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Tell us your success story (or failure) getting a free flight with miles

Tell us your success story (or failure) getting a free flight with miles

Jan 9th, 2006, 02:54 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Tell us your success story (or failure) getting a free flight with miles

Sunday morning (jet lag--couldn't sleep) I got on the British Airways website and cashed in 50,000 miles for my free? flight to Europe. I will be flying from Miami to Heathrow and on to Berlin on June 8 and returning on July 6. The free flight only cost me $238.00. Taxes, fees, fuel surcharge and even an Internet usage fee brought up the cost. But still, the ticket would have cost me almost $1,200. At least I would be paying $5 for a wine every 30 minutes on the flight.
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 03:59 AM
  #2  
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would should be won't
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 04:30 AM
  #3  
 
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US airlines' FF programs only charge about $70-100 in taxes/fees/surcharges to Europe, but this is the second time recently I've heard about $200+ on a European airline (last time was Air France).

But I guess all the free booze Wally can drink will make up for it. And of course BA has one of the least generous FF program with most discount flights earning no miles. They won't even let you join their program when buying a cheap ticket.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 05:39 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,072
Will use FF miles 50,000 to fly from Charlotte, N.C. to Amsterdam-one stop in Detroit. This is April 18-26 when the tulips are blooming. I booked these miles about 5 months ago,but I notice the flights are now 100,000 miles and not this direct.
Cost $80 for fees. The cost of a ticket now is between $700 and $800 .
maryanne1 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 05:40 AM
  #5  
 
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Notice I did not name the airline which is Northwest.
maryanne1 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 06:55 AM
  #6  
Jed
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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On NW, it is still 50K to go to Europe in coach with a standard award.

http://www.nwa.com/freqfly/direct/charts/us49.html
Jed is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 07:05 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Itinerary
Date: 28Feb - Tuesday
Flight: AMERICAN AIRLINES 1805 Boeing 737-800 Passenger(738) Booking Code: Z
Departure: TPA Tampa 08:05 PM 0HR 59MIN
Arrival: MIA Miami 09:04 PM
SEAT 3E First FF# :


Date: 28Feb - Tuesday
Flight: AMERICAN AIRLINES 995 Boeing 777(777) Booking Code: Z
Departure: MIA Miami 11:20 PM 8HR 0MIN
Arrival: GRU Sao Paulo 09:20 AM
SEAT 3A First FF# :


Date: 01Mar - Wednesday
Flight: AMERICAN AIRLINES 951 Boeing 777(777) Booking Code: Z
Departure: GRU Sao Paulo 11:30 AM 0HR 57MIN
Arrival: GIG Rio De Janeiro 12:27 PM
SEAT 3A First FF# :


Date: 07Mar - Tuesday
Flight: BRITISH AIRWAYS 247 Boeing 747-400 Passenger(744) Booking Code: Z
Departure: GRU Sao Paulo 07:00 AM 2HR 40MIN
Arrival: EZE Buenos Aires 09:40 AM
SEAT 2A First FF# :


Date: 16Mar - Thursday
Flight: LAN CHILE 622 Airbus Industrie A340(340) Booking Code: U
Departure: EZE Buenos Aires 11:40 AM 2HR 15MIN
Arrival: SCL Santiago 12:55 PM
SEAT 6D Business FF# :


Date: 22Mar - Wednesday
Flight: LAN CHILE 833 Boeing 767-300 Passenger(763) Booking Code: U
Departure: SCL Santiago 05:05 PM 5HR 20MIN
Arrival: IPC Easter Island 08:25 PM
SEAT 1D Business FF# :


Date: 25Mar - Saturday
Flight: LAN CHILE 842 Boeing 767-300 Passenger(763) Booking Code: U
Departure: IPC Easter Island 01:20 PM 4HR 45MIN
Arrival: SCL Santiago 08:05 PM
SEAT 2D Business FF# :


Date: 25Mar - Saturday
Flight: LAN CHILE 600 Boeing 767-300 Passenger(763) Booking Code: Z
Departure: SCL Santiago 09:35 PM 3HR 40MIN
Arrival: LIM Lima 12:15 AM
SEAT 1D First FF# :


Date: 31Mar - Friday
Flight: LAN CHILE 531 Boeing 767-300 Passenger(763) Booking Code: Z
Departure: LIM Lima 07:20 AM 3HR 20MIN
Arrival: SCL Santiago 11:40 AM
SEAT 1D First FF# :


Date: 31Mar - Friday
Flight: LAN CHILE 500 Boeing 767-300 Passenger(763) Booking Code: Z
Departure: SCL Santiago 09:25 PM 8HR 30MIN
Arrival: MIA Miami 04:55 AM
SEAT 1D First FF# :


