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Frequent Flyer Miles

Kauai Kid

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I've got over 200,000 American Airlines Frequent Flyer miles and find no seats are available for my Nov 2012 Hawaii trip. Guess I should have started trying exactly 11 months prior to travel dates.

Got another trip scheduled for Mar 2013 and I'm going to start trying exactly 11 months before the departure date.

If I get a rejection again the credit card is going into the fire.:mad

Why carry a FF card that costs $85/yr when you can't get FF tickets?

My other credit card gives 5% discount for gas, 3% for groceries, and 1% on everything else. :cheer: It has no annual cost. :cheer:

May just start using it, and save the discounts in my travel envelope. At least with cash I can buy a ticket on any airline I want.

Would appreciate your thoughts on the situation. Thanks.

Sterling
 

nalismom

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Not sure when you are traveling but there are some at milesaver level available......rest are Aanytime awards. I religiously start looking at the 330 day mark especially if I am wedded to certain dates and I haven't had any problems getting tics..I wouldn't despair yet...I would look everyday and sometimes several times a day since folks do place seats on hold.

I got tics from DFW-Hnl and OGG-DFW for late September early October in mid December
 

x3 skier

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As fares tend to go up dramatically closer to departure dates, I would just keep trying to get the award tix until about a month or two before.

I have been able to get Biz Class tix to Europe every year by checking periodically. Never did the 330 or whatever day drill.

Cheers
 

MichaelColey

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We were able to get FIVE sets of First Class Hawaii tickets at Saver rates for this coming September. We did three things to make it happen:

1) We had to split into two groups (with flights departing/arriving within a couple hours of each other) because there were no flights with more than 4 Saver tickets.
2) We extended our trip by a day so we could get Saver tickets for the return.
3) Our trip starts in Maui, but instead of flying DFW-?-OGG (which showed nothing available at Saver rates), we went DFW-HNL and added on a (5k) HNL-OGG segment.

It takes some flexibility. Start your search with one-way tickets and look to see what days are available at what rates. Expand to other airports if necessary. If you're a larger party, check to see if splitting up might help.
 

MichaelColey

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One other suggestions, if you're willing to throw a little money at it...

Over on FlyerTalk, one of the most recommend tools is ExpertFlyer.com. I believe you could set up an alert to find out when/if what you're looking for becomes available.
 

JeffW

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At lot of the recent talk is that no longer are all seats released at the T-330 day mark. You might get some, but supposedly release is staggered throughout the remainder of the time before the flight.

Flexibility is absolutely the key. If there ever were days you could pick the destinations and dates you wanted to fly, and expect to be able to select FF tickets, I think those days are gone.

The one-way plan helps. It can take some work, but I'd your destination (HNL or any the islands), and start back-tracking on where direct flights to there originate from. Then take those cities, and track back to your departing city (for a single connection). If there is mainland to Hawaii flight availability, it's usually easier to find alternate ways to get there (for AA, probably ORD or DFW). If there's no availabilty on the flights to Hawaii, not a lot you can do about that.

Definitely look at alternate days (a lot of websites now show availabilty at least +/- a few days). Also check if you get a free stopover. In the past, I did PHL-California, stayed there (from a day to a week), then continued on, with no additional mileage cost. Maybe not your first choice, and it does increase costs (possible overnight hotel and car rental), but say going out to CA, staying overnight, and then taking the first flight out in the morning can be an option.

Jeff
 

dougp26364

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I've got over 200,000 American Airlines Frequent Flyer miles and find no seats are available for my Nov 2012 Hawaii trip. Guess I should have started trying exactly 11 months prior to travel dates.

Got another trip scheduled for Mar 2013 and I'm going to start trying exactly 11 months before the departure date.

If I get a rejection again the credit card is going into the fire.:mad

Why carry a FF card that costs $85/yr when you can't get FF tickets?

My other credit card gives 5% discount for gas, 3% for groceries, and 1% on everything else. :cheer: It has no annual cost. :cheer:

May just start using it, and save the discounts in my travel envelope. At least with cash I can buy a ticket on any airline I want.

Would appreciate your thoughts on the situation. Thanks.

Sterling

I feel the same way about Delta. No matter when I start looking or how flexible I might be, the only FF seats I find are at full freight for 40,000 miles. I now have 80,000 FF miles and will be done with Delta once we use those miles.........for now at least.

