Monday, October 22, 2012

2 Vacations, one cost

My wife and I are planning our next summer vacation, I know it’s too early, but the biggest benefit is you have lots of availability in terms of award tickets. We have too many options, Asia, Europe, Hawaii, Cancun. Since we will have our X’mas2012 trip to Bahamas, we figured Europe and Hawaii are our best bet.
I have enough AA to cover the Hawaii trip if we opt for 8/22 off peak rate, it costs me 35k per person or 140,000 AA miles the whole family, which if you apply for three credit cards(two personal and one business) you will get those miles.
I also want to travel to Europe in off-peak with 40k per person, so I was hesitating to redeem my AA miles solely for Hawaii.
I also want my kids to spend some time in Japan to enjoy the food and diversity culture, so the decision was made fairly quickly: let us have a longer vacation in both Japan and Hawaii. Here is why.
1.      It costs us the same award miles to go to Japan and stop-over in Hawaii, thanks for the United rules.
2.      We plan to stop-over in HNL for a week and head to Tokyo
3.      We plan to visit Osaka, Kyoto and maybe Hokkaido during one week trip. JR pass is a MUST to buy in advance
4.      From NRT(Tokyo), we directly fly back to SEA via ANA’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (did I tell you I love ANA?)


In a nutshell

Below is my itinerary and let me highlight something real quick
1.      HNL is a free stop-over and it doesn’t cost us much. 65000x4=260,000 miles, that’s a lot, however, our hobby will get the miles in a few months, right?
2.      For the United rule, take a look at MileValue post here. To be honest with you, I’ve never figured out precisely, however I plan to add one more leg of free one-way from SEA to LAS sometime in later 2013 by calling United to my itinerary. (I will do an elite platinum challenge, so the $25 phone booking fee will be waived)
3.      JR Pass will save us tons of coins when travel in Japan
4.      We will enjoy the 787 dreamliner on our way back from Japan.
5.      We saved AA miles for another trip for Europe in off-peak reason.


Final Words

This post has a lot of info that I want to share with you.
1.      Asia/Hawaii vacations are better go together. Breaking down a 11 hours flight into two 8 hours will ease the pain(long haul and timezone) when traveling with young children.(there is no direct from SEA to HNL via United award ticket)
2.      If you want to take the offer of share US Airway 100% bonus before 10/31, do it, it costs you only 1.13 CPM. US Airway is a member of Star alliance and you can redeem the same thing above. Plus their off-peak to Europe in business class only cost you 60k. If you have Barclay card, it costs you 55k.
3.      AA flies Europe off-peak with only 40k coach, it’s better use that way.

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