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Points on partner flights with American & Marriott Rewards

Points on partner flights with American & Marriott Rewards

Apr 12th, 2013, 03:12 PM
  #1  
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Points on partner flights with American & Marriott Rewards

Okay, let me see if I can get this out coherent enough to try to get a little assistance.

It is all muddled in my own head so it very well might come across that way. I know the question would be better suited for Flyer Talk but frankly that forum is a little scary to me. ☺ So, I will start here in kinder gentler waters and see what you all might know… and I am scouring the web in the Marriott Reward forums as well as in Flyer Talk..but lurking only!

We are planning a trip to Europe @ the end of June, beginning of July 2014.
There are 3 people flying.

I do not have *too many miles, or *too many Marriott points. I currently have approximately 120,000 American Airline Miles in one account and 55,000 in another account and 275,000 Marriott points. (I can add 110,000 Marriott points but not until Jan. (A timeshare exchange) so I really don’t think those points will be of any value as I cannot wait too book that long.)

I need to be in Venice, Italy on July 6 and will be returning from our cruise the following Sat, July 12.

In Marriott Reward program they have a hotel/air/car (discount only on the car) package – American Airlines is not a part of that program.
The participating airlines are: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Aeroflot, airberlin, Air China, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Avianca-TACA LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, LAN, Lufthansa Miles & More, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal

I am flying out of DFW but am willing to buy a ticket to get me to say NYC or whatever the point of departure would be to use the miles to get us “over the pond”. I would like to avoid the crazy pants fuel surcharges… IF at all possible but am feeling like my only option will be British Airways.

So I have the 100,000 miles transferred into a British Airways (for example) account – will I be able to combine them with my AA miles since they are partners???

I believe we are either going to start or end our trip in the south of Spain at the Marriott's Marbella Beach Resort… I have about 17 days or so…

So my question (have you really made it this far) is how to combine air miles since I cannot get my Marriott points into my American Airlines account…
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 04:03 PM
  #2  
 
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Depending on how you want to fly, you could take AA one way and BA the other. I'm not so sure either airline will combine partners.

Your best bet is to persue the AA website to see what the rules are.

http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/pr...false&from=Nav
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 04:09 PM
  #3  
 
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I had prepared a really long-winded answer but then I saw that you're planning your trip for summer 2014.

You're probably aware that you can't book tickets longer than 330 days out from the flight date, so in your case you wouldn't be able to do anything before July/August of this year. And even then, mileage redemption seats don't all get listed at once - they're released into "award" inventory on a rolling basis, as the airlines' computers (programmed by Hogwarts graduates) determine that it's okay to pop some seats free for a given flight.

You can't combine mileage/points programs - each issuer of the miles has their own rules regarding redemption, and the few services that offer to "exchange" miles/points usually do so with terms that are super easy to walk away from - really bad deals for the most part.

My understanding is that Marriott is a bit like Capital One - you don't "redeem" miles for tickets, you "exchange" them, so that basically the ticket is being purchased for money rather then pulled from "award" inventory released by the airline. As a result you have many more choices of flights than if you're redeeming miles; unfortunately the Marriott points required for flights are hugely higher than with AA or other airlines, maybe 150,000 Marriott points for a flight that would "cost" 30,000 AA miles. So if you have 275K Marriott points you might find that they'll only "buy" one ticket, so you'll need to come up with other "sources" for the other two.

Look at Iberia, British Airways and Air Berlin as possible carriers, as all are AA partners but also available through Marriott rewards. Maybe one person rides using Marriott points while the other two use AA miles on Iberia or Air Berlin - all of which fly into Venice - on the same flights.

Still long winded, but hope this helps.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 12th, 2013, 04:25 PM
  #4  
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Hi Gardy,
Yes, I know I cannot even begin to look for them - but I am trying to figure this all out and it takes 6 weeks for the transfer of points into miles with the Marriott program. It is this program that I am looking into http://boardingarea.com/blogs/newgir...riottpackages/ Not the one you described (which is a horrible deal imo) - this is a better deal and I can get 100,000 miles and a 7 night hotel stay - and 25% off a hertz -
I wonder if I because I can do one way air with rewards if I can book outbound on one and return on another... or just get into LHR on AA equipment and fly inside of Europe on B.A. on miles - so fly in and out of LHR on AA to avoid the BA surcharge - and then book on BA with the 100,000 miles inside of Europe - so LHR to Venice and Venice to Madrid and Madrid to LHR (I have NO idea of the miles/avios required on BA for that type of a trip...just trying to think outside of the box a little here...
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 04:48 PM
  #5  
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Well, I looked a little and it might not be worth it to use the package that way... the flights appear to be fairly inexpensive - it looks like I could get from LHR to Venice and Venice to Barcelona for under $1,000 USD total so I might stick with using AA to get over and change to a different airline once in Europe and pay out of pocket. I am aware of hidden charges and baggage issues on lost cost carriers in Europe so will have to watch that as well... Just trying to avoid a 4,000.00 - 5,000.00 airfare cost for the three of us.
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 09:40 PM
  #6  
 
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Mondd - I'm not sure using BA only in Europe accomplshes much.