Airlines and FF seats seem to be a fluid thing. One year I'll favor one airline, the next year that airline isn't any good so we'll favor another. Right now we're stuck on United and Frontier as our prefered airlines for FF miles. In the past it's been American and up until a couple of years ago, it was Delta.

FF seats are a moving target. It's never good to be wed to one airline. flexiblility and frequent searches are necessary to stay on top of things. Even when I don't have a trip planned, I still search for FF seats with different airlines to see how things are changing. By doing that, I don't accumulate a very large number of FF miles only to find out they've become to difficult to use. Delta caught me short as we were just under 25,000 miles when things started to dry up. I used various methods to continue to increase our miles until we reached the 40,000 mile mark. Now I'm not so interested in accumulating Delta Skymiles. Eventually, I'm sure United and Frontier will make changes that will force us to look at other airlines again.
 

JeffW

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I think Delta & Northwest, and United and Continental, were better before they merged (I never had America West miles, so not sure how merging with USAir affected them). Then, there were basically 4 competing airlines you could search through, with one usually being noticeable better (at least on a particular route) than another.

Second biggest change (for me, with between myself and my wife, almost 1M Skymiles) was Delta going to that 3 tier mileage level. Not that I do a ton of FF traveling, but in my experience, almost everything is at the mid (higher) tier or better. You might for a saver coach seat "for as low as 25k miles", but more likely, it will be at the 40k level.

Jeff
 

nalismom

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We focus on acquiring our FF miles on 1 airline (American) and so far the last 12 years we have gotten 2 award tics to Aruba every year during high season. Some years we have to be flexible in either going down a day or 2 before and/or coming back a day later. We also have gotten 2 award seats to Europe twice and most recently 2 award seats to Hawaii. I have limited flexibility with Aruba and with Hawaii due to timeshare use. With Hawaii I planned my outbound to HNL 3 days before our TS use starts on Kauai and just bought inter-island from HNL-LIH and then LIH-OGG. My return is an award from OGG-DFW. Both awards are nonstop. All of our awards have been at the lowest mileage level.

I do agree that not all FF seats are released at one time and rather throughout the year although the most desirable routing will likely disappear early in the process. If you're willing to go up a level in Awards you might have more luck but I do think it takes diligence to get the lower level awards with the best routing. When I was looking my seats to Europe last year I noticed that the NS flight I wanted was not available right away but if I waited 10-14 days after the 330 release date I was able to get the flights I wanted albeit I booked them in two segments ie...first secured my outbound to Europe and then when available secured my return. I've done this for Aruba as well.

Don't know if this helps but it has worked for me for a long time.
 
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barefootnAR

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Sterling, which airport are are you departing from? Houston?
We use AA mile and now fly direct out of DFW. We gave up trying to go from one of the 2 regional or from LittleRock to DFW for the FY 7 direct to OGG. We couldn't find 2 seats on the first leg. Now we drive to DFW, spend the night and take the direct. We stay at a Comfort Suite booking a Stay and fly/park package for $99 for the night and 10 days of free parking, free shuttle. Additional parking days are $5 per.
I just checked out of DFW for Nov 11 (Sunday) none, but 2 for Nov 12 Mon at 17.5 points each. On the direct.
Nov 25 forward had 2 seats for 17.5 each from OGG to DFW, forgot to see if that was on the direct (flight 6).
We book earliest time we can for the flight out, wait two weeks and book the return. This year I checked four days after I booked our DFW to OGG and there were still seats open at the 17.5 points on the direct.
If you decide to give up your miles I'll be glad for you to gift them to me..:rofl:
 

x3 skier

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Another trick is to search partner airlines. For example, I have gotten Tickets on KLM for low miles when Delta was showing only mid level awards. Of course Delta's Award calendar is a complete joke and about as reliable as a $10 Rolex Watch bought from a back street vendor in Bangkok.

Between that approach and pinging Delta or AA periodically, I always get to Europe every year in Biz Class for low miles.

It also helps to have about 500000 in the bank with AA and DL both plus another 650000 in AMEX Membership Rewards for a reserve.;)

You might try a One World Partner for AA Miles.

Cheers

PS, I too will take any and all miles someone is too frustrated to use.:D
 
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GetawaysRus

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You might try a One World Partner for AA Miles.

Good advice - be sure you are looking at partner redemptions.

If you are doing the searches yourself on the AA website, you may not be seeing all possible partner redemptions. To get info on partners, you usually have to call and speak to an AAgent. It costs more to do things over the phone, but sometimes it does help.

