US Airways is now pricing roundtrip awards as the sum of two one ways. This can save you up to 50,000 miles per roundtrip awards.
This award will now cost the one way price of Chicago to Hong Kong plus the one way price of Shanghai to Chicago
You still can’t book a one way award with US Airways miles for half the price of a roundtrip, but this is a baby step in the right direction!
Even as the US Airways program and the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with a 40,000 mile sign up bonus on first purchase are set to disappear in early 2015, the program is improving!
- What does it mean to price an award as the sum of its one ways?
- How can this change save you 50,000 miles on a single award?
Until late last year, getting to Europe in business class was much easier than it has been lately, especially for traveling parties of three or more. In December of last year, Austrian Airlines stopped releasing business class award space until about three months before departure. This made advance business class award redemptions for larger parties much more difficult.
In the past I’ve booked families of four to Europe and even to the Middle East on Austrian Airlines, and it is a very solid and comfortable flat bed business class product. See my full review for my thoughts on the onboard chef concept and the comfort of the bed.
Minced veal patty, potatoes, and veggies in Austrian Business Class
I was very excited several weeks ago to discover that Austrian Airlines was again releasing business class award space as soon as the schedule opens for up to four passengers.
- Where does Austrian Airlines fly?
- What kind of business class product do they have?
- What miles are best suited for travel on Austrian Airlines
- How good is award availability?
Recently, I posted about how we can get amazing value from the fact that the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program considers Hawaii to be part of the same region as Central America. We can also use this sweet spot for great value on travel to South America too!
On the Singapore Airline’s award chart, it costs fewer miles to fly between Hawaii and South America, routing through the continental United States, than it does to fly directly between the continental United States and South America.
Adding Honolulu to Houston lowers the price of Houston to Buenos Aires
On the Singapore award chart:
- Continental Unites States to South America: 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy
- Continental Unites States to South America: 100,000 miles roundtrip in business
- Hawaii to South America: 50,000 miles roundtrip in economy
- Hawaii to South America: 80,000 miles roundtrip in business
This is great news for people that live in Hawaii or South America, but it is just as good for people who live in the continental United States!
People who live in the continental United States can use this sweet spot to get a complete vacation to South America and two half trips to Hawaii, all on one award redemption, for fewer miles than simply booking a roundtrip award between the continental United States!
Singapore miles are some of the easiest to get, since Singapore is a transfer partner of Chase, American Express, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
- What are the relevant rules and tricks for this award?
- What variations on this award could we book?
- How can you book this award?
- What about using United miles?
- How can you get Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles?
The biggest mistake in the miles game is collecting the wrong miles for the job.
That’s why I always advocate that people start at their end goal and work backwards. Figure out your dream trip and then figure out the best miles and points to collect for that trip. If you can’t narrow down your plans yet, at least collect flexible points that can cover the most possible trips.
And yet people make the mistake of collecting the wrong miles over and over and in a lot of ways.
- What are four ways that people collect the wrong miles?
- Are you collecting the wrong miles?
Air India has joined the Star Alliance. Its direct flights between the United States and India are now bookable with United miles, Aeroplan miles, Lufthansa miles, Singapore miles, ANA miles, and any other type of Star Alliance miles.
Award space is searchable at aeroplan.com and widely available.
Air India flights from the United States to Europe have fuel surcharges on cash tickets, but awards with United miles never have fuel surcharges, and Aeroplan is currently not collecting fuel surcharges on Air India award flights.
- Where does Air India fly in the United States?
- What cabins does it operate?
- What is the price of an Air India award with United and other Star Alliance miles?
- How can you search for and book an Air India award?
- What amazing deal related to Air India award space probably won’t last?
Avianca LifeMiles has re-classified Guam as part of the Philippines. This ends the ability to book an award from the continental United States to Japan, Hawaii, or Guam for 12,500 LifeMiles in economy or 25,000 miles in business class that lasted as long as Guam was mis-classified as part of the continental United States.
Now an award from the United States to Guam costs 32,500 miles each way in economy and 65,000 miles in business. (Hilariously Guam is still mis-categorized; this time as part of the Philippines.)
I am partially responsible for this deal ending because I wrote about the deal openly in “$200 Flight to Japan with Hidden City Ticketing on LifeMiles Awards.” That post caused a backlash from the “hoard secrets” camp who predicted the award’s immediate demise after my post.
