Shanghai+NZ+Tahiti+Bangkok in Business RT= 60,000 United Miles!

18

How do you use your points to plan a trip to Tahiti? Undoubtedly, it is one of the most challenging rewards to pull off even if your time availability is that of Santa Clause in July. Hotels simply don’t release award space and even when they do it can only be for one night at a time.

I speculatively booked two nights at IHG Bora Bora using a trick that worked for me then but is of no help now as the IHG calendar shows zero availability through July 2016. From there, I had to find Hilton availability, a topic for another post. Assuming you’ve cleared the huge hotel hurdle, the next challenge is to find all of these concurrently: award space.in business.for realistic points.

Not only has TPOL done it but I believe like my $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World and my Hyatt Diamond Challenge that I have done it better than anyone has before. Of course I have to thank MileValue who originally posted about the possibility of flying from North Asia to Oceania, stopping in New Zealand and back to North Asia in business all for 30k each way.

Here are the details of how I am flying from Shanghai to Tahiti to Auckland and back to Bangkok/Shanghai for 60,000 United Miles and $103.80.

The Planning 

  1. Find availability from PPT to AKL for 2 on Air New Zealand: Done but only in economy. There was business class last year for one so I’ll have to set an alert or ride coach for 5 hours.
  2. Find availability from AKL to PPT for 2 on Air New Zealand: Same as above.
  3. Find availability from PVG to AKL: There’s plenty of availability. This is the best part of the trip. I am flying for the second time the Dreamliner via Air New Zealand direct from Shanghai to Auckland.
  4. Find availability from AKL to PVG: I chose to fly an indirect route to New Zealand so I could fly Thai Airways business class and review the lounge in Bangkok. I also am indecisive if I want to continue on to Shanghai or jump ship in Bangkok.

The Call

Calling United to book complex itineraries is not a horrible experience. The agent is patient and accommodating though she did try to say that the ticket was 62,5000 each way. I had to explain to her that the award chart clearly shows that North Asia to Oceania is 30k and there’s no way of getting there without stopping in New Zealand. I also had to point out that my 2 night stopover on the way back to Shanghai via New Zealand was permissible.

After an hour on the phone she successfully booked the tickets for 60,000 miles/person and $103.80.

The FAQ

Why are you staying for only 2 nights in New Zealand? Seems like a missed opportunity to see a lot more of New Zealand. 

I could’ve stayed and maybe I will stay longer in New Zealand but I’m guessing 2 nights in Auckland is enough to see that city specifically and I don’t have the time and probably won’t have the budget following Moorea and Bora Bora to explore the nicer parts of the country. I did visit Windy Wellington as part of the RTW trip mentioned above.

Why are you flying RT to Shanghai? What about open-jaws? 

First, the ticket has to originate from and return to North Asia which includes China, Japan, South Korea, and MONGOLIA! Shanghai is the best city in the world so I have no problem starting my adventure from there. As for the return, I’m giving myself the option to continue on to China or end my trip in SE Asia, naughty, naughty, hidden city style.

How many hours of glorious business class are we talking here? 

Assuming no business class space opens from AKL-PPT in either direction and that I return to Shanghai, that’s over 28 hours of business class.

How far you going? 

Great question. Let’s consult the Great Circle Mapper.

Capture

Did I read that correctly, all this for 60,000 United Miles? I thought there was a devaluation. 

Yes my friends, that’s correct. For only 60,000 miles you can fly round trip from Shanghai to Tahiti stop in New Zealand for as long or as short as you want then return to North Asia or stay in Bangkok. As a point of reference, DTW-FRA one way on Lufthansa post devaluation is 70,000 miles and only 8 hours of business class on a zzz A340.

2

Taxes? 

$100!  1

Did this really ticket? I want to see the itinerary. 

Here she is in all her glory:

Capture

You must be very proud of yourself? 

Yes. I’d say it’s one of my best redemptions.

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. I have the same itinerary for my trip to Tahiti next month except I am coming from NRT, not PVG!!! I booked this back last fall. I not routing back via BKK but that was a great option!
    Yes UA had a devaluation but there were a few exceptions, noted by both Wandering Aramean and milevalue (or whoever looked at the award chart.)
    Good luck on getting J for AKL-PPT. That was hard to find!

    • How did you find it?! There is absolutely no business class showing on the calendar and even when it showed last year, it was only for one passenger which would make for an interesting toss up of who gets to sit up front. Nice find though! Where you staying in Tahiti? Thanks for the comment.

      • Just to jump in on this. I’m flying BKK on the way back in case I want to skip Shanghai. But, the reviews of BKK business on the 777-200 are terrible so hopefully Joey can get you to skip that segment. Otherwise look for Air New Zealand.

  2. I flew this similar itinerary last November when we went to IC Bora Bora. The AKL to PPT leg was in economy, but we had star alliance gold and was allowed to select premium economy seats in advance

Leave a Reply