Using (and abusing) OnePass to Australia and New Zealand


Sure, Continental recently announced that they’ll be operating the 787 Dreamliner on the Houston – Auckland route next fall, but in the mean time getting to Oceania using their program requires a bit of creativity. Fortunately they have some of the most flexible rules regarding award travel routing, particularly to that region. Assuming that the seats can be found, there are quite a few options available. And I’m taking advantage of many of them on an itinerary that I just booked to New Zealand this December.

Perhaps the most significant benefit that the OnePass program offers is the ability to book travel to Southeast Asia and Oceania either across the Atlantic or Pacific ocean. I have a couple friends who even managed to book both on the same trip but it seems that the computers have finally closed that loophole. Still, the ability to go transatlantic opens up a number of additional carriers and routing options for getting to that part of the world. With Singapore Air limiting premium cabin reward redemption on so many of their aircraft these days having such flexibility is important.

In the end I managed to book an eight segment award and I’m holding out hope that the last couple segments I need can be picked up as awards if the inventory opens up. As a platinum elite such changes are complimentary. If I cannot find the seats then the cost of buying that ticket is relatively low. So what’s the routing? On the outbound I fly:

  • Newark – Munich: Lufthansa A340-600 First Class
  • Munich – Bangkok: Thai Airways B747-400 First Class
  • Bangkok – Melbourne: Thai Airways B777-300 Business Class
  • Melbourne – Auckland: Air New Zealand A320 Economy Class

The return trip is similarly enjoyable:

  • Sydney – Bangkok: Thai Airways A340-600 First Class
  • Bangkok – Istanbul: THY Turkish B777-300 First Class
  • Istanbul – Frankfurt: THY Turkish B737-800 Business Class
  • Frankfurt – Newark: Lufthansa A340-300 First Class

map

I even get about 10 hours in Munich and about 8 hours in Bangkok to see some of the sights. Every single one of the flights will be a new line though none are new airlines. It will, however, be my first experience in a proper international first class cabin and I get to compare a few different products. At 160,000 points and $175 in taxes it is hard to complain about just about anything with this trip other than that it is so short. It is no surprise that Continental continues to report in its quarterly calls that they are experiencing increased costs related to award redemptions since the move to Star Alliance.

Oh, and why am I going to New Zealand anyways? Some friends are chartering a plane from Air New Zealand and we’re going on some pretty incredible tours. Plus I will get to participate in the Star Alliance annual meeting a bit. Should be a great time.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

12 Comments

  1. We did JFK-LH-FRA-LH-SIN-SQ-AKL and BNE-SQ-SIN-LH-MUC-LH-FRA in LH F & SQ C last year. It’s honestly a ridiculous amount of air travel and it’s impossible to enjoy premium cabin service for the 30th consecutive hour. But it was still amazing. 😉

    David

  2. Impossible, you say??

    I take that as a challenge. I wonder if they’ll let me keep all the empty champers bottles so that I can build a collection through the trip. I figure I should have enough by the time I get to AKL that I could build a table or something from them. :p

  3. I highly doubt that it would work if starting in Hawaii. Those rewards are different in terms of points required and rules in general. I would imagine that this applies to the routing limitations as well.

  4. Ironically, I was able to book and ticket EZE-FRA-ZRH-BKK-SYD one-way award in F (for me and my wife) with UA about a month ago for 90K miles. I definitely got lucky but then again, route going via the pacific is so difficult to being with when UA restricts availability on their SYD route. Availability of the seats were relatively easy with LH and TG on EZE-FRA and BKK-SYD. ZRH-BKK on LX was a bit difficult but fortunately, 2 F seats were available on the day I needed. I told the agent that I wanted to construct the itinerary one-by-one and she was quite happy to assist me. Afterwards, she verified that award chart indicated 90K miles one-way in F so that’s how much miles she deducted. Knowing that I will get completely different answer if I called again (even after putting the award on hold), I asked her to ticket it immediately. Worked like a charm! The flight is in October and I can’t wait to fly!

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