TPG readers reveal the trips they’re planning once it’s safe to travel again

May 3, 2020

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Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information needed to make educated decisions about travel and rewards-earning strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route networks. But we are sharing this information to provide value for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.

With the travel industry in shambles and much of the world still under coronavirus lockdown orders, it’s hard to know when it will be safe to travel again. But that hasn’t stopped TPG staff and readers from dreaming about where they’ll go after the crisis is over.

We asked TPG Lounge members to share the airline products on their wish list and any trips they’ve booked to take advantage of wide-open award availability and discounted pricing through 2020 and into 2021. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.)

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Cheap domestic and international award tickets

Many readers commented about super-cheap redemptions they’d scored thanks to dynamic award pricing. In particular, American Airlines Web Specials (especially overseas) and Delta’s award sales were too tempting to resist.

“Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Dallas (DFW) to Tokyo Haneda (HND) round-trip in American Airlines business class this October for 92,000 AAdvantage miles. It was an AA Web Special; they have a lot going to Japan.” — Travis D.

“Booked two round-trip flights from Chicago (ORD) to Dublin (DUB) for mid-October. Premium economy for 54,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles plus $43 per ticket. We have a family wedding, and it was too good a deal to pass up.” — Ellen M.

“American Airlines from Charlotte (CLT) to Aruba (AUA) round-trip for 25,000 miles in November.” — Risa M.

I’m also tentatively planned for Tokyo in October, Flagship First Class on American there for 55,000 miles and using up my expiring Korean Air miles for Prestige Class on the way back. Unfortunately scheduled for the old sleeper seats, but I have a soft spot for the A380 so I’m OK with it!” — Kerry M.

Related: The best ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles

American Airlines Flagship First Class. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.)

“I was feeling pretty smug in February when I secured a 30,000 Delta SkyMiles redemption from New York-JFK to Tokyo Haneda in October but … I’m starting to get nervous. Even still, I find myself also looking for other possibilities for trips because I can’t help myself.” — Danielle C.

“Round-trip for two from New York to Maui (OGG) for 20,000 miles total using a combination of United and Delta miles for November. I just found it through their websites playing around a bit.” — Ashley M.

Scored a Flagship First Class ticket on AA’s 777-300 from São Paulo (GRU) to Los Angeles (LAX) for 50,000 AAdvantage Miles and $47 copay. Flights on the Sunday after Carnival week (February 2021). The flight routes through New York-JFK, which also includes the Flagship First Class on the A321T. Looking forward to the Flagship Lounge at JFK.” — Karl Z.

I’m seeing a ton of 84,000-mile round-trip in business class on American Airlines flights to Europe. That sounds tempting.” — Christophe T.

Delta for 7,000 miles one-way, Birmingham (BHM) to Atlanta (ATL) to Phoenix (PHX) in June. Not very confident it’s going to happen though.” — Lisa H. W.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with American Airlines AAdvantage

Changing plans and rebooking existing trips

Instead of canceling trips due to the COVID-19 outbreak, some readers chose to reschedule to a later date (with fingers crossed). Fortunately, many airlines are offering award ticket change and cancellation waivers in light of the rapidly-changing travel situation.

“Family of four booked in Japan Airlines business class from New York-JFK to Tokyo using AAdvantage miles. Originally scheduled for late June, moved to late August and really, really, really hoping it works out.” — Mark K.

I have stuff booked through all of next year. So now it’s a ‘what’s the next trip that actually goes off?”‘ Was supposed to leave for one Saturday but canceled that a few weeks ago. Next BIG trip now in July flying in Delta One Suites over to Amsterdam (AMS) connecting to Edinburgh (EDI). Scotch tastings galore and then a train down to London. Flying back in British Airways business class in the new Club Suite. In terms of how I booked, Virgin Atlantic miles for Delta and cash for BA (like $1,500 round-trip).” — David O.

“I already had award tickets to Lima (LIM) booked for late August on American Airlines, but the routing was terrible. I was able to find much better flights in business with only one stop so made the change. Not sure the trip will happen, but no harm in trying to be optimistic.” — Marc C.

Rebooked a trip to Australia over the Christmas/New Year period for my girlfriend’s first trip to Australia (I grew up there). Booked Qatar QSuite round-trip Houston (IAH) to Doha (DOH) to Sydney (SYD). Used a previous Amex 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios to book Qantas domestic business class (including their lie-flat A330-200) at some pretty good redemptions. Booked a two-night stay at the Hilton Sydney for New Years Eve combining a free night certificate and 70,000 Hilton Honors points (cash price for the two nights was $1,750).” — Sam M.

Related: The best ways to use points and miles to fly from the US to Australia

Sydney Harbor bridge and the Sydney Opera House. (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
Sydney Harbor bridge and the Sydney Opera House. (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.)

March 2021 from Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita (NRT) in ANA first class, round-trip for 85,000 American Express Membership Rewards points transferred to Virgin Atlantic with a bonus. Same trip booked in June 2020 likely will not happen.” — Peter H.

