS and SIN as CX doesn’t have a route between those cities.

  • NRSA

    FYI for Chile & Argentina

    US citizens whose first port of entry into either Chile is Santiago or Argentina is Buenos Aires (EZE or AEP) will be charged a $140 reciprocity fee per person.

    However, the loophole is if your first port of entry into Chile is other than Santiago or Buenos Aires for Argentina, then US citizens will not be charged a $140 reciprocity fee per person.

    Keep this in mind as you book your travel on LAN through BA.

    I would rather enter Chile from IPC stopover flying from LIM continuing onto SCL, and use Mendoza (wine/mountain country) or Bariloche to enter Argentina continuing onto Buenos Aires. Save the $140 and spend the money in Chile/Argentina instead of giving it to these respective governments.

  • Mike Choi

    Nice itinerary, I like how creative people get

  • dracs

    mci-pdx-sea-jnu-anc(dest) one way doable? ( stops at all places)

    all on alaska

    experts chime

  • Rob

    Where is it possible to find a list of countries with reciprocity (and their fees)??

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    If the North America based distance charts mirror the published Iberia Avios chart after 11/16, rt Hawaii from the east cost will increase from 35K to 50K for economy and from 70K to 100K for business class.

  • Tom N.

    I know the fees are high, but If I’m coming from Los Angeles, would it be better to book a trip to Europe before or after Nov 16? I would like to make a few stops throughout Europe, but I’m not sure what the best way to accomplish this is.

  • YesMissWin

    I had one agent tell me that and called back. The next one was great.

  • Federico

    You did wrong ;-( .

    LAX-LIM(stop)-CUZ(stop)-Arequipa is a valid route for BA
    Arequipa-LIM-LAX is a valid route for AA without any stopover

  • KB

    I’m trying to book NYC to Montevido in Feb or April for my family of 3 (120,000 BA points). Have had no luck via AA.com nor BA.com.

    However when I look on the LAN site there are plenty of flights showing (multiple per day), but when I try to get them with BA.com (“include partners”) I see nothing. Is there a way to tell on the LAN site which flights can be had for BA miles? I’m not trying to build in stopovers, just simply get there and back.

    Thanks for any tips,
    KB

  • KB

    Thank you for posting the info!

  • Anonymous

    Doolie, I uses mine for a trip in April. Dulles to London (stop for 4 nights) to Frankfurt (destination). Then open naw from Zurich back to Washington DC. Total 150k miles for First Xlass. This was orchestrated by Brian thepointsguy

  • Federico

    Don’t forget

    14.2. The route applicable to an Award travel booking may be changed provided that the new route selected would, as at the date the change is requested, ***require the redemption of the same amount of Mileage as was redeemed in making the original booking***. Route changes are only permitted for Award travel bookings which (other than for the payment of taxes, fees and charges) are purchased using Mileage only.

    ***require the redemption of the same amount of Mileage as was redeemed in making the original booking***

    Looks like if you try to change your booking later and the new avios points require more miles, you can’t right?

  • Ri Zheng

    from express? haha

  • Cliff

    So, I gotta ask the newbie question. If I have all my miles on American, does that shield me from the armageddon? Or do I somehow transfer them to BA for the fabled Easter Island trip? Thanks!

  • SS

    Your primer was invaluable … thanks very much. I burned 100,000 points for an April 2012 trip: LAX-HKG-DPS roundtrip in Cathay’s business class, including a stopover in HKG.

  • Ctrix65513

    I hope with all these trips being booked to South America and/or Hong Kong and Bali (seems to me that is where the majority are burning their miles) we can all work together to find great deals on accommodations.

  • jump58

    I noticed Cathay has service to Paris, is LAX- HKG- CDG an option?

  • Yi

    Thanks for calming me down. Really appreciate that. Waiting for good news or nice perks. ^_^

  • SterlingGuy

    It may be that the day you want to travel from IPC to LIM there is no flight. I had a rep tell me that, then I called back. I think that route only flies a couple times a week. I booked LAX-LIM-Santiago-IPC-LIM-LAX– and it only took 20 calls and ten hours on the phone.

  • SterlingGuy

    I booked my South America trip but had to burn 80k points because the flights from Santiago to Easter Island were only business class. My LAX-LIM and LIM-LAX are economy and they tell me I can upgrade them for the $70 change fee. Has anyone found those flights in Business class? All LAN, of course.

  • Nick

    Thanks!

  • Jenny

    just tried booking a regular ticket then called BA

  • Margie Dodd

    Hi everyone!
    I’ve just read all the posts. What I’d like to do is a trip to Japan(where I met my husband in a youth hostel 25 years ago in Nov 2012!) and also we’d love to go to Bali. Any one have best ideas on this? Seems like all I can see is 3 stops in Hong Kong w/Cathay and about 80 hours total travel time which sounds pretty gruelling. I’ve got 240000 miles but would also like to try for Easter Island if possible. Keeping fees down would be good too!!
    I don’t see many of these posts responded to but maybe 11.11.11 is my lucky day! Thanks!!