Date: 01Apr - Saturday
Flight: AMERICAN AIRLINES 1724 Boeing 737-800 Passenger(738) Booking Code: Z
Departure: MIA Miami 08:00 AM 1HR 0MIN
Arrival: TPA Tampa 09:00 AM
SEAT 3E First FF# :AA


Receipt
PASSENGER TICKET NUMBER FARE TAXES TICKET TOTAL
AAFrequent Flyer M MR 00121405xxxx 0.00 USD 135.55 135.55
Payment Type: Ticket Exchange -00121397xxxx

Total
135.55 USD


180,000 miles and all the finest first class wines free.








AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 07:09 AM
  #8  
 
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ooops, it's not 180,000 it's actually only 150,000 miles.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 07:19 AM
  #9  
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JEB

Trying to get a 50,000 award ticket to Europe for June-August is going to get tough in the next few months. As we saw last year, airlines will start to double the miles and as Delta did, eventually say there are no free flights.

AAFrequentFlyer

You're going to need to join AA after those flights. Congratulations and have a good time! I bet you wouldn't have been able to book that during Christmas/New Year's.
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 10:28 AM
  #10  
KT
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,437
My last two freebies:

1) SFO-Turin; Venice-SFO open jaw at Christmas 2004 (dates were Dec. 25-Jan. 3, exactly what I wanted). Used 50K United miles and flew LH (I think there was a UA codeshare in there). Booked about 4 months in advance, as I recall.

2) SFO-Rome RT this coming April-May. Booked in July 2005 for exactly the flights I wanted. Again, 50K United miles; flying LH. Taxes, etc. under $100.

My last couple of paid flights on BA didn't even earn miles, because they were trans-Atlantic discounted economy tickets. But I took them because they were good sale fares.

I must admit, I was pretty surprised at getting exactly what I wanted both times.
KT is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 11:34 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,999
I haven't cashed in any miles yet for flights this year, but I hope to use AAdvantage miles to upgrade our flights to Hawaii in April. Having just flown coach to Hawaii and back, I'm not looking forward to doing it again soon (yes I'm spoiled ).

I cashed in 480K Delta Skymiles for 4 business class tickets (2 trips) to East Africa last year on a combination Delta/Air France/KLM. I reserved these flights 3-5 months in advance. First trip taxes were $20 each due to DL's calculation error. I fully expected to pay up somewhere along the way, but no airline ever collected the additional taxes. Second trip taxes were correct at around $120 each. Currently hoarding Skymiles so we can go to Africa again, although a Malaysia award to the Maldives and Sri Lanka is tempting me too. What would I do without ff miles?
Patty is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 01:30 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,626
I've had lots of luck in getting free flights, either by: (a) booking far in advance for peak periods (and often choosing bus class); (b) going somewhere a little unusual; (c) being diligent and checking availability daily because sometimes seats open up unexpectedly; (d) having high status on the airline; or (e) just being plain lucky.

Some examples:

(1) Back when I mostly accumulated points on my credit card, I used to redeem my Air Canada Aeroplan miles for last minute trips to New York (when the taxes etc weren't so high) - 15,000 miles a pop.

(2) I've often used points to get bus class seats from the East to West coast at Christmas (an Air Canada bargain at 40,000 miles versus 25,000 for eco - worth it during the crazy Christmas period on long flights), but I book the tickets in Feb. This past Christmas, my husband and I flew YYZ-LAX (for Xmas in Palm Desert with parents), LAX-YVR (New Year's with my sister) and YVR-YYZ (stopover en route back to France) - 40,000 points in bus class. We also flew one way on BA from YYZ-LHR-CDG for 25,000 points each in Economy (painful but cheap). We also gave my mother-in-law a points ticket from YYZ to YVR so that she could spend Christmas with her daughter.

(2) Most of the flights for our honeymoon (Spain and Morocco with stopovers in London and Amsterdam) were booked with BA miles, frequently for one-way tickets (which would have been hugely expensive to buy). A mix of Eco and Bus Class.

(3) I checked availability daily and snagged two "Eco points/Bus Class seats" from YYZ to Cancun to attend a wedding. They loaded new flights on the route one day and I got the seats before they were snapped up. Likewise, I snagged a seat for my husband to visit me in Paris this summer, after checking availability daily (seats on direct flights in Eco suddenly popped up where there had been none before).