My May trip to Japan had to be rescheduled. I will be rebooking my return Japan Airlines first class leg again using 70,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles, and aiming for the same time next year. I had booked a cash fare nonstop from Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo Haneda on Delta Premium Select, and I’ll look to do that again (or upgrade to Delta One Suite maybe).” — Michael B.

Rebooking a trip to Los Angeles with some changes, JetBlue Mint with cash and Delta One with a flight voucher. Then starting to check miles I’ll need for Paris or Edinburgh (again) round-trip in business from the East Coast. Planning to use either United miles with a Chase Ultimate Rewards top off or cash in Delta miles if I can catch one of those deals. Would love to try Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for part of it.” — Jennifer B.

Currently booked on Air Canada and United Airlines business class from Newark (EWR) to Delhi (DEL) round-trip in October but not feeling confident about that trip happening. We booked using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for almost the same amount of points as using United miles (we couldn’t get the dates or airlines we wanted via a United award redemption). Now we’re trying to decide whether to cancel before the United change waiver cut off, or hold out for it being canceled by UA later on to get a Chase points refund. India just doesn’t seem like a great idea this year. It will hurt to have to get a United voucher or credit and not get maximum value from my Chase Ultimate Rewards points.” — Buttons B.

Related: How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Aspirational products and dream destinations

Some TPG Lounge readers aren’t letting coronvirus concerns get in the way of planning their bucket-list trips, including round-the-world honeymoons, African adventures and flights in some of the world’s most luxurious business-class cabins.

We have flights booked at Christmas to London (LHR) then Edinburgh for Hogmanay for New Years. Worried that Hogmanay will be canceled as too soon for that many people celebrating together. Both flights booked with United miles (some transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards). First time in United Polaris to London, return flight on Aer Lingus business class.” — Celeste B.

Trying for United Polaris next April from Newark to Tel Aviv (TLV) for 75,000 United miles plus $5.60 one-way, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United.” — Sam S.

“Two passengers Los Angeles to Paris (CDG) in Delta One Suites, Boeing 777, for 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles each on Dec. 2. Hoping for no equipment change.” — Felipe D. L.

Booked United’s Excursionist Perk to Italy and Germany for March 2021 in business class” — Therisa B. M.

Bali (DPS) via Doha in Qatar Qsuite using 120,000 American Airlines miles, booked as two separate awards.” — Ryan B.

Related: The ultimate guide to Qatar Qsuite

(QSuite. Photo by Zach Honig/TPG)
Qatar Qsuite. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

Booked two saver tickets to London and Kyiv for New Year’s and Orthodox Christmas on United, just before today’s devaluation! Saver space is wide open, and these routes would normally never have any saver availability at all. Even managed to snag United’s daytime Newark to London flight, so we won’t have to endure a redeye. Since we angled our way onto the day flight, we just did saver economy at 30,000 miles each way. United’s own metal is 60,000 miles for Polaris. Partner transatlantic flights are now 77,000 miles in saver business class each way, a 10% bump with no warning, making Polaris an even sweeter deal by comparison.” — Eric W.

We booked three round-trip Delta One Suites Atlanta to Amsterdam for early October via Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Hopefully, if Virgin Atlantic goes bust, Delta will honor the tickets due to their stake. We shall see.” — Stuart I.

Doha to Tokyo Haneda in Qsuite, United Polaris San Francisco to London, and ANA ‘The Room’ as well.” — Timothy S.

I have booked a honeymoon ANA round-the-world trip in business class: Newark to Manila (MNL) to Bali to Singapore (SIN) to Male (MLE) to Istanbul (IST) to Washington, D.C. to Newark on United, Air China, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines for December 2020 and January 2021. Looking forward to it!  Paid 170,000 ANA miles each; it wasn’t the most efficient (many stops in Singapore) but it’s a lot of time flying in business class!” — Alejandro P. C.

“Qsuite Los Angeles to Doha to Kilimanjaro (JRO), returning from Dar es Salaam (DAR) to Doha to Philadelphia (PHL) to Los Angeles, February 2021, booked with American Airlines miles. 75,000 AA miles each way, earned mainly from credit card sign-up bonuses. The Los Angeles to Doha leg is on the A350-1000 and Doha to Philadelphia is on the A350-900. The Doha to Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam to Doha legs are on a 787 without Qsuite.” — Gary W.”

“San Francisco to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Bangkok (BKK) for two in February on Cathay Pacific (first leg on American) business class for 50,000 miles each. Male to Hong Kong to San Francisco, also Cathay Pacific business class, for another 50,000 miles each. The flights themselves cost $5,222 x 2 = $10,444 regularly. I’m beyond excited. Using Marriott Bonvoy points at the W Koh Samui. Six nights for a total of 440,000 points. The hotel itself would cost $4,289.48 with taxes. Using World of Hyatt points to stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa. Six nights at 30,000 points each. The hotel would cost $720 x 6 = $5,348.24 with taxes. Been dreaming of this vacation for a decade but the stars never aligned on timing or redemption of either hotel or airline.” — Timmy C.

Related: The best ways to get to the Maldives on points and miles

Featured photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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