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Possible FF dilemma - looking for options, any ideas?

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I'm trying to book a flight from Buffalo, NY to Cairns, Australia on AA miles for a "once in a lifetime trip."

AA reward mile agents have mostly been wonderful to work with, however, not all the legs of my flight are available. I have been on the phone with them for 4 days and as it stands now they can find flights available for:

Buffalo to Chicago
...
LAX to Cairns, Australia

So the flight that is not available for booking right now is Chicago to LAX, which I find ironic as one would guess that there would be most flights available btwn major markets.

There are no direct flights from Buffalo to LAX.

Tomorrow is the last day before my hold on the LAX to Australia legs expire. Are these my only options?:

1. Take the BUF > ORD flight, and then buy our own tickets to LAX and continue on our LAX to Aussie flight. Would AA allow us to do this or would they see it as redeeming points twice?

2. The first agent I spoke with suggested a routing from Toronto (2.5 hr drive away). Obviously we'd have another border crossing to contend with and we would have to see if the Aussie flight was available the next day as the current departure day is a workday and we would be unable to leave work so early. Also we'd have to take a bus to Toronto. The flight is direct to LAX, a big plus as another transfer possibly means another opportunity for our luggage to not make it.

A subsequent agent told me it was ridiculous that the first agent said they were not allowed to put a request in for a flight with two legs (BUF>ORD>LAX) and put in that request.

I have very little experience redeeming airline miles (and no experience redeeming for overseas) and am wondering if there is something else I could suggest or another possible solution to this. It's possible that when I call tomorrow AA will allow that ORD>LAX leg but if it doesn't I want to be prepared with some other options. Obviously the most expensive part of the journey is the flight to Australia so I'm hoping to keep that.

Any suggestions much appreciated - enjoy-la!

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