Gardyloo is the King of airlines travel, fees and FF miles.

Here's an excerpt from last year, in which he explains the fees.

http://www.fodors.com/community/air-...ree-ticket.cfm

Note what he says about the taxes for the UK, only on departure.

Obama has exempted, supposedly, American carriers from this tax/fee.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 07:14 AM
  #7  
 
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Are you trying to redeem economy or business? If economy, you have enough AA miles for 2 passengers in one account and almost enough for 1 passenger in the second account. I don't understand why you're planning to book all of the intra-Europe segments separately. You can book DFW-VCE/MAD(or BCN)-DFW all on one ticket. Try not to book your over water segments on BA to avoid their fuel surcharges. If you have to book the intra-Europe segments on BA, there are still fuel surcharges but they are much less vs the transatlantic ones.
Patty is online now  
Apr 13th, 2013, 07:25 AM
  #8  
 
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I think you may be confusing combining miles from 2 programs vs combining airlines on one ticket. You cannot combine AA and BA miles but you can use either AA or BA miles to book on any combination of their partners.

As for the UK departure tax, that's a separate issue from BA fuel surcharges. The departure tax is only applicable when originating from the UK and not on connecting flights. Using your example of one AA ticket to LHR and a separate BA ticket to VCE, you'd actually end up paying the departure tax whereas on one ticket you would not if you were only connecting at LHR.
Patty is online now  
Apr 13th, 2013, 08:57 AM
  #9  
 
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I agree with what Patty wrote. The AA website is very user-friendly...try to do a dummy booking, and see what comes up.

From what I understand from your post:

If you have 120,000 AA miles in one account, you can use that to book economy seats for 2 people (at 30,000 OW), DFW-VCE (via MAD/LHR etc), and then MAD-DFW. No need for you to spend extra to get you to JFK for the TATL or to VCE from LHR. The only flight you will need to pay for is the VCE to AGP segment.

I am assuming the other 55,000 miles is also AA miles. So you can buy an add'l 5k, and use the total 60k for the 3rd person booking.

Then your 110,000 Marriott points can be used for your hotel stay, and/or car rental.

The only difficulty I see is booking 3 seats on exactly the same flights using FF miles. Check experflyer as it will tell how many seats are available in each class for a particular routing.
JoyC is online now  
Apr 13th, 2013, 09:05 AM
  #10  
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Thanks everyone.

I have over 275,000 Marriott points - and can add an additional 110,000 from a timeshare exchange if need be. (for clarification)

120,000 AA in ONE account
55,000 (I should have almost 60,000 by July due to a few flights coming up)

Thank you for explaining the B.A. charges - I was confused on those.

I am concerned about getting 3 seats on the same flights and if push comes to shove will obviously buy one seat ... but am all about trying to get over for as least amount as possible. Most of our points come from my husband's business travel..and that ship may sail at some point so have been saving them for a trip with our daughter when she graduates.

Thanks for all the tips/help!
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 09:54 AM
  #11  
 
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JoyC's recommendation is the one to go with IMO. Use 120K miles in one account for 2 round trips, and 60K in the other for the third round trip.

Since all AA awards are now one-way, you can book the outbound portion (DFW-VCE) before the return date becomes available. Although as I mentioned it's not always the case that you can book mileage seats as early as 330 days prior to the flight, it certainly doesn't hurt to start looking then.

But one caveat is that using AA's website is only part of the solution to finding space. Only a few of AA's partners allow AA to show mileage redemption availability on AA's website. For travel to Europe, only AA itself and BA show up on aa.com. Other partners, such as Airberlin, Finnair, or Iberia, don't show up on AA's website. For mileage flights on those carriers you need to phone AA. This is important because quite often space is easier to obtain on those partners than on AA, itself, and if you use aa.com to book seats on British Airways flights, you'll get socked with BA's fuel surcharges on top of government taxes and the "cost" in miles. Traveling in coach, this can often be a deal-killer, by making your miles worth peanuts after you've added in the "taxes and fees" on award bookings.

By phoning AA to look for open seats on the "unlisted" partners, you'll have to pay a phone booking fee (once the seats are booked) but you'll have a MUCH better chance of getting three together.

