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A trick I’m using to save 60k miles by adding a flight

a plane with rows of seats

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Asia Miles has a sweet spot – it’s their One World Multi Partner award

Asia Miles is Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program, a transfer partner of Amex, SPG, and Citi’s Thank You, and it can be fairly cumbersome to use, but if you have patience and know some of the ins and outs, it can be VERY worthwhile. Case in point: Asia Miles’ One World Multi-Partner award. I won’t go into complete detail about the ins and outs in this post, but instead, I wanted to highlight one particular way that you can make use of its preferential pricing structure by simply adding on a single segment.

I’m planning a Brazil/Argentina/Uruguay trip

I’ve been looking at ways to route to South America for a trip I’m planning with my buddy later this year. American has by far the superior business class product, and much better availability and routing. We’d like to fly the long hauls on AA metal, preferably on routes that utilize their 77W or Super Diamond 772s.

I’ll be mixing Alaska and American miles, whereas my buddy will be taking advantage of the Asia miles One World Multi Partner award chart. In order for him to qualify he has to do one of the two following things

  1. Fly on two separate one world airlines
  2. If Cathay is included, the total number of airlines must be 3.

This means we can’t just book in and out of South America using just American metal like we’d prefer. We have to fly one leg on a partner for his ticket to price correctly. So how are we going about doing this? Let’s take a look.

Here’s how many miles it is to fly roundtrip from Chicago to Buenos Aires and back from Montevideo.

Technically, this itinerary should price out according to the cumulative mileage of both legs; however, in practice, you may find a rep that will price this as a normal award. It has just one open jaw so this abides by the routing rules. If you find that rep…then you’ll pay just 120k vs 175k. However, Asia Miles reps are notoriously undertrained and it may take you quite a few attempts to find one that will price it as such. If you want to skip the hassle…keep reading.

If we were to do this using just American’s business class it would price out like this: A whopping 175k Asia miles. Using Asia Miles’ stated policy.

a screenshot of a screen shot of a table

However, if we were to use both American and Latam it would qualify for their One World Multi-Award chart: Price drops to 115k

This chart is distance based and doesn’t restrict you to departing/arriving to the same airport, i.e. open jaws on both ends are permitted along with stopovers. So we could change our departing and arriving airports.

a white table with numbers and red arrow pointing to miles

The flight we are adding on? A flight to the Dominican Republic…at the end.

I’m taking advantage of the liberal routing rules of the multi-award chart which permits 2 open jaws on either end. We can also have 5 stopovers. This means we can route him back to somewhere other than Chicago and incorporate a stopover. This should be allowed per routing rules, even though it is “backtracking”, as it’s a published route.

By adding in the following flight ( on their 787 to boot) you will drop the overall cost by 60k miles.

It allows you to plan a quick trip down to the Dominican at a future date with a free outbound leg. You want to make sure you add this flight to the end of your journey, otherwise, if you can’t make it…the rest of your itinerary will be cancelled.

So his itinerary could potentially look something like this..

This shows routing out of Chicago and into Rio then out of Montevideo and into Punta Cana. 2 open jaws on either end of the trip, with a stopover in Rio and Miami. We’ll buy cheap one way tickets into IGU ( the Brazilian side of Iguazu ) and out of IGR (the Argentinian side). Then take a ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. The long haul segments will be on AA’s metal.

In order to get back to ORD on the date he wants, he’d have to book a positioning leg back with points or a cheap econ ticket. Either way…you can see how incorporating another airline can be advantageous not only in pricing, but optimizing the cabins flown on the long hauls…( the MVD to MIA route flies AA’s retrofit 767 which I haven’t reviewed, so that’d be dope too)

a map of the world with red lines

Have you utilized this trick?


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  • […] The post I wrote spoke of adding a second airline to your itinerary that would qualify the itinerary… ( you need 2 airlines that aren’t Cathay to qualify, or 2 plus Cathay). The example I used was a trip to South America, whereby, this trick would allow you to fly roundtrip for just 115k miles instead of 175k with a single carrier. If you do this by June 22nd, apply the 15% bonus, you could do the same itinerary for just 100k Thank You points. […]

  • […] the past month I’ve written about the uses of Asia Miles: using multi award chart to save miles, and how to fly r/t to South America in biz for 85k miles. Asia Miles are a frequently overlooked […]

  • […] A trick I’m using to save 60k miles by adding a flight […]

  • […] If you’re looking for more than a one way ticket, you may be interested in the Multi-Carrier Award. Not only will you reduce the number of miles it takes from 120k to 115k, you’ll also lower your overall taxes and fees. Check out our post on Multi-Carrier award tix. […]

  • FindingMyPossible March 16, 2018

    I’m missing something because I dont understand why you are booking IGR to IGU or how you are getting from Rio to Buenos Aires. Could you clarify this for me?

    • Miles March 16, 2018

      Hey – Sorry for the confusion. I wouldn’t be booking that ticket, as I’ll just cross the border. So I’d be booking GIG to IGU and then IGR to EZE, but at the time of booking neither of those tickets are actually available, so in order to lock down the long hauls flights on the multi carrier chart, I’d add in the final leg

      • FindingMyPossible March 17, 2018

        Oh I understand thanks — it was a late night. What do you use to find availability on flights like this? I’ve been wanting to visit Buenos Aires from Chicago for a few months and this trip sounds like a lot of fun.

        • Miles March 17, 2018

          The AA space you can search using – BA will show you MOST LATAM space, but to find true avail on LATAM you need to use their search engine…it only searches R/T and doesn’t give great calendar view, but nonetheless it’ll give you the true space avail as it’s often blocked from BA or AA websites, but avail to book with either points, and Asia Miles for that matter…

  • […] News and notes from around the interweb: Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles is a transfer partner of American Express and Citibank. You can use their miles to redeem travel on oneworld airlines like American, LAN, Qantas, etc. And you can add a throwaway flight to qualify for their oneworld award chart and save big miles. […]

  • Leo March 13, 2018

    Hi Alan,

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. Asia Miles single carrier chart would actually price out at 120K (Zone D) round trip since the distance in miles is for each way. You can also use Asia Miles’ website to verify.

    Also, not sure if the one-world itinerary is a valid routing due to the back-tracking rules (MVD-to MIA) on Asia miles.

    Leo from Guam

    • Miles March 13, 2018

      think you’re right…gonna verify tomorrow, but I think it was lapse on my part

  • Alan March 13, 2018

    you read the award chart incorrectly, the round trip award is of zone D. the distance is maximize of the two one ways as opposed to the sum of 2 one-ways.
    (otherwise, what is the point of one way award vs round trip award)

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