I countered that I doubted Avianca noticed or cared enough to swiftly fix a mistake that had persisted for months. I bet another blogger dinner that Guam would still be mis-categorized as part of the continental United States for at least a month after I wrote the post in December 2013. The mistake lasted another seven months.
Avianca has several mistakes in its categorization of airports and allowed routings. It’s a big deal because you can often buy Avianca LifeMiles for 1.5 cents each or for zero cash by redeeming Arrival miles for LifeMiles.
- What does the end of this deal mean for sharing LifeMiles mistakes?
- What other mistakes on the Avianca chart were not corrected?
Award space is wide open in Virgin Australia Business Class between the United States and Australia during February and March 2015 for 160,000 Delta miles roundtrip.
Premium cabin award space between the United States and Australia on direct flights on United and Qantas is scarce, so this Virgin Australia award space is all the more valuable.
Since 2012, Delta has not collected fuel surcharges on Virgin Australia flights. Roundtrip Delta awards between the United States and Australia cost 100,000 miles in economy and 160,000 miles in Business Class. Virgin Australia Business Class features flat beds that get rave reviews.
- Where does Virgin Australia fly?
- How good is the award space?
- How can you collect Delta miles quickly?
United releases a ton of award space in all cabins–economy, BusinessFirst, and Global First–from Brussels to Washington-Dulles, Newark, and Chicago. These are three little-known routes that allow easy returns from Europe to the United States, even at peak times like May and June 2015, at the lower prices for United awards on United flights.
United partner, Brussels Airlines, has service to Brussels from the rest of Europe, and awards that feature United’s flights are very reasonably priced from Europe to the United States:
Click the cabins for trip reports.
- economy: 30,000 United miles
- fully flat BusinessFirst: 57,500 United miles (vs. 70,000 for partner business class)
- fully flat Global First: 80,000 United miles (vs. 110,000 for partner first class)
Other routes have more award space to Europe, but returning from Europe, United’s Brussels routes are tough to beat.
Now is a great time to book awards to Europe for May and June 2015 for 2+ passengers with United miles!
- How good is the award space out of Brussels?
- What if you don’t want to go to Brussels?
- What routes have more award space to Europe?
- Africa, anyone?
American Airlines releases a ton of award space on its routes to Hawaii at the last minute.
On almost all of American Airlines’ routes from Los Angeles to the four major Hawaiian islands and Dallas/Fort Worth to Oahu and Maui, there is award space for 4+ people in the next few weeks.
If you live in Southern California or North Texas, this is a great chance to use as few as 12,500 Avios per person per direction to get to Hawaii during high season when the weather is a perfect 85 degrees and sunny.
If you live somewhere else, this is a great chance to use 17,000+ Avios or 22,500 American Airlines per person per direction to take advantage of the last-second award space.
If you’d rather fly a different time of year when American Airlines has released no MileSAAver award space, this is a great reminder to look again within a few weeks of departure because American Airlines has been routinely releasing award space a few weeks out on its routes to Hawaii.
- What is the award space for four people from the continental United States to Hawaii on American Airlines flights?
- How can you book that space for 12,500 Avios each way?
- Why might you want to book the space with Avios even if it costs fewer American Airlines miles?
Update July 1, 2014:
The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.
- Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
- Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
- Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
- Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
- Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
- $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members
The Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is offering 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles for only three more days. The offer expires Monday June 30, 2014.
All airline awards require the payment of government taxes, but some Lufthansa awards also incur fuel surcharges. The key to getting huge value from your 55,000 Lufthansa miles is to redeem the miles for awards without fuel surcharges.
You can redeem Lufthansa miles with under $5 in fuel surcharges to the following regions:
- Within North America
- to Hawaii and Alaska
- to Europe
- to Central America
- to South America
- to the Caribbean
- to Africa
- to Asia
Lufthansa miles can be used for flights on all 26 Star Alliance airlines including United. Lufthansa has a competitive award chart with many destinations costing fewer Lufthansa miles than United miles to reach. See “Comparison of United and Lufthansa Award Charts.”
I checked the fuel surcharges on Lufthansa’s partners to find partners and routes with no fuel surcharges or fuel surcharges under $5 per direction.
- What routes and partners can you use to pay zero fuel surcharges on Lufthansa awards?
- How can you figure out the fuel surcharges on a route without calling Lufthansa?
- How can you search for award space for Lufthansa awards.
- How can you book Lufthansa awards?
Award space is still available on several Star Alliance flights to Europe this summer!
Tons of space is bookable with United miles, Lufthansa miles, or miles from any other Star Alliance carrier.
