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AirMiles and RCI points exchange

DorotaG

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I need to plan one more week vacation for 2007 - spring break (first week of April). We are pretty open as where to go, but it has to be somewhere warm and on the beach. I "think" we may want to go to Hawaii, if not maybe Aruba or St. Maarten or ??? I have enough AirMiles on United to cover the tickets for all four of us. BUT! How do I do it? With RCI points I have to wait until 303 days before the week start day to book it. With air miles I have to book the flight 330 days before. At this point, how can I be sure that if we decide to go, for instance to Kauai and book the flight, I will get an exchange for the location I selected? Is it pretty much given in points that if I look on the day the points exchange is open for me, there will be something available?
Forgot to mention that I have 63500 points left for 2007 and need at least 1 bdrm.
I am very new to points and used to plan my vacations well in advance (in weeks exchanges).
 

JanB

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If I understand right, you are saying you must book your ff flight before you actually know you have a unit with your RCI Points? If that is true, your choices are limited; either you book your flight for the time/place you want, hope to get a confirmation on a points resort, but have a back-up ready in case you don't get it. OR, you can hope to book your unit, then hope to get your ff flight.

It has been my experience with points that Kauai is the easiest to trade into. But you want a high demand week so back up lodging that can be cancelled at short notice may be desirable.

Hope all comes together for you.
 

"Roger"

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It works both ways. I've seen people book Hawaii early (in Weeks) and then find that they can't get frequent flyer tickets when the time comes. (For those who do have success, you have to learn how the airline handles requests for a return date that is not within the 330 day limit. If you wait for that date to come up, the tickets for flying over are already gone.)

For a trial run, check out Kauai ten months, nine months, etc. ahead of your travel date. My bet is that you'll find that there is good availabity in Points. With that assurance (I presume that you will find it), book your ff points. Then, when the ten month date comes, book your timeshare.

From what I have seen, this is much less risky than doing it the other way around (booking your timeshare first - at least for Kauai).
 

riverside

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We had this same problem because we had free tickets from a bump that had to be used the same as frequent flyer tickets. We booked our air tickets to St. Maarten because it seemed as though we should easily get a trade there. Got the tickets and then got the trade so it all worked out. I would hesitate to do this to a place that may be hard to trade into.
 

DorotaG

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Thanks, I guess I just needed some reassurance that it is doable. I am not used to seeing so many Hawaii weeks available, not much in weeks and I am very new to points. Roger, this is exactly what I have been dooing, watching some "areas of interest" in high-demand time and it seems to look ok to me. I am going to book my FF flight and then work on exchange when time comes.

Thanks again!
 

AmyL4408

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Not sure with United, But...

I've never used United Sky Miles... But with Delta you can put a reservation on hold for 14 days. You call and find out whats available with your miles, then you can hold it for 14 days without making the final decisions. At the end of the 14 days if you haven't called back and completed the transaction, it goes back to the system for everyone else.

Amy
 

EvelynK72

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I just called United yesterday to ask about this same issue for a 2 weeks vacation in which I'd like to use ff miles. They said to call at 330 days out for the outbound flight. They will hold it until the date comes around for scheduling the return flight. In fact, they will hold your outbound flight for 3 days after your return flight, in case you forgot to call on that particular day.

I'd check with another service rep just to see if you get the same story.

Evelyn
 
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