Free First Class Next Month: Using BA.com for oneworld Awards

Hey there, you're reading an outdated post! The updated series from April 2015 can be found here.

This is the twenty-fifth post in a monthlong series. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete.

Roundtrip Flat Beds (Business) to Europe for Under $1,500 All In

Update 8/2/13: TACA still charges only 1.5 cents per mile during frequent 2 x 1 sales (like the current one in August 2013).

Six and a Half Hours on a Flat Bed in a Dreamliner for 25,000 United Miles

United recently acquired several Boeing 787 Dreamliners and announced the first international routes that will be serviced by the plane.

But before those routes start, United will fly the plane between its domestic hubs. The very first flights haven't been announced, but United did release the routes the planes will fly between November 4 and March 31. (H/T Mommy Points.)

To me, this is huge news.

How Americans Can Exploit US Airways’ Cheap Awards from South America

Yesterday I talked about some great sweet spots on the US Airways chart for awards originating in South America. Maybe you thought that post was irrelevant for Americans.

But Americans can still get half the value of these sweet-spot awards by using open jaw itineraries.

US Airways sweet-spot awards can have tremendous value for Americans if they're employed as part of something I'll call a triangle award.

A triangle award is using three or more oneway itineraries to create a journey that includes two or more destinations.

How to Use Wikipedia to Book Awards Like a Pro

Tom writes:

I've seen you mention wikipedia a couple of times when talking about building awards and figuring out where airlines fly - what exactly do you use wikipedia for?  Have you done a post about this?

I did write one post that touched on using wikipedia: Book Awards Like a Pro: Routing Ideas. But I'll answer the question of how I use wikipedia more fully.

For me, the two best places to get routing ideas are kayak.com and wikipedia.

Save $100 or More When Canceling a United Award

Normally canceling a United award incurs a $150 per ticket fee if you don't have United status, but I know two tricks to reduce or eliminate that fee.

Ordinarily, when you cancel a trip, you get back the miles and the taxes you paid less a $150 fee. So if you had a Pittsburgh to LAX economy award ticketed, you'd get back your 12,500 miles and $2.50 taxes, but you'd pay $150.

The net result is equivalent to buying 12,500 miles for $147.50.

Tranferring Hawaiian Miles to Hilton

Hawaiian Airlines Miles transfer to Hilton points at a ratio of one Hawaiian Miles to two Hilton points. This is the same ratio as Virgin Atlantic miles transfer to Hilton points.

While I recommended transferring Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton points--I personally transferred 45,000 Virgin Atlantic Miles to Hilton points last month--because of the huge fuel surcharges imposed on Virgin Atlantic awards, I don't generally recommend transferring Hawaiian Miles.

Hawaiian Miles are valuable because Hawaiian releases incredible amounts of award space on its flights and flies to more mainland destinations from Hawaii than any other carrier.

Redeem for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class without Surcharges

Warning: I'm only 90% confident in the information in this post. It took several calls and a few hours on the phone talking to incompetent agents to get this information, so I'll provide it without triple-checking. I invite commenters to check my work.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is an incredible business class product by all indications.

Specific Example of Free American Airlines Award Stopover Outside the USA

Yesterday, I posted about getting free stopovers on American Airlines awards outside the USA. Hopefully I opened a few eyes, and I certainly caused some confusion. So I'll give a concrete example of getting a free stopover outside the USA on an AA award with screen shots.

This award will go from Los Angeles to Shanghai with a stopover in Tokyo.

How to Get Almost Free Oneways on AA Awards If You Don’t Live at an International Gateway City

Update: The trick in this post doesn't work anymore since American Airlines has eliminated all free stopovers on awards as of April 2014.

Yesterday's post greatly expanded the number of places you can get a stopover on American Airlines award by combining an AA award with a cheap Avios award. I'm sure many of your minds jumped to the big question: if you can get a cheap stopover almost anywhere, can you get a cheap oneway too? Yes!

We got great value out of the almost free stopovers outlined yesterday.