BUT... between now and August (when the outbound flights could first be booked) DO SOME HOMEWORK to familiarize yourself with what options you could use. For example, DFW-VCE can be flown on AA planes from DFW to London then British Airways to Venice, or AA planes from DFW to Madrid then Iberia to Venice, or AA to Miami then Iberia to Madrid, then Venice, or DFW to O'Hare, then Iberia to Madrid and Venice, or AA from DFW to Miami then Airberlin to Berlin then Venice, and on and on.

The more routes you can mention to the AA agent the better the chances you'll get something. I don't know how many times I've been on the horn with AA looking for mileage seats to X, and because I could say, "Well, how about Seattle to Chicago to Montreal to Amman?" (not really, but similar) I got the reply "Oh, wow, sure, it's open." Really, knowing your options can help you avoid being given a short, incomplete answer when you phone in.

Traveling in July, it goes without saying that you'll also need to be flexible in dates. Since you're taking a cruise, you obviously have to be in Europe before sail date, but you might find that in order to get mileage seats you'll need to get there a few days prior to sailing, and return a few days later than you'd want under ideal circumstances. If work or other obligations require that you be precise in your travel dates, mileage tickets may not be the best solution.

Use your Marriott points for hotels, cars, something besides air travel IMO.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 13th, 2013, 10:08 AM
  #12  
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Thanks for weighing in Gardyloo!

Yes, I am worried about the July... and the mileage and am hoping since I flexibility on either side of the cruise at this time I can score (fingers and toes crossed!) I am flexible... I have a few weeks vacation and July is the one month of the year when things are fairly quite at work for me.

Any issue on Iberia I should be aware of? I am playing around as you suggested to come up with all the feasible options to have when I call AA.... as I know that does help..and at times hanging up and calling back I wish Marriott and AA still were partners - I would love to be able to dump another 70,000 miles into my husbands account and a have a 7 night certificate for a hotel for our points but c'est la vie! They have parted ways!
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 10:25 AM
  #13  
 
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The only issue on Iberia is that they too will hit you with fuel surcharges, albeit much smaller (for now) than BA's. (Remember they're the same company nowadays.) For coach flights (business class too, actually) I'd probably go with Iberia over the pond rather than AA if the AA flights were on 767s or 757s. The planes are newer, the food and beverage service is equal or better, and Barajas airport is terrific. Unfortunately, in coach neither AA (on its 767s and 757s) nor Iberia have seatback video, so add an iPad or Kindle to your shopping list. Sometimes people complain about "attitude" on the part of Iberia flight crews, but in my experience I think it's just cultural differences that many Americans aren't attuned to. I also recall that Iberia has one of the best safety records in the industry.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 13th, 2013, 10:44 AM
  #14  
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Gardy - we had a MUCH better experience on Air France over the pond than on AA. We flew AA to Paris and back from Rome in 2007 and it was pretty miserable in coach (back from Rome we were in business) and flew Airfance from LAX to Paris in 208 and it was MUCH better.
I have an Ipad (addict ) and so does DD.... I wish we could get business seats but alas I do not see it in the cards.
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 10:49 AM
  #15  
 
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aa.com now supports award bookings on AA, BA, airBerlin and Finnair (plus others but they're not applicable for you). For Iberia, you can play around with ba.com to check availability (you will still need to call AA to book).
Patty is online now  
Apr 13th, 2013, 10:59 AM
  #16  
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I just played around with flights and they showed over 3,000 for one ticket with the routing that I had for July of 2013... in coach... so I really need to use miles... not wanting to spend 9.000 on airfare... yikes.
Momddtravel2 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 07:17 AM
  #17  
 
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I have used my miles twice to Europe for a cruise. The key is to be flexible. When we cruised from Venice, we flew home from Milan (train from Venice to Milan was inexpensive). This past fall we flew IB from FCO-ORD and then AA home. Only downside was no seat assignments until 24 hours prior to flight on IB. When I call AA, I always have a list of flights/connections that I suggest. First thing I tell them is that I do not want to use BA. I usually end up with pretty decent flights.

Booking this far in advance almost guarantees you will have a sked change. I would check my reservation once a month. I caught a sked change with a 5 min. connection time. Called AA and agent said sorry, no Mileage seats available...can't help you. I asked for a supervisor and explained the situation. Took 24 hours, but confirmed me on a new set of flights with IB.

Good luck. You can do this!
BarbAnn is offline  
Apr 14th, 2013, 01:29 PM
  #18  
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Barbann you give me hope! I am hoping because we have wiggle room on either side that it will work! Wish I had 600,000 miles would not be as stressful !
Momddtravel2 is offline  

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