A lot of people are contacting the MileValue Award Booking Service saying they’d love to head to Europe this summer but are resigned to waiting until next summer if there’s no space. Good news! On some routes, there is plenty of space for 2-8 people in economy, business, and first class.
- What routes still have premium cabin award space to Europe this summer?
- What route has award space for eight people to Europe this summer?
- Is there award space on direct flights from the West Coast to Europe?
- What’s available this week?
Singapore Airlines’ award chart has an amazing sweet spot: Hawaii and Central America are in the same region!
Flights “within” the Hawaii/Central America region are only 35,000 Singapore miles roundtrip in economy and 60,000 miles roundtrip in business class.
That 35,000-Singapore-miles award would cost 80,000 United miles. That 60,000-Singapore-miles award would cost 140,000 United miles.
Singapore is a Star Alliance member, so you can fly United flights on these awards, and Singapore never collects fuel surcharges on United flights.
Singapore miles are easy to get, since Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards.
You Don’t Live in Singapore, Hawaii, or Central America. So What?
The primary beneficiaries of the Hawaii/Central America mega-region on the Singapore award chart are people who live in the continental United States. Mainlanders can use this sweet spot to get all the flights for one trip and half the flights for two other trips for a bargain price.
I priced out what amounts to a roundtrip from Denver to Honolulu plus two one ways between Central America and Denver for 35,000 total Singapore miles and about $177. That’s one complete roundtrip and halves of two others for less than what United charges for just the roundtrip to Hawaii.
The award is 80,000-United-miles-worth of flights for 35,000 Singapore miles.
- How does this award fit together?
- Who can take advantage of this trick routing?
- What are the routing rules for Singapore awards?
- How can you get Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles?
- How can you book a Singapore award?
You can see three “destination” cities on one United award, but you need to book a separate ticket with Avios or cash to tie the trip together.
- Why is three the limit?
- Why does seeing even three cities require a second award?
- How can you see four or more cities with United miles?
Getting to the Big Island of Hawaii from the United States mainland is easy with miles. There are a ton of direct flights on several airlines, most of which have fantastic award space. Several of the flights can even be booked for as little as 12,500 miles each way.
I’ve been on the Kona side of Hawaii Island this week with my family, and it has been fantastic.
The snorkeling on this coast is the best I’ve ever experienced. I’ve seen more turtles than I can count, and just last night 1,000-pound manta rays swam within a few feet of me on a beautiful night snorkel.
Plus the weather here is like the rest of Hawaii, but better. Every day has been in the eighties with a nice breeze, and the Kohala Coast (the northern part of the west coast of the Big Island) almost never sees rain in contrast to some parts of the state.
There won’t be any trip reports from this trip because we aren’t staying at a hotel–rented a house for the week–and because my flights are 27 minutes each way. But, better than a trip report, I want to share how you can get here with miles.
- What cities have direct flights to Kona?
- What miles are best to get to Kona?
- What is the award space picture to Kona?
The best award on the entire US Airways award chart could save you 70,000 miles on your next two trips. This sweet spot will almost certainly disappear when the American Airlines and US Airways award charts combine in early 2015, so book it now.
I’ve written twice about the single 120,000 mile US Airways award that includes a roundtrip in First Class to Central or Southeast Asia plus half of a business class roundtrip to the Caribbean or Central America.
Today I’ll give another concrete example of the award. Today’s award includes:
- A Business Class one way return from San Juan, Puerto Rico to our hometown of Charlotte. (The outbound of this Puerto Rican vacation would be booked as a separate award. I suggest Avios now that US Airways is a partner of British Airways.)
- Months later, a roundtrip First Class award from Charlotte to Bangkok in Cathay Pacific First Class.)
Cathay Pacific First Class roundtrip to Bangkok should cost 160,000 US Airways miles on its own, but adding in the return from a prior Caribbean vacation onto the award drops the price to 120,000 US Airways miles roundtrip.
This is my favorite sweet spot–though there are many candidates–on the US Airways award chart, and I think it’s a simple way that a person or family could book their next two trips mostly on one award.
Don’t forget that The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and you can “buy” US Airways miles for 1.67 cents each during its current Share Miles promotion.
- What is my favorite sweet spot on the US Airways award chart?
- How does it save 70,000 miles?
- What are US Airways’ routing rules regarding stopovers and open jaws?
- Where can you search for award space on US Airways partners like Cathay Pacific?
- How can you book a complicated award with US Airways miles?
- Why did booking this award take three phone calls?