  • Anonymous

    I made a reservation a couple of weeks ago and notice that the miles haven’t been deducted from my account; my card has been charged and my reservation shows up online. Anyone have experience with this?

  • Cheryl

    PointsGuy, thanks for all your great info. Planning a South America trip January 2013, so decided to take the leap and hope for the best as far as changing tix when seats actually open up. Was able to get two Biz seats on LAN from LAX-LIM-EZE for 80K total miles and only $37. Wonderful. BUT, trying to get from GIG-LAX seems impossible. I’ve tried routing through LIM, MIA, JFK, but can’t find a seat available. I’ve gone to Kayak to get the routes, but can’t seem to do a thing on BA’s site. Any tricks I’m missing before I need to get on the phone?

  • Cheryl

    Ditto KB’s question.

  • Chuck

    hey guys,

    Thinking about using 50,000 BA miles for one way in business class on Cathay Pacific. Wondering if t his routing would work. Would welcome any thoughts, comments, or past successes. JFK –>HKG–>NRT–>Taipei–>Seoul(Incheon)

    thanks

  • SBTower

    TPG – do MR points transfer instantly to BA as well?

  • Dhammer53

    My planned itn is a variation of this, but we’d like to fly from JFK to Easter Island (avoiding fees) STOP, then continue to EZE. Is this considered a natural routing?

  • Latimer

    I just cancelled an amazing route to South America due to personal commitments. BEWARE: cancellation fees are per person (I didn’t know this) and for my LAN tickets, the only way to cancel was over the phone; The option to cancel online wasn’t made available to me. In the end, I only lost the money I put in for the taxes, which isn’t too bad.

    I cancelled SFO-LIM-IPC (J) & IPC-SCL-EZE (Y). I was soooo looking forward to this, but I have to be in Manila at during that time. So, I swapped it for …

    SFO-HKG-DPS (Y) & MNL-HKG-JFK (J)

    Another Note: The BA Engine doesn’t seem to like it when I book a reward for someone else online. I’m asked to call a local BA office. My fiancee will have to wait until the morning to get confirmation …

    Brian, thanks for all of your tips – it certainly helped make this trip affordable! The BA Visa + the Amex PRG bonuses was all it took. I still have 80K BAEC points and 4 days left to plan a bachelor party in Rio!

  • jay

    But what are you getting as taxes on AA to Japan? I’m seeing $600 !?
    For lax or ord to nrt all on AA

  • Viking82

    How many mile did you use?

  • Doolie

    Thanks for your reply. How much did you have to pay for taxes/fuel charges?

  • iahphx

    What’s the lowest anyone is getting the fees from the USA to Asia? I’ve got “too much ” S. America flying already booked and would like to take the family to Asia this summer on BA points (coach is OK) — if it made sense. It sounds like Cathay has the cheapest fee redemptions.

  • Renee King

    Just got through booking a MIA-LIM (Stop)-SCL (Stop)-IPC (Stop)-LIM-MIA for 40k pp with 282.00 in fees. This was my second attempt. The first agent said that this routing wasn’t natural (MIA-LIM-SCL-IPC-LIM-MIA) and if I booked as is, it would be 90k pp. I hung up the phone. Called back and spoke to someone else and gave them another itinerary (see above) and it worked.

    Try to have a back up itinerary before you call. I was afraid that the seats would all be gone if I kept trying to negotiate with the first agent. BTW, the first agent told me straight out that they are aware of this website and that people are swamping them with bookings. I told them congratulations….that just means more money and job security for you!

  • [email protected]

    Sorry1 The first itinerary was MIA-LIM-IPC-SCL-EZE-LIM-MIA.

  • Anonymous

    I booked my 2 award tickets in First and it was a total of 150,000 BA Miles, one companion voucher and 1400 USD.

    For Business it was the same tax (700ish each) but fewer miles

    For Economy it was $500ish.

    I knew Its never worth it to redeem on BA for economy because of high surcharge. And I would have happily spent 700 UsD for a cash economy ticket. So spending an extra 50 miles made it an easy call to go from Biz class redemption to First class

  • Kathy K

    Hiya. I’m trying to purchase two economy tickets – end of august from JFK. I definitely want to include 4 or 5 days in Buenos Aires, and 2 to 3 in Lima.

    I had hoped to also stopover in CUZ, but was told that could only be done for an additional ticket/redemption – is that correct?

    Also, I was told that there were no openings in non-stop flights JFK- LIM or LIM-JFK on any of the days I was looking (the agent said she checked for a week or two in either direction), so, my flight home from LIMA would have to be via Santiago, adding a lot of hours and taxes to the trip. She said the trip would amount to $169 in taxes. She said a non-stop LIM-JFK was possible on business class, for an add 20K per person (which I’d prefer not to do).

    any suggestions/comments? I’d like to keep this trip to 80K miles…

    THANK YOU AS ALWAYS!

  • PJ

    I do know JFK HKG TPE is the BEST rounting back to TPE and out back to JFK

  • http://twitter.com/astroLeostar rachel davenport

    The KVS Availability Tool seems to be down this morning. The BA agent on the phone also couln’t find any LAN availability for flights that were there 8 hours ago. She said that LAN may be “in their system” and pulling back award flights.

