How Much Does Award Space Change Day to Day?

If award space isn’t available on a flight you want, keep checking. Award space changes all the time. This is a truism, but I have never tracked one route and flight for a few days to show exactly how true the truism is until now.

I’ve tracked First Class availability on the brand new Asiana A380 this month and next for the past few days. There were changes every day.

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Enclosed Suite for First Class on Asiana A380

I started tracking the award space for selfish reasons. I have a United award from Seoul to Los Angeles next month to return to the United States from the Asian vacation I’m taking with my brother.

The award goes the long way and features Asiana and Lufthansa First Class. Since booking the award, I’ve flown Lufthansa First Class and been to the Lufthansa First Class terminal, so I think I’d prefer to change the award to a direct flight to Los Angeles on Asiana’s stunning new product.

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I’ve started checking every day to see if award space opens up on a day that works for my schedule. I am also checking award space patterns right near departure to estimate the likelihood that award space will open up for me right before departure.

  • How much has award space changed daily?
  • What is the pattern near departure?
  • Can I automate my search?

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Incredible Asiana First Class on A380 Flying to US

Asiana has started flying an A380 between Seoul-Incheon and Los Angeles. The daily flight includes fully enclosed suites in First Class and fully flat beds in Business Class.

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First Class on Asiana A380

Asiana is a member of the Star Alliance, so Asiana flights are bookable with United miles and Avianca LifeMiles without fuel surcharges.

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Business Class on Asiana A380

Award space is wide open in summer 2015 on the route in all cabins. Award space for this summer is less available, but if you are flexible, you can be among the first to fly the Asiana A380 in any cabin you’d like.

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  • How many miles does United charge to fly Asiana First Class and Business Class?
  • How many miles does Avianca LifeMiles charge?
  • How is the award space?
  • How does the product look?

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Trip Report: Asiana First Class Seoul to Frankfurt

This review is a continuation of my huge US Airways redemption that I wrote about back in this post. I reviewed Swiss Business Class: Boston to ZurichThai First Class: Paris to Bangkok on an A380, and the Thai Royal Orchid Spa in Bangkok already.

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After a relaxing night at the Park Hyatt Seoul (a great value at 15,000 Hyatt points/night), I took the coach bus from the Gangnam bus terminal to Incheon airport at 10:00 a.m. The trip was long, but the comfortable bus saved me plenty of won over hailing a taxi.

How was the seat, bed, food, service, and entertainment in Asiana First Class? How does Asiana First Class stack up against its competitors?

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Trip Report: Frankfurt to Seoul in Asiana First Class

My friend, Ryan from MA, recently took a trip to Italy and Taiwan during which he flew Lufthansa First Class, Asiana First Class, Thai First Class, ANA First Class and entered some of the world’s nicest lounges. I’ve asked him to do a series of trip reports, so we can all be inspired by some of the otherwise out-of-reach experiences miles can afford us. This is the first trip report on Lufthansa First Class.

After 5 days in Rome and 1 day in Bologna, my wife and I took a short Lufthansa business class flight from Rome to Frankfurt. I really enjoy flying Lufthansa business class because their food is always delicious even for an hour long flight. American airlines should really step up their food offerings especially for domestic first class passengers.

Delicious cured meat, hot toasty breads, and panna cotta

When we arrived at Frankfurt Airport, we went to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. The Lufthansa Senator Lounge is the main lounge for all first class passengers that are not flying Lufthansa First Class. This was my first time in this lounge, and I knew it wouldn’t be as nice as Lufthansa First Class Lounge or First Class Terminal but looked forward to trying a new lounge out.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge

How was the Lufthansa Senator Lounge? How was Asiana First Class?

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First Class Space from New York to Seoul on the Asiana 777

Asiana recently announced that starting on July 22, it would be flying a new 777-200ER daily on its New York-JFK <-> Seoul-Incheon route with the following flight times.

OZ222 departs Seoul-ICN at 10:00 and arrives New York-JFK at 11:00 AM (same day)

OZ 221 departs New York-JFK at 1:00 PM and arrives Seoul-ICN at 4:10 PM (next day)

This is big news because the three-cabin Asiana 777-200ERs have a fantastic first class. See video of the enclosed suite here (in Korean!):

The Quadra Smartium business class also looks incredible in this Korean video showing the staggered fully flat configuration.

I took a look at the award space on the route, and it looks like this will be a great way to get to Asia in first class with United or US Airways miles.

Award Space from New York to Seoul

Using my technique to trick united.com’s award calendar, I was able to get the calendar to display space for just the New York to Seoul route.

There was no award space in any cabin in the end of July when the new 777-200ER takes over the route.

August and September show good award space in premium cabins and no award space at all in economy. Unfortunately the calendar doesn’t specify whether the premium space is in business or first class. I clicked on several of the dates that are shaded blue. All had one first class seat and no business class seats.

October and November showed a lot more award space.

Economy class space starts to appear at then end of October. In these months, some of the blue and green days have business class, and some flights have more than one award seat.

Space in all cabins

Specifically November 7 has three economy seats, one business class seat, and two first class seats. November 7 is not atypical. These are the days this fall with 2+ award seats in the same cabin from New York to Seoul.

And finally the Christmas and New Year’s space is strong too.

Getting to New York-JFK

Let’s say you don’t live in New York, but you want to enjoy 14 hours 30 minutes of flight from the east coast to Korea. Unfortunately your convenient options are limited. If you are using United mile or US Airways miles, you can fly in on United, US Airways, or Air Canada.

US Airways only flies to JFK from Charlotte and Phoenix. United only flies in from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington-Dulles. Air Canada only flies in from Toronto.

United’s hub in the New York area is Newark. On United and US Airways awards, you are allowed to fly into Newark and out of JFK. It counts as a normal layover. But, of course, it’s not a normal layover. It’s an expensive and inconvenient trip from Newark to JFK. United and US Airways also fly a number of flights into LaGuardia, which is an easier trip to JFK, but still annoying.

The bottom line is that this route is of the most use for people who can use JFK as their home airport.

Connecting to Asia from Incheon

The good news is that this route is of great value even if you don’t want to go to Korea. Asiana flies to dozens of Asian countries from its Seould-Incheon hub with great award space, so you should be able to go anywhere you want in Asia on an award that features the JFK-Seoul leg.

Free Oneways

Like all international United roundtrip awards, this would be eligible for a free oneway. Read the Master Thread: Free Oneways on United Awards. Note that even if you arrive in New York-JFK, your free oneway can depart from Newark or LaGuardia, since the three are coterminal.

Like all international US Airways awards, this would be eligible for a free oneway. Read the Master Thread: Free Oneways on US Airways Awards. Note that even if you arrive in New York-JFK, your free oneway can depart from Newark or LaGuardia, since the three are coterminal.

Bulking Up Your US Airways Balance

US Airways has a sweet spot to North Asia. If you are just flying to Korea, the award would cost only 60k/90k/120k US Airways miles roundtrip in economy/business/first.

Unfortunately US Airways miles are harder to come by than United miles. You can earn 30k US Airways miles on first purchase with the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. The card has an $89 annual fee.

You can also earn SPG Starpoints and transfer them to US Airways miles at a rate of 1 point to 1.25 miles if your transfers are in increments of 20,000 points. That makes the 25k point SPG American Express offer worth 30,000 more US Airways miles.

Application Link: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

Recap

Asiana is going to put a three-cabin aircraft on its New York <-> Seoul route starting July 22. The first and business classes are incredible and have plenty of award space that you can snag with United and US Airways miles.