This week I was able to successfully help a friend book her family (3 in total) in business class from their home in Nicaragua to Asia and Europe, all for only 90,000 US Airways miles per person. They got the US Airways miles by doing quite a bitch of miles transfers back and forth to one another using the US Airways Share Miles Promotion. As a Central America to South Asia Award, it is only 90,000 miles per person in business class (North America to South Asia is 120,000 miles per person!)
Once she had assembled 90,000 miles in each account, we begun to look for availability during her flexible dates in September in October of next year. We settled on a destination of Bangkok and a stopover in Istanbul. The hardest part was actually finding availability from their home airport, Managua (MGA), to catch feeder flights to Asia. Houston to Beijing on China Airlines was wide open for most days of the calendar in September and October 2013, but sadly United never had 3 seats in economy or business from Managua to Houston to catch it.
Also the return from Europe proved tricky for 3 with all the “conventional” flights not showing availability. Turkish Airways, which has a great 777 business class product, has decent availability for its new routes, including Istanbul to New York JFK, Houston, and Toronto. We found twice in a month 3 seats available on Istanbul to JFK on Turkish.
Also going from Bangkok to Istanbul was tricky. Turkish Airways flies this route direct, but only has availability for 2 and not 3. Fortunately, Swiss Air had Bangkok to Zurich availability for 3 in business class on their wonderful A346 product for most Mondays – Wednesdays in October.
So here is how the routing ended up for 3, all seats in business class:
Managua – Panama City – New York JFK (22 hour layover to explore the city) [copa airlines, copa airlines]
New York JFK – Taipei – Bangkok (destination) [EVA airlines, EVA airlines]
Bangkok – Zurich – Istanbul (stopover) [Swiss airlines, Turkish airlines]
Istanbul – New York JFK – Panama City – Managua (return home) [Turkish Airlines, copa airlines, copa airlines)
All-3 long-haul segments (New York – Taipei; Bangkok – Zurich; Istanbul – New York) are on great 777 lay-flat business products. There is a chance the New York to Taipei flight will be on the special “Hello Kitty” equipment.
They will have 2 weeks in Bangkok and 3 in Istanbul. Taxes and fees came to $150 per ticket (plus US Airways $50 booking fee).
This is a fabulous award value for 90,000 points for business class which will go away soon once US Airways goes onto American’s platform.
Note that this has 9 segments, technically US Airways only allows 8 but if you start the conversation with the agent saying, “I just want to confirm that you can have 5 segments in each direction, is that correct?” If they say yes i continue forward. We had 10 originally but 4 one way, 6 the other which US Airways wouldn’t allow. So we pared it back to 4 in one direction and 5 the other.