  • KB

    Can anyone tell me how to recognize on LAN’s own site which flights are eligible for use with BA miles?? Like on AA.com how any MileSaaver award availability you find is also BA award availability?

  • naeeee

    This is a great website but make sure to click on the link for Argentina because it has been updated and they are charging the reciprocity fee:

    http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/09-02/visa-and-reciprocity-fees-south-america-and-how-legally-get-around-many-them.html

    Hope this helps!

  • naeeee

    Thank you for your advice. But when I search through LAN’s website, you have to route through EZE or SCL anyway? So I’m not sure if they will let you actually enter the country in Mendoza or Bariloche using a stopover if you have to layover in EZE or SCL? Any thoughts?

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    trip duration?

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    How did you get your PRG points? Got form letter, but no points yet

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    Anybody know whether single partner award chart permits open jaw?

  • Kathy K

    OH no, I hope that’s not true! I can’t book until monday as I’ll be away this weekend.

  • Anonymous

    TPG Great video and articles.

    Have nearly 500,000 BA miles to burn. Live in the gateway city SFO and am interested in booking first class tickets to two separate regions:

    1)Bali, New Zealand, Australia

    2) Hong Kong, Beijing, Tibet

    Would appreciate any clever thoughts on how to structure one way or round trip itineraries to accomplish either trip.

    Thanks!

  • Romina

    I just burned all my BA miles and some UR

    80K 2 econ for my in-laws EZE-MSN and return JFK-SCL(stop)-EZE
    FEES= $293 very nice agent and phone fee waived

    100K= 2 one-way econ ORD-HKG(stop)-SUB (no 2 econ seats for my dates to DPS)
    CGK-NRT(stop)-ORD,

    FEES= $428+$761=$1189 this seems a little too high, but it’s done (not nice agent, so no waived phone fee)

    She said that because the itinerary cannot be booked online due to the stop over they will not waived the phone fee, is this true? can I still try to have them waived after booking?

  • Amitai100

    Quick question. I already reached $30K spend for 2011, but called to ask if I could use the companion voucher before the 16th, and they said that it will only be issued after the end of the calendar year. Is there a way around this, should I call again and speak to another agent?

  • KB

    Success! Just booked 3 tickets from JFK to Montevido next April spring break, for a total of $325.80 in taxes and fees. That includes $60 ($20pp) phone booking fee which they wouldn’t not waive – even with very nice agent who checked with supervisor – said it is policy that all LAN bookings incur the fee.

    Re my previous question, it looks like flights to S. America on LAN’s own rewards site that show at 35,000Km level (one way) are bookable using BA miles. Not so legs at higher kms (kms being their points).

  • Margie Dodd

    So anyone know if it’s possible to fly to Japan and Bali on the same award ticket ??
    Thank you!!

  • Cocobinga

    It is not possible through JAL at least. I’m not sure about other airlines.

  • Bangkokiscool

    TPG, thanks for all your help. You clued me in to the BA/Chase deal, and your posts on using BA miles are excellent. My wife and I accumulated 285K through the credit cards, plus spending, as well as a 2-for-1 voucher. We were thinking of using the 2-for-1 for an F redemption to CPT for 270K miles, but taxes and surcharges were nearly $2500. So yesterday I topped off the account with an extra 15K miles for about $450 to 300K miles (I know, ironic to be BUYING BA miles right before devaluation but no choice, as my Chase UR balance is zero right now), and redeemed for 2 F Class tickets on CX to BKK. BA website processed everything just fine, including the points purchase.

  • Oregonocean

    i actually just tried to make a change to the south america booking that was met with a no.

    essentially i wanted to simplify things to make the feasibility of the trip more realistic for me. i was told that the original booking was “invalid” because of the routing, and that they would honor it if i didn’t make any changes.

    apparently some “blog” was recommending these “crazy” itineraries and quite a few were confirmed. seems like the dream redemptions may be coming to a close in this scenario.

  • Stephen

    Between me and my wife, we had 495,000 BA miles… Almost all of those are thanks to TPG. Just finished my last phone call to BA and we were able to redeem 460,000 of those miles. As we all know, the agents are slammed. One agent told me she had processed more tkts this week than she did all of last month. She appreciated me having done all of my homework before calling. Here is what I am walking away with:

    LAN: Adults x 2 in Business: MIA – LIM (Stop) – IPC (Stop) – SCL – MIA
    Taxes/Fees: $400 p/p

    CX: Adults x 2 + Child x 1 in Business: LAX – HKG (Stop) – DPS (Stop) – HKG – LAX*
    Taxes/Fees: $128 p/p

    *BA required me to book this itinerary as two separate one-way legs. An option to consider if they are limiting your itinerary, same amount of miles.

  • Stephen

    Taxes / Fees are reversed… $400 p/p to HKG // $128 p/p to IPC

  • Laura

    we tried Easter Island from March through July and there were no award tickets left per the BA agent.
    FInally after and hour and a half of various trip venues, we booked LAX-SIN-HKG-LAX in late June (100K plus $433 each for business class tickets). At least we used up most of our miles before the change and probable devaluation (for us west coasters at least). Good luck to the rest of you.

