MileHighOffice
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:36 am

Finding Award Seats In F & J Long-haul

Sat May 28, 2011 3:38 am

With the amount of frequent fliers and mileage points balances growing exponentially, and the economics of flying, it is getting harder and harder to secure award seats particularly in F and J. That being said, I see F go out with plenty of spare seats all the time (except US carriers seem to fill the front with upgrades more frequently -- have very rarely ever seen an empty seat on AA or UA in F or J in last 10 years) Would be curious to know others' experiences on carriers as to who is easiest to find seats on.

I am 1K on UA, Gold on EK and Platinum on QF (so top tier on all three) and find it hard to use points when/where I want to even several months in advance.

My experience has been:

UA is very good at securing upgrades/award seats on UA, I have never been able to use my points on *Alliance partners. Have tried to get F and J on SQ through UA and have not found one seat, ever. Also have not been able to get on NZ in 5 years using points. (Anyone know any tricks to getting award seats using Star mile in F or J (assume suites are impossible?) on SQ using partner awards? )

Emirates I have not tried to use my points, as I need several more EU trips to have enough for an award SYD-DXB-IAH in F, as it is around a billion points.

Qantas really has made me mad when I have tried to book F using points and been told no... and the plane flew with 10 empty seats in F (happened enough that I stopped flying paid J and using my points on QF long haul altogether). They have usually been able to get me F and J award seats on CX and BA relatively easily though, which was good. Really makes me p*ssed off when AAdvantage members can book the same QF flights for almost half the points. PER-JFK in F/J is an example. AA is about half and it is on the same exact aircraft as if you booked via QF Frequent Flyer!

Years ago I found BA to be very good at finding seats/upgrades, DL was excellent and AA was generally good with a bot of notice or last minute.

SQ is seemingly impossible using my UA points   
 
User avatar
legacyins
Posts: 1836
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:11 pm

RE: Finding Award Seats In F & J Long-haul

Sat May 28, 2011 4:09 am

I just tried booking F at CX using AAmiles and had no luck. ended up getting a seat on AA in F from SFO-LAX-PVG. Interesting to note, the AA agent told me CX is usually pretty stingy using award miles in J/F from the U.S..
 
ooslc
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:51 am

RE: Finding Award Seats In F & J Long-haul

Sat May 28, 2011 5:50 am

Yeah was looking up for a friend....with his CO miles. Almost anything I looked at the southeast Asia sent me to LAX then BKK on TG...He wants to fly on SQ but they never pulled up. Oh and I found it hard on CO as well to secure F seats. Then looking at Europe most of them sent him to FRA on LH or TP to LIS. Which isn't bad or anything but never saw a CO flight pull up with Saverpass only Easypass. This is flying out of MIA.

[Edited 2011-05-27 22:51:00]
 
thegman
Posts: 506
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:30 am

RE: Finding Award Seats In F & J Long-haul

Sat May 28, 2011 5:39 pm

Quoting OOSLC (Reply 2):
Yeah was looking up for a friend....with his CO miles. Almost anything I looked at the southeast Asia sent me to LAX then BKK on TG...He wants to fly on SQ but they never pulled up. Oh and I found it hard on CO as well to secure F seats. Then looking at Europe most of them sent him to FRA on LH or TP to LIS. Which isn't bad or anything but never saw a CO flight pull up with Saverpass only Easypass. This is flying out of MIA.

CO does not have a long-haul F cabin, that is why.
 
Quokka
Posts: 1315
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:26 pm

RE: Finding Award Seats In F & J Long-haul

Sun May 29, 2011 2:30 am

When flying with EK, normally I don't try to book award seats but book a flight in one cabin and then upgrade if I have sufficient air miles. The benefit is that the flight then earns more air miles and tier miles as the ticket is for a revenue fare, while award tickets don't earn anything.

So far I have been able to upgrade flights or sectors when booking, although occasionally I have only been able to upgrade sectors individually as they became available, which costs more miles.

Maybe the airlines prefer upgrades because they are still gaining revenue on the flight, but part of the problem is that there are so many ways of earning miles/ points without actually flying: credit card purchases; linked hotel loyalty schemes; car rental; you name it and it possibly earns something. This has the downside of increasing competition for those scarce seats. And it has resulted in restrictions on other benefits: no more being able to take a guest into the lounge in Dubai as a Gold Member, no more priority luggage for Silver, etc.
 
nyc2theworld
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:58 am

RE: Finding Award Seats In F & J Long-haul

Sun May 29, 2011 5:42 am

I actually secured the following using CO miles...but I booked at the 330 day mark almost exact.

JFK-LAX in Y/E+ - UA
LAX - SYD in F- UA
return:
SYD-BKK-NRT in F - UA
NRT-LAX in F - NH
LAX-JFK in F UA

The fourm site dedicated to frequent travelers has tips/tricks on how you can find availability on flights. Suffice to say UA is notorious for blocking *A awards on partner airlines.
Always wonderers if this "last and final boarding call" is in fact THE last and final boarding call.

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