Here’s a sweet, first-world dilemna. You know a couple of weeks back I posted about the US Airways 100% bonus miles promotion? Well, I said at the time that, while I was strongly considering it, but I wouldn’t jump on the offer. I think I may have changed my mind.
I just put on hold a return flight from Sydney to Wellington (via Auckland) in Air NZ business class for a conference I plan to attend in February next year, with the intention of deciding (quickly!) whether to book. The best part? The cost is about the same or less as an Economy flight on QF or NZ.
Here’s how the fare breaks down.
- SYD-AKL-WLG return – Business SYD-AKL, and as no Business Class is used AKL-WLG, in Economy AKL-WLG
- 30,000 Dividend Miles required for $412.50 (US) thanks to the 100% promotion
- $85.38 US in Taxes and Fees
- $50 US for another surcharge – I think because it’s an international partner redemption
- Total = ~$548 US, or at today’s exchange rates, $525 AU.
Some interesting things I learnt/confirmed along the way…
- US Airways phone customer service has, so far, been pretty knowledgeable, friendly and helpful
- Getting the fares/taxes calculated took longer than 20 mins on hold – the agent was good about it, continued to hold with at her end and added them to the booking after I hung up
- Fees for a date change before departure would be $150 (US) as an international itinerary
- I can keep the award on hold for 3 days to decide and buy the points
- Award Nexus is a great way to scope out Star Alliance (and Oneworld, for that matter) availability.
The normal cost of a standard (direct) Economy fare during a sale period would be around $480-$500, and at the minute runs to about $600. I was considering doing SYD-AKL on LAN in Business and AKL-WLG on Jetstar in order to accrue Qantas points and SC’s to retain Gold for my 2012/13 membership year. However, this would cost about $900 all up, is something I’ve done before, and I’m not certain I’ll be able to fly enough to retain QF Gold by August 2012 anyway… so my current thinking is that I am best not to trade time and money for a chance at status, and to do new and interesting things instead, like this! I’d get to sample the Koru Club’s in Sydney, Auckland and Wellington, and not have to get up at the crack of dawn for the LAN departure at about 6am. I would lose about 3000 Qantas points (not worth worrying about) and 180 status credit’s (more of an issue but only if I do care about QF Gold retention).
I guess I could put the money saved against a Qantas Club membership if I thought that was suitable for my future travel plans at the time, and it would be good to end up not repeating the LAN and JQ combination that I did already this year.