  • Mike

    Yes, it does.

  • Mike

    Burned our 100K miles from the Chase BA card on Cathay Business Class, JFK-HKG (6 day stopover) – KUL, then 9 days to make our way from KUL to SIN overland, then SIN-HKG-JFK. Having previously enjoyed Cathay’s wonderful Business Class for JFK-HKG-BKK and back, I am confident that using this number of miles is well worth it. Thanks TPG for alerting us to the upcoming devaluation so we could book under the old award chart!

  • Mike

    Forgot to mention: our taxes and fees (mostly fuel surcharges) were $430 per passenger. Totally within the realm of tolerability.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001904111900 Joseph Palmiotti

    Looking to book a flight from MCO (Orlando) to Hawaii (HNL or LIH not sure just yet) in First Class. Right now it’s 105K miles + $22 in fees. Should I expect to see an increase or decrease in mileage spent for this flight? Just wondering if I should book now or Nov 17th, thanks!

  • Anonymous

    @Rachel: All Award Availability systems within the KVS Tool continue to function normally (as shown in the example below), however, it is possible that LAN’s systems were experiencing a transient issue at that time.

    As always, if you have any questions regarding any aspect of the KVS Tool and its 100% OneWorld Award Availability coverage, please use the Contact Form on KVSTool.com to ensure the fastest possible response time.

    [KVS Availability Tool 6.7.0/Diamond - Amadeus: Awards/OneWorld/AU-QFA-SP1]
    NYC New York Metro NY US = JFK LGA
    SCL Santiago De Chile Arturo Merino Benitez CL [SCEL]
    FRI 01 Jun 2012 | 1 Seat

    Carrier Flight From Depart To Arrive St Availability
    ——— —— —- ——– —- ——– — — ————-
    LA 533 JFK 19:40 SCL 06:30 +1 0 FS- CS- YS+
    AA 1709 LGA 19:45 MIA 23:00 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> AA 957 MIA 23:45 SCL 08:15 +1 0
    AA 1775 JFK 15:55 MIA 19:20 0 FS+ CS+ YS-
    -> LA 503 MIA 21:30 SCL 07:55 +1 0
    AA 2611 LGA 18:00 MIA 21:20 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> AA 957 MIA 23:45 SCL 08:15 +1 0
    AA 613 JFK 17:45 MIA 21:05 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> AA 957 MIA 23:45 SCL 08:15 +1 0
    AA 825 LGA 15:00 MIA 18:25 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> LA 503 MIA 21:30 SCL 07:55 +1 0
    AA 1559 LGA 16:50 MIA 20:10 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> AA 957 MIA 23:45 SCL 08:15 +1 0
    AA 955 JFK 22:15 EZE 09:55 +1 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> LA 454 EZE 11:40 +1 SCL 14:00 +1 0
    AA 1621 LGA 14:05 MIA 17:15 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> LA 503 MIA 21:30 SCL 07:55 +1 0
    AA 1775 JFK 15:55 MIA 19:20 0 FS+ CS- YS+
    -> AA 957 MIA 23:45 SCL 08:15 +1 0
    AA 2041 JFK 13:10 MIA 16:25 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> LA 503 MIA 21:30 SCL 07:55 +1 0
    AA 759 LGA 14:55 DFW 18:05 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> AA 945 DFW 21:10 SCL 07:50 +1 0
    AA 753 LGA 14:40 DFW 17:40 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> AA 945 DFW 21:10 SCL 07:50 +1 0
    AA 825 LGA 15:00 MIA 18:25 0 FS+ CS- YS-
    -> AA 957 MIA 23:45 SCL 08:15 +1 0

  • iahphx

    Since I don’t need another S. American vacation (I’ve already got 2 booked for the next 6 months), I’ve been looking at Asia (coach for a family of 5). But I can’t get the taxes/fees below $330 (Cathay to HKG), and an additional stop would take the fees to almost $400 pp.

    If I HAD to burn the miles, I would, but since I have less than 100K in my account (I could transfer more if I wanted to from AMEX and Chase), it doesn’t seem “worth it” to me. The way I look at it, I’m saving about 15,000 miles from the USA airline redemption charts, but it’s costing me (in real cash outlay) about $200. Not horrible, but not a deal I feel compelled to do.

    If I didn’t have S. America already booked, I WOULD feel compelled to do that before the award chart changes.

  • [email protected]

    Unsure if you’r from the United States but what about using your miles on AA with unlimited stopovers for domestic flights. Their are some great values to be had their and the taxes are only $2.50 per segment and with a family of 5 this would help minimize flight times as well. I’m doing a San Fransico/Napa->Seattle->Alaska trip personally (would have added San Diego as well but it’s hard coordinating everyones schedule).

