New Zealand and/or Australia - Feb 2020

knick1959

Level 2 Member
#1
Hi gang,

This forum has been very good to me ... my trip to SE Asia is all ready to execute in 2 months. I only asked for minor help with Chile/Iguazu Falls in April and that's ready to go. Thanks. Did my own plans for 3 Washington NPs next summer and Scotland/Iceland in the fall. Next year is quite full and mostly booked barring some hotels. Time to start planning for 2020.

I've done quite a bit of reading and what I find mentioned as carriers/routes to chase seems not to be available or impractical. For example, one article suggested CX to Hong Kong and then onto either of these countries was "easy". I see no awards from HKG to either poking around all sorts of dates. AA and AS are supposed to offer possibilities but I don't see the ones mentioned. using BA's search engine doesn't help either. One route, mainland to Hawaii and then on showed some promise and offered to break the trip up, but to get to Hawaii is somewhat convoluted and greatly increases the total elapsed time to get to NZ or Australia and that's w/out spending any time in HI!

What I did find was a prototype nonstop from Houston (I'd still have to get from CLE to there, but I can do that) - 17:20 elapsed time for 80k UA in J. This either to Sydney or Auckland (with a 2 hour stop in Sydney, which could work out nicely if I can extend that). I did not check for a return flight home yet; I will tonight.

What am I missing? Is UA my best/only option? Flying with my wife from CLE and wanting to get there with the long flights in J and without wasting 3 days each way. We will have 14-15 maybe 16 days total. NZ is more of the priority for me, but if we have to fly through an Australian city and can make it a longer stay, even better. What happens in the middle is still not gelled, I just need to get over there and back over here.

We have:
360k+ UR and 70K UA,
370k + 370k AA (and constantly growing)
200k + 91k AMEX MR
200k + 110k AS
60k Delta + 38k BA
Small, loose change elsewhere that isn't going to help (CX, HA)

So a UA flight would work for us even if it takes most of our UR. But we have miles in other places, I just can't see how to apply them to this trip. Any creative ideas?

Do I have to book a RT on UA to get a stopover in Sydney? Or can I do that on a one-way?

Thanks in advance.
 
#2
We’re doing NZ in March 2019... We used Alaska miles about 11 months out for our trip. AS and Fiji airline for outbound... DCA/LAX/NAN/CHC (last segment in coach but its relatively short.) Had same issues on return with no CX space out of NZ for the month. There was space out of SYD or MEL but ultimately decided to take the SQ A380 AKL/SIN and then get our AS award on CX return to IAD from there via HK. SQ, the A380, and Changi airport will all be new for us so worth the extra day of travel time to experience. Using Virgin Atlantic miles for this.

Additional thoughts... if you are going in February, there may be additional seasonal flights... I know CX has an extra flight or two to NZ up through February and I did see availability on a couple of those flights but since we are going in March, couldn’t take advantage. Also check CHC (CX has seasonal there) as well as AKL... and perhaps WLG as well for other international connections.
 

knick1959

Level 2 Member
#3
We’re doing NZ in March 2019... We used Alaska miles about 11 months out for our trip. AS and Fiji airline for outbound... DCA/LAX/NAN/CHC (last segment in coach but its relatively short.) Had same issues on return with no CX space out of NZ for the month. There was space out of SYD or MEL but ultimately decided to take the SQ A380 AKL/SIN and then get our AS award on CX return to IAD from there via HK. SQ, the A380, and Changi airport will all be new for us so worth the extra day of travel time to experience. Using Virgin Atlantic miles for this.

Additional thoughts... if you are going in February, there may be additional seasonal flights... I know CX has an extra flight or two to NZ up through February and I did see availability on a couple of those flights but since we are going in March, couldn’t take advantage. Also check CHC (CX has seasonal there) as well as AKL... and perhaps WLG as well for other international connections.
Which search tool did you use to find the CX flights? I've booked these before (with AA miles) but found them via the BA flight search. Not seeing much offered for the next trip, but I'll keep watching and add the cities you mentioned to my searches. Thanks!

Edit: Ah, I see you didn't find the CX flights you wanted. I'll keep searching and add in additional cities.
 

italdesign

Level 2 Member
#5
I *think* this is still current:

ANA miles to Oceania. J=105-120k RT (one way not possible IIRC). 105=Off peak, 115=Normal, 120=High/Partner. Stopover in Tokyo possible. YQ=~ $200
 

knick1959

Level 2 Member
#7
I *think* this is still current:

ANA miles to Oceania. J=105-120k RT (one way not possible IIRC). 105=Off peak, 115=Normal, 120=High/Partner. Stopover in Tokyo possible. YQ=~ $200
VERY interesting, thanks for the pointer. As it is, I can fly the same UA flight over (to SYD) and Air China (via Beijing, which isn't ideal to me but OK) back from AKL for 120k and $284 in fees. This is using Houston as a US base and I'll play around with that some more. And I'll play with making SYD merely a stopover for a couple of days. I did again use BA to search from some of those other recommended NZ cities but it isn't being helpful at the moment. 3+ months before I can book anyway! Will keep looking.
 

knick1959

Level 2 Member
#8
Funny. The weekends seem to be very quiet on these forums. For whatever reason, I feel more chatty on the weekends (and often end up talking to myself. No problem; people tend to join in later). I'm just rambling here, thanks in advance if you happen to read it.

The @italdesign pointer to ANA had me going search-crazy. "Unfortunately" it's also presented some interesting options that don't really fit into a tight 2 week trip. I guess it could, but I don't want to throw too much in and cheat the primary destination.

First, the ANA option is particularly interesting because it IS only 120k RT (and $300-400 in fees, depending on stopovers). The ~$400 in fees is for IAH->SYD (2 full days)->AKL->IAH. Coming home, the shortest option is via Beijing. From a previous thread I was reminded of how cold this city is in the winter; I'm saving Northern China for a more summer-like trip. But as just a layover city it would work.

The other route offered coming home (and I will see how creative I can get here searching for my own connections) is AKL->SIN->Tokyo->IAH. Singapore averages 88F in Feb and Tokyo 50F, both workable temps. My mind has me thinking both as stopovers ... but that would make 3 total in a 2 week trip! Certainly I can't do this; I'd have to extend the trip (at the expense of another trip that year, possible but I am resisting) or save the Sydney stop for a more-thorough visit to Australia (which has to be done anyway!). And/or only do one of these as a stopover - Singapore seems IMO to be the more bang for the buck as Japan is too large and full of history and also needs a thorough visit. 2 days in Singapore? All to be toyed with over time, and I haven't even fiddled with forcing other cities in. And I'll still keep searching for other carriers.

Too much time and too many options! This, when I thought I only had one choice. Thanks AGAIN!!
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
#9
I feel you on this. I went through all sorts of routes to return from AKL-NYC and eventually settled for AKL-LAX non stop on AA (Y) then on to JFK. Came close to the following routes:

AKL-NAN (paid or points) then NAN-home (LAX non stop-JFK)
AKL-PPT (paid) PPT- home (nothing great)
AKL-HNL (paid) HNL-home (found AA 'F' for ~40K)

It's a hard route to nail down.. I did look at some China airports as options (would be the long way around, but might get business class)

In the end, I kinda gave up on it.. figured that non stop to LA was as good as we could get for this trip, and live to fight another day.
 
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