Help Me Book My Flight!

I have a trip to Bangkok and Koh Samui coming up in January and need some help deciding how to get back home. I’m slowly piecing together the trip bit-by-bit, and have my flight booked from Los Angeles to Bangkok but no flights beyond that.

Despite the recent devaluations of LifeMiles, they’re still pretty darn valuable…especially when flying to Asia. You simply can’t beat it for getting availability on Singapore Airlines’ Business Class. My flight to Bangkok will be LAX-NRT-SIN on the A380 in Business Class, and then SIN-BKK on a “normal” plane in Business as well. Since I booked this flight a couple of weeks before the devaluations, I got it for the equivalent of about $930 – a steal compared to regular price. I also booked a friend on the exact same flights. Again…you simply can’t beat the availability of Singapore Airlines flights with LifeMiles.

The problem is I don’t have a flight home yet. I’m trying to decide between several different options and am having trouble choosing, so I’d like to take a poll to see what you guys think would be my better option.

Option 1

BKK-NRT in Business Class on Thai’s A380, then NRT-LAX on Singapore Airline’s A380 Suites/First Class. The allure here is clear – two A380′s including the Singapore Suite, which is arguably the best flight option there is.

The downside? The BKK-NRT flight will be booked using either United or LifeMiles, and either way it costs me 30K for just that flight. The Singapore Suite from NRT-LAX is another 74K Amex Membership Rewards plus a couple of hundred in taxes and the flight is less than 10 hours long. Total cost will be 104K points plus taxes of $200-$300. Yikes!

 

Am I really supposed to turn this down?!

Am I really supposed to turn this down?!

 

Option 2

BKK-FRA in First Class on Thai’s A380, then FRA-ORD in First on United’s 777, then ORD-SNA on a standard, domestic United flight. The upside is a long flight on Thai’s A380 and, just as important, I get to experience the famed First Class ground service in Bangkok (massages and all). I can also fly into Orange County, which is a huge deal for me since I live just 10 minutes from the airport (while LAX is about an hour’s drive). It’s “only” 70K United miles on this route.

The downside here is that I’m flying much farther than I really need to by going West. There’s a third flight, and two of the three flights are on United. I’d also have to extend my stay in Bangkok an extra day to make this happen.

One potential upside is the possibility to grab a Lufthansa First Class flight direct from FRA-LAX if I’m ready to pounce 15 days out. It’s not guaranteed, but it would make for a much better flight experience and cut down on my travel time. No guarantee that I get it though.

 

Not a SQ Suite, but I can live with this.

Not a SQ Suite, but I can live with this.

Option 3

Any number of more simple itineraries. I could do First Class BKK-PEK on Thai and PEK-LAX on Air China (hah!), Business Class on BKK-HND on Thai and HND-LAX on ANA, I could route BKK-NRT-SEA-SFO-SNA on Thai, ANA, and United in Business Class, etc. There are lots of possibilites going East or West.

The positive is that I can either get shorter travel times or fly directly into Orange County. The downside is that none of these flights are really “fun” flights. Unfortunately the NRT-SEA flight I’d take happens to fall on a day when the 787 isn’t flying, otherwise I’d consider that one very heavily.

 

Poll

So now I’d like to ask your opinion. If it were you, would you take Option 1, 2, or 3, or something completely different? And more importantly, why? I’m leaning more towards Option 1 at the moment, but my mind definitely isn’t set. Try to convince me!

Thanks for your opinion!

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 29/05/2013 04:00:00
end_date 15/06/2013 23:59:59
Poll Results:
How Should I Get Home?

Comments

  1. Option 1, definitely option 1. I’m planning a trip myself in may ’14 looking for SQ suites. Do you know if they open multiple saver suite awards?

  2. I would go for option 2. First Class treatment in BKK and possibly the same in FRA…

  3. I am not voting until u get rid of those floating buttons. LOL. Seriously, I would fly back on CX F to LAX if I had OW miles.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Floating buttons are now gone.

      The OW options aren’t available on my dates, otherwise I would have considered Cathay or JAL.