  • SMRTPNTS

    What is the best way to proceed if I find award availability of expert flyer on air tahiti but BA.com shows no availability

  • http://twitter.com/nicesharky nicesharky

    Thanks, TPG! I just booked 2 adults +1 child for LAX-HKG-KIX in CX business for 300K and ~$312 fees pp. Stopover in HKG allows us to hop to PEK to show my daughter the Great Wall before continuing to Kyoto. Agent first claimed no availability on my desired date…but I was logged in so I verified directly on BA.com and got the last three seats. Now I just need Cathay to upgrade the LAX-HKG 777s with the new Business Class product by June…

  • iahphx

    Yeah, I already have an Alaskan “hopscotch” itinerary booked on AS using BA miles for next summer.

    It’s definitely a plausible use. It would be nice to book Asia, as that “expiring” 50,000 mile coach USA-Asia award is tantalizing, but I just don’t think it’s compelling given the fees (if you have miles on the USA carriers).

  • jondaphenom888

    I’m also on the fence about a possible Hawaii to east coast redemption. I’m currently in Australia but I’m planning on using my 105k miles to get my wife and I first class tix from HNL to FLL, stopping at LAX and ORD along the way. Should I wait for Avios? Any suggestions?

  • Corey A

    Are they letting you do KIX-LAX or is your itinerary LAX-HKG-KIX-HKG-LAX? I didn’t think they would let you backtrack like that or does it just depend on the phone rep that you get?

  • Dhammer53

    iahphx,

    Can you tell us the details of the Alaska itn. Sounds interesting.

  • Dhammer53

    I’m wondering if anyone is using their BA miles to fly Finnair or Iberia to Europe rather than BA? Anyone have an idea on what the fees are for business? Are they lower than BA?

  • iahphx

    Yeah, there’s a discussion of it in Flyertalk. I think somebody recently got shot down trying to roughly duplicate this, so it’s a YMMV kind of thing. I had all my flights picked out in advance (using the Alaskaair.com award search function) and my rep had no problem with it. If your first agent won’t allow it, I’d call back and talk to someone else.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1244937-creative-use-ba-miles-alaskan-trip.html

  • cintagreen

    Just checked a route using Dragon Air (Kathmandhu to HK) and not a problem with the rep.

  • http://twitter.com/nicesharky nicesharky

    yeah, LAX-HKG(stop)-KIX(Dest)-HKG(stop)-LAX. Seems most Cathay flights go through HKG so I could only do one “spoke” from there without backtracking. Their flight schedule pdf was pretty helpful. Once I’m in HKG I can travel China ad-hoc without too much trouble using CTRIP.com and ELONG.net and my ChinaMobile GSM phone.

  • Corey A

    Thank you!

  • Corey A

    Sorry to ask another question but would this same itinerary be available with NRT instead of KIX? For example, I would like to do ORD-HKG-NRT-HKG-ORD. Is this booking possible all using one partner airline? (CX)

  • Nick

    I just booked for two persons: SFO-LIM (stop) -IPC (stop) -SCL (stop) -LIM(layover)-SFO The only problem was the apparently you cannot do the same city twice. Which in this case is LIM, even though our second time there would just be the layover. There was another flight available (through Miami), but that was not an LAN flight but an AA flight, so that wouldn’t work.

    The solution was to book a separate flight for the IPC-SLC flight. At 12.500 miles and 27 dollars each. I have no idea how the (very nice) BA rep lady got to this conclusion, but I guess that works.

    So total for a trip to Lima, Easter Islands and Santiago: 40k+12.5k times 2 persons: 105k miles and about 200 dollars in fees. Amazing.

    Was the rep right btw? Or did I just spend 25k miles I shouldn’t have?

  • Petalumatool

    Long time reader, first time poster. Loved the video on BA miles. A quick question or two. It is VERY easy to find flights from SFO to Bali via Hong Kong in either Business or First. How about a few SPG or Hyatt suggestions for a couple of baby boomers. We like culture, beach, relaxing, not the loud nite life. Thanks so much and keep up the good work. Petalumatool.

  • Yobamba

    Is tax lower if I book a round trip tix rather than two one way?

  • Tuscanyx

    Just tried to book to galapogas island. BA agent said routing is not showing up as valid from uio to gps. Is she right? Thought other people have booked it.

  • Corey A

    Just booked the following as two one-way awards: ORD-HKG-KUL on Cathay; SIN-NRT-ORD on JAL. Booked it on the first call and was pleased by the level of customer service.

    Many thanks to TPG and the readers of this blog; I couldn’t have done it without your expert help.

  • DudeWithComment

    Thanks TPG. Followed your (and the FlyerTalk gang’s) advice, and booked the following:
    1. MIA-LIM (stop)-IPC (stop)-SCL (stop)-EZE (stop) , and
    2. GIG-MIA
    Total came to 80,000 pts and $150 , all business class, which I gladly paid cuz I was so sure they wouldn’t accomodate that first one-way trip. In fact, I was rejected twice for that first one-way until a third CSR spent more time with me and worked it out correctly. Funny how different CSRs vary in skill and/or helpfulness.

    Those GIG–>USA flights were disappearing fast, and so I grabbed what I could. Three desired GIG-USA dates, in fact, disappeared for me within minutes of each other! Also getting booked up fast are the LIM-IPC trips. Guess other people are getting the idea of doing IPC before SCL to avoid reciprocity fees.

