I was approached by one of my readers, Rajesh, who was interested in writing a guest trip report for the blog. Always interested in hearing different takes on airline products and experiences, I asked him to send me some reviews for posting. For full disclosure, no one was compensated with these posts, and they are purely for your entertainment purposes only.
This is the first report in the series, and I’ll be publishing the remainder reviews every few days.
Living like a Prince earning and spending points…Two Week Trip to India
- NYC-DEL Using United Miles
- ITC Maurya
- India by Car and Driver and planning
- Oberoi Agra
- Around Agra
- Taj Rambagh Palace
- Around Jaipur
- Taj Lake Palace
- Around Udaipur
- UDR-GOA Air India
- Park Hyatt Goa
- GOA-BOM Air India
- Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai
NYC-DEL Using United Miles
To start my two week trip in India I used United Miles pre devaluation. I was able to find EWR-CDG on United global first connecting to CDG-BKK Thai A380 Royal First connecting to BKK-DEL Thai 777 Royal Silk class using 80K united miles a year out. I had to search NYC to Europe and then Europe to random cities in Asia and then those cities to Delhi and then call United with each segment. The website could not find any availability searching NYC- DEL.
As the year went on many schedule changes happened. Most important:
- United changed equipment to a 767 with no Global First
- Thai Cancelled the AM flight from BKK- DEL so I would get in too late
I found Air India availability from BKK-DEL on the AM flight using Air India’s website and calling United. The only option was economy on this segment. As I was not too excited about flying economy on Air India I continued to search for new options. Without fail, Lufthansa opened up flights to India within one month of departure from Germany. Fortunately, I had already confirmed on NYC-CDG on United. I used United.com to search from CDG-DEL and then called United to change the second two segments. My final Itinerary:
EWR-CDG United BusinessFirst 767-400ER
CDG- MUC Lufthansa E-190
MUC- DEL Lufthansa A330-300 (New Business class)
Interestingly, once I changed from first class redemption to business class with partner airlines I was expecting to pay the new rate of 70K miles because there was a change in class of service. I was actually charged the pre-devaluation rate of 60K one way and refunded 20K miles per ticket. I had a $146 in taxes.
It is important to note, that award tickets booked early in advance may have frequent schedule and equipment changes (I’m looking at you Thai Airways). Some airlines release a year in advance while others release a few weeks to days before. I already had my United flight from EWR-CDG so I would search from CDG-DEL and then could call and change only the last two segments rather than the whole trip. United.com does not always find award tickets unless you search in multiple segments and then call in. I searched US to Europe or US to cities such as Tokyo or Shanghai and then from those cities to DEL and found a lot more options than searching NYC-DEL.
Miles used were earned with a combination of travel, United explorer cards (55k bonus), Mileage plus dining, portals, manufactured spend, and ultimate reward points.
Scheduled 7.5 hours (we got in over an hour early)
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