How far in advance to book award travel

Jan 15th, 2015, 05:14 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,538
How far in advance to book award travel

I think it's about 330 days but does that mean I have to wait 330 days until the return is available or can I get the outbound first then try to get the return later?

We want a R/T ORD-SIN in Feb. of 2016.

Thank you. .
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 06:31 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,431
Most US airline programs don't open flights for booking - paid or award - until 330 days before the flight date (and some overseas airlines have longer or shorter "windows.")

However that DOES NOT mean that award seats are made available on the first day, nor on the 50th, nor on the 200th. Award seats are made available when and only when the airlines' "yield management" (or "revenue management... pick 'em) computer programs - infinitely complicated - determine that X number of seats are unlikely to sell for money by flight time.

This system updates itself constantly throughout the 11-month booking period. It watches sales, competitor pricing, competitor inventory... compares those factors against history, the number of factors are unknown to us poor schnooks, and trying to outguess the system is a fool's game.

So you can start looking at the 330th day, but don't get your expectations too high of a quick success. And yes, you'll have to wait until the 330th day before your return flight to be able to book it.

Most North American airlines have already moved to, or are about to move to, one way redemption bookings. So you can book the outbound portion when you see it, and cross your fingers that you can do the same when the return flights come open.

But the secret is to be patient. Sometimes flights don't open for award seats until quite close to the flight date. This is especially the case with business class.

What program are your miles with?
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 06:51 AM
  #3  
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UAL. And thanks for that great information!
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 17th, 2015, 11:49 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I am curious if anyone knows the best redemption time period for the Alaska Airlines program. Thank you!
KTtravel is online now  
Jan 17th, 2015, 01:43 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I am curious if anyone knows the best redemption time period for the Alaska Airlines program. Thank you!

Going from where to where, when, what cabin (coach or first?) Alaska is like all the others, with inscrutable yield management algorithms. Alaska has a lot of partners, however.
Gardyloo is offline  
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