    I wanted to busy-up the return GIG-MIA flight, but after a few days of excitement in Rio, I think a quiet, non-stop flight will be very welcome indeed…

  • Stoked88

    Was this MIA-LIM-IPC-SCL-EZE-LIM-MIA a one-way trip? They let you have it for 40k in BA miles? Wow, I’m very impressed, considering it’s a U-shaped flight path.

  • Brasay

    so you booked them as two separate trips? Is that the best way to do it? Thinking of similar trip but from LAX – hope I can piece something together soon! What time of the year are you going? When are you fitting Rio in?

  • iahphx

    I got a GPS award routing on LAN through AA, but it was a PITA, as AA also showed no GPS availability — while EVERY flight was available for award travel on LAN. You can read more about it on flyertalk, but I had to get the Oneworld folks involved since, theoretically, availability is supposed to be the same across Oneworld carriers! If BA says there are no seats, and you’ve double checked this with another agent, I doubt there’s anything you can do before the award chart changes.

  • iahphx

    I priced a couple itineraries to Asia and the tax on a roundtrip exactly equalled the tax on the two one-ways.

  • Bucky_Katt

    I’m taking my wife and daughter to Hawaii from IAD on AA. 105 K BA Miles and ~80 in fees to go halfway around the world. It’s “vanilla” compared to some of the itineraries that others are posting, but when you consider that we’re getting $2K+ in flights for the cost of a credit card signup, it’s still a pretty great deal.

  • Precision123

    I assume you have stop over going out and coming back how much fees and taxes>

  • Precision123

    Sapphire Preferred lets you transfer miles to anybody’s BA account just ask a friend to loan you some and you can repay him with UR points to earn later

  • Corey A

    Yes, short stopovers in Hong Kong and Malay Peninsula. Then, around 10 days in Japan.

    It was around $181 for the CX ticket and around $400 for the JAL reward. I still consider it a great deal though. I can’t imagine what an outright ticket for something like this would cost.

  • cintagreen

    Yes, was told by a rep today that flights to Asia will be 70K roundtrip rather than 50K.

  • cintagreen

    Well, I booked the same exact flight this morning (with a male BA rep) and was allowed the Santiago – Lima – SFO leg on the way back, with no stopover but a layover in LIM. Might have just been a fluke or I got really lucky with a nice rep…

  • Laura

    In cramming mode now with only a few days left.

    I’m thinking SFO – LIM – IPC – SCL. I would also like to hit up the eastern side of SA, but am not sure how to make that booking so it’s a direct route to get me back home to SFO. I could break it up into 2 one ways and pay to connect from SCL to the other side (EZE/GRU/GIG/etc)…but I’m also in money saving mode. I’d like to book the best trip possible using 40K miles and not have to pay for any flights. I also can’t hit up that many destinations – would like to plan for 10 days or 2 weeks max. What would be an ideal itinerary for me?

  • http://www.bpresley.com Ben

    Where are your stopovers and what are the routings for each specific ticket? I am trying to replicate and can’t get BKK-SIN on the same one-way with a stopover in BKK. I want to do LAX-HKG-BKK(stop)-SIN and then SIN-HKG(stop)-SFO but hasn’t been allowed so far.

  • http://twitter.com/thiseye thiseye

    Hi, I recently booked a flight from DFW – CUR – DFW (stop) – YYZ. I was looking to book more, but wasn’t sure on those dates. I remembered it was said that date/time changes are free online. So I tested this on my current booking, and when I clicked ‘Change date/time of my flight’, it gave me a popup that said “We regret that due to the nature of your itinerary we are currently unable to change your booking on ba.com. Please contact your local British Airways office.”

    Is this maybe because I have a stopover? Am I forced to pay $70 to make any changes to my future itinerary if it has a stopover? Thanks!

    (or is it more because I had to book over the phone due to the stopover?)

  • Taximomo

    Were down to the wire folks…

    Looking to burn 100,000 of my miles on ORD-HKG (3 night stopover)-DPS (4 nights)-HKG-ORD (return home/no stopover needed) for 2 seats in coach. I’m pretty flexible as far as travel and can leave ANYTIME following Febraury 16. I’ve called BA and they stated they’ve checked through the end of the schedule and their are no flights available for the Bali segment. Can that be correct? I understand seats are based on availability but this seems odd that the whole year is sold out.

  • Nicole

    I booked two tickets JFK-LIM-SCL-IPC-SCL-JFK, business on the way down and economy on the way up. Thanks again for your advice TPG and everyone else on here.

    One question though, i would like to change my SCL – IPC flight back one day, it appears that I cannot change this online and I would have to call in. Will I be charged the $70 change fee and if so, is that per person or total? The BA website doesn’t specify https://www.britishairways.com/travel/ecservicefeestbl/public/en_us

  • Bangkokiscool

    Check SIN and BKK and KUL in addition to DPS. It’ll cost less than $200 to fly from any of those places to Bali.

