After the recent devaluation of United Award chart, the awards in premium cabin on partner airlines has gone quite expensive. But the new award chart has a sweet spot created for visiting "Down Under" from quite a few Asian countries that too in premium cabin on partner airlines. To begin with look at the United award chart below:
As you can see from the highlighted section above, visiting "Down Under" from South Asia is just 30k miles one way in business or 40k miles in First. You could even do a return trip with a stop-over or 2 open-jaws and still pay 60k/80k in business/first. That is an incredible deal knowing how large is South Asia. Just to get an idea look below on countries classified under "South Asia" by United.
The gist is you can get to fly incredible Singapore Airlines, or Thai Airways to visit "Down Under" and go as far as Bangladesh (Dhaka) which is essentially very close to India/Pakistan. Below is the map of what you can do for 80k miles in first class for which US Airways would charge you 120k miles.
As you can see from the map you could potentially get a stop-over in either of DAC/BKK/SIN or for that matter any of the United classified "South Asian" country and get to travel "down under" for 80k United miles in First!! Hope this helps folks planning their trip from South Asian countries.
Travelling using miles is a great benefit where you could fly to destinations which otherwise you might not dream of going to (as it would be too expensive for you to afford it). But there are times when you want to change those award tickets or completely cancel the trip you once planned with so much of time and effort. Most airlines would charge you a fee to cancel the award and redeposit the miles unless you have some sort of elite status with them which would waive off those cancellation fees. Let's face it, airlines wants to monetize any opportunity you throw at them as that's one of the revenue generator for them. But most often you will find creative ways of getting around this limitation. Although I do not provide any guarantee that it would work 100% of time and YMMV, but I can guarantee that it would work more often than not if one thing falls in your favor, and that thing is "Schedule Change".
What is Schedule Change?
Most airlines allow you to book award tickets for almost 330 days in advance. Since airline industry is dynamic in nature there could be routine changes to the schedule due to certain route additions/deletions or change in partnerships between the airlines or some changes due to airport maintenance requirement. All this could entail change in either departure or arrival time of flights which accounts for "schedule change".
How does schedule change help you?
Since each and every airline has a different policy regarding schedule change (and this info is often unpublished), its hard to predict what would work and what would not. But below are few instances which could very well help you to be qualified for a full refund of miles with no cancellation fees for your award tickets:
How to increase the probability of schedule change to affect your itinerary:
So knowledge of above would help you save your buck in the inadvertent circumstance where you could no longer take that trip and would still want to avoid those hefty cancellation or miles redeposit fees.
I love traveling / backpacking. This blog focuses on 3 aspects: