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#936752 by stagsfan
21 Jul 2017, 15:52
I am looking to book a return trip to the west coast USA for Jul/Aug 2018 (2 pax). My ideal scenario is UC rewards both ways and am happy with any of the four routes available (LHR/SFO:LHR/LAX:LGW/LAS:MAN/LAS). We are pretty flexible on outbound date and duration from 17-20 nights. Actually would prefer to upgrade EC-UC if possible to save some miles for next time.

I am well aware that the inbound UC reward seats are scarce (on previous trips had UC reward out and cash UC return). Given that I cannot do a combi award/cash return flight anymore I think I have the following options:-

a) If possible get the UC seats outbound before returns are released. When I look now LHR-SFO seems to have two UC seats for some days in June 2018, so may continue to be the case in July/Aug 2018. For this I think it has to be a full UC reward (not an upgrade). For the return I carry the risk that no reward seats are available on any day that works. If they are available then I may have to take an EC/PE reward and hope that UC pops up in the following 11 months.

b) Wait until both ways are on sale for dates that work for me, and then try and find dates with UC availability either way. I can then book a cash EC fare and upgrade where rewards are available, and then keep trying for the next 11 months to get UC rewards both ways (or even get to PE first and then hope for UC).

Are the above the two ways of doing this these days?

In either case if I manage to get an UC reward out but cannot get one back, could I do a cash upgrade on inbound flight if a sale came along, or is that prevented if I have used miles on the outbound?
#936796 by walesflyer
22 Jul 2017, 21:07
Hi, we failed to reward flights to SFO/LAX when we looked for our West Coast trip this summer, and ended up booking Gs to Seattle instead. We have made it part of our trip, and getting the train down to SFO and then doing a road trip back up. Might give you a bit more flexibility to combine with internal flights further South?
#936834 by blindman
25 Jul 2017, 10:15
Mid August this year I am flying 8 family members to the West coast (and back) mostly in UC using miles.
Going to watch the Eclipse. :D
Research 12 months +beforehand found for UC miles availability at the earliest they could be booked (maximum days out and 00:01) :-O

Outbound
LHR-LAS\LAX 99% NIL in July\August, with the “odd” seat popping up randomly.
LHR-SFO Better, but only with 2 usually in mid week (Tues-Thurs).
LHR-SEA Good. 2 usually on weekends (snapped up quickly) 9+ on Tues-Thurs.
Looked at LGW\LAS and MAN-LAS IIRC there was better availability but other factors made these route a no go.

Inbound to LHR
LAS\LAX NIL
SFO Better
SEA Good as per the above.

Bottom line:- Booked
Outbound 4 UC, 4 PE LHR-SEA-Had to be Thursday though-Only 2 availableFrid\Saturday
Inbound 2UC SEA-LHR Saturday
6 UC SFO-LHR Tuesday (Kids going to Disney-we're not).

Booked as many UC as possible then PE and Y seats were slowly upgraded to UC as they came available.
Got it all sorted by 23rd December after starting the booking process in September and checking daily

I did some research re last-minute seats and they were more favourable BUT as this was such a huge risk I deemed it was not worth my sanity.

In your case with 2 seats have you checked the availability for August 2017 to see if there are any last minute?

So it’s not easy but it’s doable
#936872 by stagsfan
26 Jul 2017, 11:40
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I agree that SFO looks a better bet. Hadn't thought of SEA, although for this trip not sure as we want to be CA (south), Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. However SEA does appeal for a Oregon, Washington trip in the future.
#936873 by Pianofunk
26 Jul 2017, 12:00
FYI I've managed to get PE reward return flights LGW-LAS for Aug/Sep, booked in June and two 'G's appeared both outbound and inbound since that booking; admittedly, it took some perseverance, checking the site at every available opportunity but it was definitely a risk worth taking for me
#936877 by Hev60
26 Jul 2017, 17:07
stagsfan wrote:Thanks for taking the time to respond. I agree that SFO looks a better bet. Hadn't thought of SEA, although for this trip not sure as we want to be CA (south), Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.


Best of luck obtaining your choices. Wow Arizona, Utah & Nevada in July/August :-O
Be prepared to feel like an egg in a frying pan :-D
#936976 by SNOMO
28 Jul 2017, 16:49
Hev60 wrote:Best of luck obtaining your choices. Wow Arizona, Utah & Nevada in July/August :-O
Be prepared to feel like an egg in a frying pan :-D

My thoughts too
#937459 by Eggtastico
12 Aug 2017, 13:44
stagsfan wrote:Slight change of plans. Now got UC rewards both ways MAN-SFO for June next year.


Nice,
I am off to SF in June next year as well. I should have checked 'whats on' in SF before booking. Just happens to be SF Pride weekend. So chances of finding a good deal on a hotel will be slim :(
If you planning on Yosemite, then get accomodation booked now! not much available inside the park its self.
#937460 by stagsfan
12 Aug 2017, 17:09
Eggtastico wrote:
stagsfan wrote:Slight change of plans. Now got UC rewards both ways MAN-SFO for June next year.


Nice,
I am off to SF in June next year as well. I should have checked 'whats on' in SF before booking. Just happens to be SF Pride weekend. So chances of finding a good deal on a hotel will be slim :(
If you planning on Yosemite, then get accomodation booked now! not much available inside the park its self.


Haven't mapped the whole itinery out yet, but Yosemite is about 80% certain. Not actually going to SFO (have been there before), so get in car and on our way.
#937556 by seany
16 Aug 2017, 11:33
I'm not sure what has happened this morning, possibly a glitch? But VS have released absolutely bucketloads of UC reward availability to the west coast, well SFO at least, yesterday I could see 1 flight in 5 week window...Today I see over 30 flights in the same SEP/OCT window.
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