  • Nick

    Thanks for your reply! So do you mean you will have 2 layovers in Lima on your trip? (As opposed to my 1 stopover and 1 layover.)

  • Kathy K

    Just booked JFK-SCL – MDZ (stop – 2nights) – AEP (5 nights)… EZE-JFK

    I had wanted to stop in LIM, but the direct flights home were booked, so I would’ve had to fly home to JFK from LIM via Santiago, which was crazy. So, I’m planning a really nice Argentina trip, and will do the Peru trip another time. The taxes were only $120 pp, and I think I’m avoiding the Reciprocity ransom by flying into Mendoza. THANK YOU TPG!! So, what hotels should I stay at?

  • Nathan Grant

    This morning I booked 2 tickets – LAX-LIM(stop)-SCL(stop)-IPC(dest) IPC-LIM-MIA all in Business class for 160k miles. Tried to build in EZE on the way back but they weren’t having any of that (though I got a very nice and knowledgeable agent!) I will use my ‘Avios’ later book side trip LIM-CUZ-LIM to see Machu Picchu which should be only 4500 each way on the new chart. Thank you for all the amazing info you share, I owe you big time for this one! #burnbabyburn

  • Taximomo

    Just a follow up on my previous post regarding ORD-HKG (layover)-DPS (destination)-HKG-ORD on Cathay Pacific and the rep who told me the whole year was sold out for the DPS-HKG return segment for 2 seats in coach. The reps really do have a lot of power in what they can and can’t do. After calling back twice, I got a really friendly rep who booked me into business on the DPS-HKG portion as coach was sold out. It didn’t even cost me increased mileage- 100,000 total for the two tickets. Taxes were a bit steep at $808 total and I’m sure that had something to do with the 1 segment business portion but all in all I think I did ok. Taxes on an all coach itinerary probably would have cost $400 I assume?

  • Jay S

    Booked the following trip using exactly 100K miles for me and my gf:
    JFK > HKG on Cathay – 50K miles + $336 taxes/fees
    HKG > NRT (stop) > JFK on JAL – 50K miles + $793.98 taxes/fees

    The fees include the online booking charge. They would not let me waive it no matter what I said. They claimed it used to be waived but now “is part of the booking process”.

    Either way, ~$565 per person is a great deal nonetheless. Thanks again TPG for the BA Visa tip!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elipsky Eugene Lipsky

    Down to 12K BA miles. Last week booked JFK-LIM-EZE & EZE-LIM(stop)-JFK in Business. Still need to book a LIM-CUZ-LIM which would now cost 20K but probably will go down to ~10K after Wednesday.

    Just now booked JFK-HKG-MNL one way in Business (new destination for me), will find a way home somehow.

    Oh and I have a 1-way JFK-HKG(stop)-BKK and a GIG-JFK in December as part of my round the world vacation (they are tied by the BKK-IST-SAO J mistake fare from early in the year). So happy I used BA miles instead of AA miles for these two before knowing about the devaluation.

    Total BA miles burned 240K

  • Bangkokiscool

    From MNL you can still take the one-way to YVR for around $1400 in J, which includes SQ for the transpacific portion. Still have to find your way back to JFK though. Or Qatar has some very attractive fares from MNL, such as $3000 r/t to IAH in J (Qatar flights can be credited to Mileage Plus).

  • Andrew M

    Was able to book today a one-way Cathay business award ORD-HKG (stop)-SIN (stop)- BKK (destination) for ~$260 in taxes and fees and 50k in miles.

    In September booked two LAN business awards MIA-CUZ (stop)-SLC (stop)-IPC (destination) LIM (stop)-JFK for ~$200 in taxes and fees and 160k in miles.

    Thanks TPG for helping me master the art of the stop over.

  • DudeWithComment

    I did book them as two separate trips, at 40k each. I figured keeping it open-jaw would maximize the experience over there, and I really wanted to hit Rio. It also makes changes so much easier, too. Besides, I could not accomodate GIG or GRU in my MIA-LIM-IPC-SCL-EZE trip at all, no matter what I tried. Availability for GIG or GRU was crazy, for my mid-June dates.

    Somehow I felt 40k for my non-stop GIG-MIA second trip was a paltry choice when compared to the first trip, so I tried routing GIG-GYE or GIG-BOG to squeeze more juice out of my points, but that too was frustratingly futile…

  • DudeWithComment

    You’re assuming she’s flying business at 40k per trip, but I don’t think she is.

    I think what she meant is that MIA-LIM-IPC-SCL-EZE-LIM-MIA is a round-trip ticket for 40k on economy. If she wanted, she could have broken it up into two 20k economy tickets, like:
    MIA-LIM-IPC
    IPC-SCL-EZE-LIM-MIA

    Either way, two one-ways or a single round trip, it would cost approx. the same…

  • Khoa

    Just booked LAX-HK-Bangkok with same return, possible changing return to stop by saigon as well. Decided to use all of my miles so i’m flying first class there and business back. Thanks TPG for all the help! i’m super excited to be flying first class on cathay!

