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Award seats to New Zealand

Judy

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Flights haven't been posted yet for our dates of travel, but I'm trying to do advance planning. After some research, I concluded that the Star Alliance would be the best way to get award seats from the US to New Zealand because Air New Zealand belongs. We have nearly enough United/Continental miles for business saver tickets, but when I check on continental.com, I find no availability for saver seats and very little in Easy Pass (300,000 miles :eek: ). United doesn't show Partner award seat availability online.

We don't have Elite status on any airline and no miles on Air New Zealand.
Where do I go from here?
 

Dave M

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Don't rule out flying to Australia (Sydney) on UA and from there to Auckland (or another NZ destination) on Air New Zealand. UA generally has easy ticketing to Sydney in business for 190,000 miles (e.g., most days in March 2012), unless you want to go in peak season (Dec-Feb). Tacking on the leg to NZ will not cost any more miles - assuming space is available.

Thus, you'll want to call UA and ask for US to NZ, stating your preference (via Air New Zealand) but expressing your willingness to be routed through Sydney on UA or on some other routing.
 

Pat H

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I have a first class saver ticket on UA to NZ for Jan. I got it the first day tickets were available. I could never find business class at the saver miles. However the outbound is not an easy trek. It's SAV-IAD-SFO-SYD-AKL. I have a several hour layover in SFO and then 8 hrs in SYD! It's UA to SYD and then Air NZ. The way back is a breeze SYD-SFO-IAH-SAV. I put the UA flights on hold and then called to have UA add the NZ segment. I do not have status on UA either. The really sad part about this is that I am going to have cancel my trip to AU/NZ. :bawl:
 

camachinist

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I use the ANA Star Alliance tool to search straight or mixed *A award inventory and then call Mileage Plus and target flights found with appropriate award space. To use it properly, you'll need to join their mileage club and search FlyerTalk for the proper Greasemonkey script to enable functionality, as well as learn tips on how to use the tool.

As a point of clarification, *A awards are 'saver' awards. Standard awards are only available on UA metal, so would be unavailable to NZ. Also, waitlisting is not available in *A itineraries IIRC, so it's not possible, for example, to book XC space SFO-SYD and XY space SYD-AKL and waitlist for XC SYD-AKL, something that would be possible on an all-UA metal itinerary.

One potential and more costly solution is award flights to Australia and revenue trans-Tasman. Jetstar and Virgin offer affordable options in that realm.

As an example, I'm seeing XC (business class) space on NZ007 for October 23 SFO-AKL on the ANA tool as I type this. Further out, I see a lot of XY (economy) space but XC is spotty.

To do international award tickets, I generally use ExpertFlyer and the ANA and AC (Air Canada) tools. The latter two are free. EF is around 100 bucks a year.

Good luck.
 

camachinist

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TBH, not really. It took many years, and hundreds of thousands of flight miles, to get some semblence of 'figured out'. Even then, things are forever changing. I had to check a lot of sources just to provide the opinions and advice, simply because so many things have changed at UA since the CO merger.

Here's the master thread on the ANA tool. Just from reading it, you'll see how much things have changed, not only with the tool, but with Starnet blocking (which can affect the OP), as well as UA procedures over the years. Everything changes.

Knowledge is power and time, energy and dedication are the price of knowledge. Just like in timesharing :)
 
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