Tuesday, 18 March 2014

BOOKING A HOLIDAY ON REWARDS A CASE STUDY II

PART III

GETTING TO LOS CABOS

None of BA's partners fly direct from Las Vegas to Los Cabos (in fact, I don't think ANYONE flies directly). American Airlines, does fly the route, via a stop in Los Angeles.  This provides me with 2 options. 1) I can book using Avios on Ba.com, 2) Because I have some AA miles, I can book on AA.com.


For 2 economy flights, AA wanted 25K AA miles, BA wanted 24K Avios. If I wanted to fly business, it would be around twice those amounts. I decided as the total flying time was only 3:30hrs, with a stop in the middle, it wasn't great value to fly in business. The taxes and fees for each airline were about the same at £17 (virtually all of that is a Mexican tourist tax).  It's when you look at the cancellation policy, that you see a difference. On BA, if I needed to cancel this flight, I'd just lose those taxes. On AA, a cancellation would mean I'd lose all the AA miles unless I paid $150.

So, the decision pretty much made itself, I booked the flight on BA.com. I have Cathay Pacific gold card, and thus I'd get a free bag each, and access to the lounges.

BOOKED 12th Nov LAS-LAX-SJD in economy.

STAYING IN LOS CABOS

I wasn't at all concerned about hotels in either Las Vegas or San Francisco, the opportunities to stay using points are almost endless in those cities. For Los Cabos however, the choices on rewards aren't great, so I wanted to secure something quite quickly. Before I could do that, I'd have to decide how long we were staying. My flight out of San Francisco was booked for the 21st. Arriving in Los Cabos on the 12th, that gave me 9 nights in total to split between the two cities. Mulling it over, I decided I really needed 10 days (7 in los cabos, 3 in SFO), so I would book 7 nights in Los Cabos, and attempt at a later time to change my outbound from SFO from the 21st to the 22nd.

My 1st choice in Los Cabos was the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos . This one is highly rated, and has good facilities. However, it was weirdly totally booked out for 2 nights in the middle of my stay, even though this was 9 months away, clearly a conference or a convention was on.

My 2nd choice was the The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos .This one also gets good reviews, however the sea is quite rough here, and thus not best for lulling around.  Its nightly points rate is 10,000 SPG points. SPG have an on-going promotion, if you book 4 nights, you get the 5th night free. So basically, the 7 nights stay cost me 60,000 points.  Reading up on some of the reviews, I discovered that you could upgrade to the next room level up, for 1500 points per night. The great thing about this was that the next room up is a club room. This means you get free breakfast, and also free drinks and snacks each evening for a couple of hours. Given that this is a resort hotel away restaurants etc, it makes sense to avail of this.  This upgrade was taken care of by SPG via their online chat facility.


BOOKED 12th -19th Nov  Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos.



Having set in stone the 7 nights in Los Cabos, I could now sort on the flight from Los Cabos to San Francisco. AlaskaAir flies this route directly. Alaska partners both with AA and BA, so again I could have a choice of which airline's frequent flyer program to use. Although BA was quite a bit less miles that AA on this route, I could afford to use AA miles more easily that I could BA miles. Again, I'd have to remember that I would be effectively losing these miles if I cancelled the booking. Finally, as this is AlaskaAir, who are not a oneworld partner, My Cathay Pacific gold card would not entitle me to any free baggage allowance, and thus this would be the only flight where we would pay for baggage. It was duely booked on AA.com

BOOKED 19th Nov, SJD-SFO in economy.

The next post in this series will discuss my change of flights out of SFO, and will summarise the costings thus far.

No comments:

Post a Comment