  • Jay H

    Hey Brian, have you seen this? “Angry flyers says adios to Airmiles” http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/sep/09/angry-flyers-airmiles-avios

  • cintagreen

    No, one stopover and one layover in Lima. Pretty much the same trip as yourself, but I guess I was able to save 12.5K in mileage.

  • Chris S.

    Try IPC-SCL-MDZ-AEP rather than IPC-SCL-MDZ-EZE. Both AEP and EZE are Buenos Aires.

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    Where on FT? BA no longer permitting MIA-GPS on single award ticket, irrespective of routing through LIM or UIO or GYE.

  • Jenny

    Just talked to a BA representative, they will not book JFK TO LIM to EZE because LIM is not a natural stop. They are in the process of canceling people’s flights.

  • Kikou

    Just thought I would chime in to announce my booked trip to JFK-LIM-EZE-SCL-IPC in January with LAN. It was tough to find availability. The BA booking agent I spoke to on Saturday said “I can’t figure out why Easter Island is so popular suddenly. Everyone is going there!”. (That must be all us TPG readers!)

    She told me that there was no advantage to booking one-ways since to change a ticket would be $70 x 2 if it changes both ways but only $70 if you have a return ticket. She said it used to be that you could change a ticket before your journey at no cost, but that’s changed; it’s now $70 anytime. I believed her thinking she sounds like she knows the system and booked a return for my partner. However later in the call, she said “I’m not supposed to allow stopovers on award tickets.”, although she booked it. That’s the whole beauty of the BA rules! So I don’t know if purchasing the return ticket was a good idea after all since that showed her lack of knowledge.

    I also booked myself a first class SIN-BKK-HKG-YYZ o/w ticket on CX. I’ve never flown first class so I’m looking forward to that. Thanks TPG for your great advice shared. I wouldn’t never have known about the best usage of BA miles without reading this column. I’ve now got only 11,000 points left so we’ll see if it will pay for LIM-CUZ after tomorrow with the new points system.

    I also signed up for the AMEX Premier card. I’m hoping that was still a good buy. It’s one of the few cards to offer good bonus points to Canadian residents. Got 30,000 points by calling to apply whereas applying online only nets 25,000 points.

  • Mandy

    Lame and untrue.

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    Just booked JFK-LIM-GYE-GPS-GYE-LIM-JFK in Biz all the way. 80K pre-Avios miles and $83/pp taxes, system auto-waived the booking fees. 50 minutes on hold awaiting agent, 38 minutes and 3 system crashes later fabulous agent Linda Crowder executed.. with no whining about GPS not valid for BA, no brow-beating over “natural route” violations, no moaning over too many segments or Lan Ecuador special rules. #BurnBabyBurn

  • http://twitter.com/trentswanson Trent Swanson

    Lame, but these BA agents make up the rules on the fly.. Have a running list of misinformation from BA agents this week

  • JMSL

    Booked the following two one-ways:

    #1) JFK-AMM in coach; AMM-KUL in business – Royal Jordanian, 25K miles (Booked online; searched for JFK-KUL in business, only coach was available for the first leg so the award priced at the coach rate. I am going to call later and change the date of JFK-AMM to build in a stopover in Jordan.)

    #2) SGN-HKG; HKG-JFK in business – Cathay Pacific, 50K miles (Booked over the phone with a stopover in HKG.)

  • Chris S.

    I just had the 4 worst CSRs ever. 2 told me that only 1 stopover per trip was allowed. Eventually got the textbook LAX-LIM(stop)-IPC(stop)-SCL(stop)-LIM-LAX, but not without much sass and rudeness.

  • Dhammer53

    First call disconnected after 60 minutes! Second call was successful after a 20 minute hold. Total call time was 45 minutes. Booked 2 Biz class seats on LAN. JFK-Lima (stop), Lima-EZE (stop), EZE -JFK. Total cost for 2 = $319 .00 USD. This is by no means fancy, since I couldn’t convince my wife to head to Easter Island.

    Point of interest… 2 agents told me that I couldn’t fly Santiago or Lima to AEP. It’s not legal; and if booked, subject to cancellation. YMMV.

    Thanks for the fun ride!

  • Jokerjas

    I booked a YYZ-HKG in business 3 days ago but was wondering if i could change outbound to first since i have a few more miles and they do allow one-way.

    If you guys have any suggestions, would love to hear them!

  • Anonymous

    How many people have taken these trips yet, and what were the airport customs wait times.
    We are going 19 days in February 2012.
    1st leg SFO-LIM(10 hr layover)-EZE(STOP 5 days) -SCL-(stop-2 days)-IPC (dest 2.5 days)
    2nd leg IPC-LIM (stop 10 days) -MIA (dest) during these 10 days, we are trying to squeeze in Galapagos and MP– which seems impossible if the SA flight schedules are not as strict as US, and if customs takes as long as PVR or LHR!
    Can anyone hold my hand with some personal knowledge of this?
    Any other advice is welcome for SA as well, such as ATMs, CC, backpacking vs luggage…
    to check or not to check….
    (my questions seem endless to me, too)

  • Anonymous

    Please tell us all about it when you return! Have a great time!

  • Anonymous

    :)

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