My impression is that MileSAAver redemptions on AA have gotten tougher this year.

I'm working on a trip to Spain for Fall 2012. I have one seat outbound in Business class on AA metal as a MileSAAver award (50K miles). I have an ExpertFlyer request in place, but a second seat has so far not opened after nearly 2 months. I may have to use 100K for an Anytime award.

For our return, there were lots of options with partner airlines and nothing that I could find on AA. So we've got 2 seats on Iberia from Spain to Heathrow in Business class, and then 2 seats on British Air in First Class back to the USA. Both of those return seats were at MileSAAver award levels (62.5K miles per person for First Class). I cringe at the BA fuel surcharge, but this will be our first time on a First Class award ticket, so I'm hoping we enjoy the flight.
 

Rent_Share

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I call Bull Shoot on Continental applying an international mileage rate for Hawaii travell
 

tiel

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We booked our Jan/Feb 2012 FF tickets for IAD/HNL at the 330 day mark. Booked the trip out first, then waited 3 weeks to book the return separately. We were going for the Milesaver business class awards and were successful for the most part...wanted to go on Jan 27, but couldn't get anything. Going a day later, so all is well as far as we are concerned.

I did log on to AA early in the morning, around 4:00 am or so ET, to get what I wanted. I was told by AA reps the seats would be released at midnight, but found they didn't become available until 4-5 am. This approach may have not been necessary, but it worked for us.

I did notice some Milesaver business class seats became available after the 330 day mark, and am guessing somebody had a change in plans and cancelled their reservations. Hope that happens for you!
 

winger

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I've got over 200,000 American Airlines Frequent Flyer miles and find no seats are available for my Nov 2012 Hawaii trip. Guess I should have started trying exactly 11 months prior to travel dates.

Got another trip scheduled for Mar 2013 and I'm going to start trying exactly 11 months before the departure date.

If I get a rejection again the credit card is going into the fire.:mad

Why carry a FF card that costs $85/yr when you can't get FF tickets?

My other credit card gives 5% discount for gas, 3% for groceries, and 1% on everything else. :cheer: It has no annual cost. :cheer:

May just start using it, and save the discounts in my travel envelope. At least with cash I can buy a ticket on any airline I want.

Would appreciate your thoughts on the situation. Thanks.

Sterling
What exact dates are u looking to travel and from/to where ? I've been really studying the calif-to-lih nov flights, particularly around thanksgiving, and for around 14 days leading up to and including the weekend after thanksgiving, I am pretty certain AA have NOT released any saver economy awards, yet.
 
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winger

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...
I did notice some Milesaver business class seats became available after the 330 day mark, and am guessing somebody had a change in plans and cancelled their reservations....
Or maybe AA is following a new release schedule as reported over in FT
 

elaine

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I booked 5 tickets DCA-HNL at 330ish days for July 2012. During the 330 day week, I had a choice of several routes, all with at least 5 seats. Within 10 days, all availability for 5+ seats were gone, and many did not have seats for even 2 persons. Same for our return. There was no lower point availability for KOA-DCA at all. Some routes from hubs (LAX-KOA) were only at the higher rate, even though connecting flights via LAX were at the lower rates. We are paying out of pocket from HNL-KOA and back, to the tune of $1000. But, we still got 5 FF tickets from the East coast (and a great RCI trade), so the trip works.
I advise that you start trying to book about 2 days before you really want to go--make a reservation and hold it for 5 days, then if your date is open, great--cancel the other. If not, at least you have something. Same for the return. We planned to come back on thursday vs. sat anyway---good thing, as sat did not have much, if any, availability--which I guessed.
Good luck, I still really like AA FF program for getting seats, but you have to be the early bird, esp. for more than 2 seats. Elaine
 

rcshelton

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I've got over 200,000 American Airlines Frequent Flyer miles and find no seats are available for my Nov 2012 Hawaii trip. Guess I should have started trying exactly 11 months prior to travel dates.

Got another trip scheduled for Mar 2013 and I'm going to start trying exactly 11 months before the departure date.

If I get a rejection again the credit card is going into the fire.:mad

Why carry a FF card that costs $85/yr when you can't get FF tickets?

My other credit card gives 5% discount for gas, 3% for groceries, and 1% on everything else. :cheer: It has no annual cost. :cheer:

May just start using it, and save the discounts in my travel envelope. At least with cash I can buy a ticket on any airline I want.

