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Best strategy for booking reward ticket to Scandinavia for Aug 2012

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Good day,

I was slightly shocked to learn this morning that I could not get a reward flight on American Airlines (including its AAdvantage partners) to either Copenhagen or Stockholm during the first week of August 2012 (to return roughly 3 weeks later). Okay, feel free to call me naive but I thought flexibility on dates and cities, not to mention calling 9 months in advance would land me some seats! (American doesn't fly to either city themselves, and seems to primarily partner with British Airways, so obviously that complicates things.) The American representative had no advice beyond "call again" in terms of when flights might become available, if ever.

Do any of you good people have suggestions or strategies for using American frequent flyer miles to get to these cities (or Oslo), including insights into when seats currently being held might become available? Because my two school age daughters are coming with, we are pretty much limited to August. WHILE I AM LIMITED TO AMERICAN MILES, I SUSPECT THE GENERAL STRATEGIES FOR GETTING POPULAR TICKETS ON TRAVEL PARTNERS MAY BE SIMILAR FROM AIRLINE TO AIRLINE.

We would be most grateful for any advice -- I'm looking to do the trip as a graduation present for my eldest daughter, but with college impending we can't really afford to purchase the tickets.

Cheers,

Nigel

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