  4. option 3, it’s not about the flying, it’s about what you do when you get there. I’ve flown to Asia 15+ times,in economy…yup it stinks, but once you get off the plabne, the flight is over

    • Travel Summary says:

      I agree, but I’ve got a ton of Star Allaince points burning a hole in my pocket so I might as well have a nice flight :)

  5. The Air china first product in the 777 looks pretty nice, I’m considering it for both ways from lax. Should I avoid it?

    • Travel Summary says:

      I’ve heard great things about the hard product, but the service and food is lacking. For that price I’d rather fly via Europe on Thai F.

      • What leg via Europe from lax is thai f?

      • If you are still looking at options, I don’t think Air China is a bad choice. I just flew them in F two weeks ago, PEK-LAX. The seat and video screen/system were very good. The meal was fine (it was three courses),. Service was also attentive, I used my call bell several times and never waited more than 30 seconds for a response. Their pyjamas are my favorite of any airline I have flown, a nice medium weight deep red linen, in a very attractive matching linen bag. English was not a problem, although I did not have any sustained conversation with the flight attendant.
        As a point of comparison, I have flown F on Swiss, Thai, and Lufthansa, and while Air China is not in the same league exactly, I found the service and food superior to any domestic or international business class service I have flown.
        Would I fly them again, yes. Would they be my first or even second choice, no. But overall, given the quality of the hard product, I still was pleased with my experience.
        Two interesting notes, someone from the flight deck came out and slept in F for a while, and I am 99% certain that on two separate occasions I smelled cigarette smoke coming from the forward galley, right behind the flight deck.

        • Travel Summary says:

          I haven’t booked yet and am still weighing my options. I may end up flying down to Singapore for a couple of days and taking the SIN-NRT-LAX flight in suites the whole way. I’ll fly Air China if I have have no other choice, but there are just so many better options I don’t feel the need to. Glad to hear it’s not as bad as many other reports I’ve read about recently.

  6. What about Asiana?? BKK to Seoul, Seoul to LAX? I love their service and the food especially the spicy noodles! Another alternative is thru Osaka which UA flies directly to the U.S.

    • Travel Summary says:

      I could probably work out flights like that, but are those any better than the ones I laid out above? I’ve flown Asiana Quadra Smartium and loved it though.

      • If I have to pick one out of your three options, I would not pick option 3 which includes a Chinese airline ;-) regardless if it’s in premium class. I would not pick option 2 since if takes longer time and if time is a constrain. So that leaves option 1 which will be fantastic but of course at a price. Question for you, is the Thai A380 two cabin flight?? I am seeing business or business/first availability but no first class.
        Thai’s 380 flies to HK too in three-cabins configuration (for a two hour flight? I dont get the point). And you can get SQ from HK to LAX then, but it will be costly like option 1.

        Thai flies 747 from BKK to KIX (Osaka), and from there UA flies KIX to SFO also on 747. I guess that isn’t as fun as flying two A380 :-) but it will only cost you 67,500 United miles!

        BKK-ICN on Thai is 777-300ER but it might be a two cabin flight? Asiana flies 747 between ICN – LAX. I guess in the end, the flight combination comes down to what your goal really is :-)

        I see plenty availability of ANA’s 787 between NRT and SEA in January. Can’t you move your travel date to weekday so your dream of being on the 787 can come true?! ;-)

        • Travel Summary says:

          I’m trying to add an extra day to my time in Thailand – it would open up so many more flight possibilities for me including on A380s and on 787s. It’s already going to be a longer trip than I’m used to (8 nights in Thailand) so I’d rather not extend it any longer, but I may have to.

  7. michael says:

    I am using Cathy for my flight home from BKK in jan. and I used star alliance going in.

  8. I voted for option 2.. First Class is just awesome.

  9. Option: Other

    Fly CX: BKK-HKG-LAX

    Use Avios to book BKK-HKG in F or Biz by transferring MRs to BA with the 35% bonus. It’s 37.5K Avios less 35% = ~27.5K MRs.

    Then fly CX: HKG-LAX by using AA miles. Cost is 67.5K in F. But if you have Citi AA card, you get 10% rebate, so effective cost is 60.5K

    Total trip = 27.5K MRs plus 60.5K AA = 89K total.

    You get shorter flight on better metal with fewer miles with less hassle.

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