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#935985 by mdhayes
15 Jun 2017, 10:25

I just thought I'd share my recent experiences of booking my FC miles flights to/from Orlando. We had 3 EC-PE upgrade vouchers in our account and one was expiring soon and as I'm a big kid at heart I wanted to go and visit the new Harry Potter world in Orlando. We decided May would be a good time and thus my hunt for PE availability started.

Outbound: Getting the outbound was really easy as we were very flexible on dates, when I looked at 331 days in advance there were 3 days we could choose from that still have PE availability. Called up FC and bagged 2xPE seats using my upgrade voucher.

Return: So the return was a little more tricky, the other half wanted to return on the Friday as this leads to a Saturday landing and some time to readjust before work on Monday. Did a dummy run on the Thursday flights and by the time I got to my desk at work they were loaded and I could book them, this gave me hope for the Friday flights. Did the same thing Friday and I saw they had been released but the time I had called the FC they were gone :( So Saturday return it was (hopefully). Worried that I'd miss these I was determined to be up early and call before I left the house. I was still awake just after midnight and had a quick check and there they were all loaded for both flights. Called the FC but was sadly informed that although they are available online they can't access them for a couple of hours, as I needed to book using the upgrade voucher I was resigned to wait until morning. Called up at 6.10am and managed to bag 2xPE seats on the later orlando flight (I had the option of both but thought I'd have more chance of sleeping if the flight was later). By the time I got to work all the seats that were loaded had gone (thankfully some by me).

Since the new system it does appear that some seats are loaded automatically at midnight at 331 (or so my searches suggest).

Now to decide what seats to pick, currently in row 24 in the bubble both ways, I'm guessing the general consensus is that these are the best?

Sorry for the long email but thought I'd share my experience for those who are interested.

Thanks for reading!
#935986 by Nottingham Nick
15 Jun 2017, 10:54
Thanks for posting - the release of reward seats is indeed a dark art.

I would stress though, based on my own experiences, that persistence is the key.

It is clear that a number of seats are still released at the 330 day mark, but by no means all of them. If you are hunting for a particular date - especially at busy times on popular routes, and a suitable flight appears at 330 days - snap it / them up straight away, and Happy Days!

If it doesn't appear, check at every opportunity.

My recent experience is similar to that of mdhayes. Sue and I want to go to the cricket in New Zealand next year. Our outbound to HKG was planned for the first of March 2018. At the 330 day mark I went on line and snapped up 2 UC seats no problem - as I have done five times or so in the past.

My issues were all with the return - a schoolboy error in date planning, meant that I hadn't factored in that the time we would want to return wasn't too far away from Easter. :-O .

When the return should have appeared - it didn't! From frequent checking, I quickly established that there were NO reward flights in any class available between 22nd March and 23rd April from HKG, Shanghai, DXB or India to the UK!

There were very few from the US either, other than LAX and NYC.

Given that our holiday, post New Zealand, would find us in Japan - we even considered returning from Osaka to Honolulu to LAX and home from there.

Then - a couple of weeks ago - having checked in the morning as was my routine, nothing! When I got home from work, I checked again and - Lo and behold two HKG - LHR flights in Upper had appeared on the exact day we wanted to fly home! I rang VS, and the agent saw them too - The slight downside was that they are now peak time flights and I needed a few more miles. The agent was excellent, and stayed on the line, while I transferred some points over from Amex.

The Amex points appeared instantly, and the two G's were mine!

So! If you are currently searching for the elusive G's - don't give up - persistence oftens has its rewards. :cool:

#935993 by Hev60
15 Jun 2017, 21:05
mdhayes, very interesting post and well done for nabbing the upgrades you wanted.

I have never thought about booking a one way ticket first in order to grab the PE upgrade and then wait a bit for the return when those become available. So I assume that when ringing to book the return leg, they then merge the booking reference number??

Rookie question on this subject but as I am planning a family trip to Orlando in June next year, thought I'd get plenty of info. Hoping to get some reward PE outbound to MCO (got a couple of vouchers) and then book PE fares homebound from Atlanta (connecting from Sarasota).
#936002 by mdhayes
16 Jun 2017, 09:51
sadly they can't put them under the same booking but say they can 'link' them on their system so they know its a return and not 2 singles.

If you book a miles fare out but want a cash fare return you're going to be paying through the nose as the single cash fare return will be super expensive (sometimes more than a return). They used to offer you a cheaper return if you booked one leg with miles but that was 'enhanced' away.

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