Would appreciate your thoughts on the situation. Thanks.

Sterling

Similiar to an earlierposter, I have been monitoring FF miles to Hawaii as we have two weeks finalized - one on Maui starting on Nov 24 and one on Kauai the following week. I focused on 331 day time, both before and after, and discussed with American Reservations on more than one occasion. We will be flying from the East Coast (Raleigh-Durham), and wanted the 37.5K Business/First Class due to the long haul in one day. Based on my monitoring, I don't think American has released any MileSaver Award level seats to date for the period from Nov. 14 to Nov.26, the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. In fact, one Reservation agent told me that on my travel day to OGG, which showed no Milesaver availability, no Milesaver award travel had been sold.

In spot checking other flights throughout the US, it appears that AA may have not released Milesaver award for this holiday time period through out their system.

For our trip, I have reserved Aanytime miles(45K) for the RDU-DFW-OGG. American has advised that, if 37.5K Milesaver becomes available I can convert at no cost as we would be moving from coach to First Class. Realistically, I don't see this happening.

I had no problem getting a return flight in early December from Kauai (LIH-LAX-DFW-RDU) at the at the First Class Milesaver level.
 

lvhmbh

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I find it is best to talks with the awards desk people. You don't have to book through them but they can tell you what is available, what has been released, etc. JMHO, Linda
 

Amy

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Also check if you get a free stopover. In the past, I did PHL-California, stayed there (from a day to a week), then continued on, with no additional mileage cost. Maybe not your first choice, and it does increase costs (possible overnight hotel and car rental), but say going out to CA, staying overnight, and then taking the first flight out in the morning can be an option.

I've only booked a stopover on FF ticket over the phone; is it possible to book with that option online? I don't recall seeing it when I've check award availability on AA and Alaska (what we will probably end up using).
 

nalismom

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As far as I am aware AA no longer allows for stopovers on their FF Awards unless it falls within a limited number of hours. For example, we can book nite before flights if our next flight is the first available next day. Coming out of Dallas and going to Aruba we would take one of two available evening flights to Miami and then the next AM flight to Aruba since there was no way coming from DFW someone could have made that AM flight. This however is no longer an issue since AA has re-worked their schedules and now has a 545 AM slight from DFW to MIA in more than enought time to make the newly rescheduled AM flight from MIA to AUA.

Sadly the days of an extended stopover included your mieage award are long over and they now consider it another segment requiring more miles.
 
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winger

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As far as I am aware AA no longer allows for stopovers on their FF Awards unless it falls within a limited number of hours. ...
Is this a new rule applied to gateway cities when traveling international? For example, if I flew from SFO-DFW-CDG, as of last month, the rule stated I can stop over in DFW (gateway = last US city) for say three or four or five months before flying onto CDG. The only issue was I had to complete this entire one way trip within one year of original ticketing date.
 

Carolinian

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Delta is the worst these days, but none of them are what they used to be. Delta often charge numbers of miles that are off their own milage charts. Some at FlyerTalk have reported being asked for 600,000 miles (yes that many zeros) for tickets to Europe.


I feel the same way about Delta. No matter when I start looking or how flexible I might be, the only FF seats I find are at full freight for 40,000 miles. I now have 80,000 FF miles and will be done with Delta once we use those miles.........for now at least.

Airlines and FF seats seem to be a fluid thing. One year I'll favor one airline, the next year that airline isn't any good so we'll favor another. Right now we're stuck on United and Frontier as our prefered airlines for FF miles. In the past it's been American and up until a couple of years ago, it was Delta.

FF seats are a moving target. It's never good to be wed to one airline. flexiblility and frequent searches are necessary to stay on top of things. Even when I don't have a trip planned, I still search for FF seats with different airlines to see how things are changing. By doing that, I don't accumulate a very large number of FF miles only to find out they've become to difficult to use. Delta caught me short as we were just under 25,000 miles when things started to dry up. I used various methods to continue to increase our miles until we reached the 40,000 mile mark. Now I'm not so interested in accumulating Delta Skymiles. Eventually, I'm sure United and Frontier will make changes that will force us to look at other airlines again.
 

winger

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Delta is the worst ......Delta often charge numbers of miles that are off their own milage charts. Some at FlyerTalk have reported being asked for 600,000 miles (yes that many zeros) for tickets to Europe.

I've read Delta's computer system is pretty bad, this being one example
 
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