Thanks to the Aeroplan glitch (or unadvertised “promotion”), I put together a quick trip to Sydney and Auckland in business class for myself during Christmas and New Years. While the award is hardly maximized, it worked out reasonably considering the limited business class availability across the Atlantic and Asia between Christmas and New Years by traveling via Europe. Considering I spent 76k Membership Rewards points (and bought 4k Aeroplan miles), the itinerary is a steal compared to spending 130k United Mileage Plus miles.
When I had been looking at possible routings over the weekend before I booked, my transpacific segments were constrained by United and Air New Zealand’s then award availability. United had plenty of seats from the US west coast to Australia at Christmas but none back for New Years. Air New Zealand had good availability around Christmas, some availability around New Years back to North America, and almost nothing to or from Australia. The fickleness of these award seats is represented somewhat in my routing via Vancouver. Originally, I had been considering returning from Auckland via San Francisco, picking up a United flight back to Newark. Around lunchtime, that seat disappeared, leaving me looking for new transpacific openings; I found AKL-YVR. To get back to New York, I tacked on an Air Canada segment to Los Angeles and, thanks to Aeroplan’s allowance of two stopovers in addition to the destination, added a stop in Los Angeles to wait for flights with suitable transcontinental award availability.
In the intervening two weeks, Air New Zealand did open up seats to San Francisco and Los Angeles direct from Auckland, I kept the routing via Vancouver. The one upside of paying UA’s normal award rates is that I can call and make changes for free as a 1K; changes to these Aeroplan awards might require more miles, miles that I don’t have (any more because I spent them on a trip to Asia in March :D). If nothing else, I’ll be able to stop by to get my NEXUS iris scan done and see what Air Canada has in way to offer at its Maple Leaf Lounge. Around 2AM EST Wednesday, I noticed that UA had opened up some availability right after New Years in p.s. business class. When I got up to call Aeroplan at 7AM to adjust my outbound flight to p.s. as well to consolidate the change fee, the “promotion” had ended, but I was able to change out my Continental segments for ones on United p.s. While I’ve flown numerous times in both of these cabins this year, p.s. still holds its distinction for me. With these tweaked segments, my new itinerary is New York Kennedy to San Francisco to Sydney to Auckland to Vancouver to Los Angeles to New York Kennedy, traveling 21947 miles in 10 days.