Playing award roulette – place your bets

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Over the last several weeks I’ve been lining up, albeit quite loosely, a trip for my fiancee and I to Asia ( hence the ANA first class posts). Yesterday, I wrote about my success getting an ANA to THAI ticket in first class booked using email. Score..right? Yes, of course, but here’s the thing. I have one ticket, we leave within a week, and I’m completely gambling that ANA and Thai will release more first class seats. Because…I don’t have one. She does.

While some airlines, (Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines ) release seats according a relatively predictable schedule, neither ANA nor Thai exhibit the same such structure within this timeframe. Sure, if I were booking tickets next June I’d, more than likely, see 2 ANA first class seats available. But, I’m not, and close-in, ANA doesn’t reliably release with any sort of consistent pattern.  Thai, more so than ANA, seems to release a ton of space the closer it gets, and with a far higher liklihood will fill the cabin up with award seats. I’m not as worried about them releasing as I am the exact flight on the exact day on ANA to pair up with my fiancee.

Here’s the other thing. More than likely I won’t be able to book it myself because I’m looking to book with LifeMiles as well, and for whatever reason, space is getting messed up out of LA. While it’s a bit stressful, it’s also super fun. If you’ve followed this ANA debacle at all, then you’ll probably recall that we had 2 seats in First out of Houston. Oh…those were the days. The problem is a sudden conflict arose and we couldn’t use those flights, and within 3 weeks of travel the trip was torn apart.

I have alerts set and as soon as it opens I’m going to hop on it. Worst case…I’ll fly business, or even ( gasp ) route via another city that has first on the long haul, so I can review it, and then meet up with her in Tokyo before continuing on down to Bangkok. There are a few cities on the same day that have F space available, but it’d be nice to experience it all together. And as I said, worst case I’d fly in biz and she’d go first, but it’d be really nice to experience it all together. These aren’t real problems obviously, but who doesn’t want to fly the best for the least miles and most value?

The real anxiety…I’m waiting to book every single other part of the trip until the first leg, which is in less than a week, is locked down. We have 2 hotel nights booked, that’s it. It’s between 2 and 3 weeks long. It will be an absolute monsoon season of booking once that piece falls into place. Oh, and we can’t really delay leaving because we’re meeting up with friends part way through the trip. And, we need to be back by a certain time. I’ve often left on trips without any way of getting home, but this is different.

Anyways…am I crazy, or would you do something similar? Here’s the ANA cabin right now…fingers crossed!!!

a close-up of a plane

All this…for this cubicle. And Krug.

an office cubicle with a chair
ANA First Class – courtesy of ANA

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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