(4) I've also had good luck with my BA Platinum Visa, which had good availability for companion tickets when I buy a premium (i.e. World Traveller Plus or higher) fare. I used to be allowed to use this card at least once a year when I was booking a business class flight for work (otherwise, I was supposed to use the corporate card), and took my husband to Europe in bus class (including on our honeymoon) for just a few hundred dollars a ticket. He got a bus class companion ticket for me for YYZ to Barbados with his Aeroplan Amex (one bus class ticket was roughly equal to two eco tickets).

(5) We've secured tickets from Paris to Oman on BA in the spring in World Traveller Plus on BA.

And I still have almost half a million miles left to fund our travels for the next few years.
Kate_W is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 06:03 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Using AmEx points, just about three weeks ago, which had been saved up for a LONG time, since I was not sure how to use them... LOL... Actually, I think they have made it a lot easier to redeem those points since Capital One started advertising that you could fly any airline, anytime with their card points.

One ticket for hubby, ORD to BKK on AA... 1/17/06 to 2/5/06
and
Three tickets for ORD to LAS for 2/7/06 to 2/14/06 on AA.

I hope UA isn't reading this thread... I always fly UA!! LOL I'm a premier exec flier with them. I had a bad experience (with destroyed luggage) on AA a number of years ago and vowed to not fly with them again... oops!!
Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 06:57 PM
  #14  
 
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Posts: 1,276
How do you all earn your FF miles? I've earned mine the "old fashioned" way because I'm young and stupid and paying off credit card debt, so until I get rid of that debt I won't allow myself a new mileage card. (No rewards until I can prove myself worthy, ya know?

My job only sends my flying once a year for an annual conference DH's job doesn't require him to rack up toooo many miles, except occasional intl jaunts.

How do you acquire hundreds of thousands of miles? Lots of travel for work? What industry are you in? (And sign me up!)
lynnejoel1015 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 07:27 PM
  #15  
 
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The most "economical" way to earn a lot of FF miles is by flying long international routes. For example, JFK-NRT-BKK is almost 10,000 miles, or 20K roundtrip.

25K will earn one basic level "elite" status, which gives you 25% or 50% bonus miles for flights in the subsequent year (or longer, depeding on when one earns his/her "elite" status).

50K (under 3 roundtrips to Bangkok) a year means middle level "elite" status, with 100% bonus miles. That means earning 100K miles a year (50K flying + 50% bonus). That's enough for one business class ticket to Europe every year.

US-Bangkok fares are often <$1,000. So, $3,000 a year gets you three trips to Thailand in economy plus one trip to Europe in business. Just as an example.

Also, many airline credit cards have big bonus miles when joining. I got 25K miles by getting the DL AMEX card.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 08:22 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867

I don't have problems getting FF flights because I usually fly by myself, am flexible in my dates and rarely go anywhere during the busy season. I also tend to go to places that are out of favor -- France right after we started bombing Irag, Egypt when Americans are afraid to go to the Mid-East etc.

In order to accumulate miles, I use the Alaska Airline credit card for everything that I pay for and rarely fly airlines that don't give me miles on Alaska. For my hotel stays I ask for FF miles instead of points towards future stays at the hotel.

On a related issue, when I was younger & money was scarce, I used my FFM for domestic flights. When my parents grew elderly I always kept enough miles in my account so I could fly to them in case of emergency on a moment's notice.

Now I save my miles for Business Class long haul flights -- Europe, Africa, etc.

sunshine007 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 07:22 AM
  #17  
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Just a note from Wally: I visited the www.aa.com site to see if I could get a free ticket on American. They wouldn't go to Berlin, but I could get a ticket for 60,000 miles to London, but they wouldn't give me the Miami London direct flight--I would have to go through Chicago, New York or Boston.

I visited Continental.com and it would take 100,000 miles to go to Berlin--not the 50,000 I used on BA. But as rkkwan mentioned, the taxes and fees were much cheaper--only $46.46.
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 07:28 AM
  #18  
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100,000 for Delta and NWA, too.
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 07:29 AM
  #19  
 
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On many airline's website, you can only get FF award ticket on its own planes or selected partners. For other partners, one need to call.

Continental holds its inventory very tight for international award tickets on its own planes. But going to Berlin, one can use DL, NW/KL, AF, AZ, or even CZA Czech, using CO miles at standard 50K level. That's how I ended up on AF on my way to Italy last Christmas.

One needs to use the phone. Also, being "elite" will have access to more award inventories.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 08:19 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Exactly!

For award travel, www.aa.com will only show AA metal flights.

AA does not fly to Berlin, but many of it's partners do:
BA
Iberia
Swiss
FinnAir
Turkish
AerLingus

One needs to call to check inventory.

Besides, earning 60 or even a 100K miles on US based airlines is comparable to earning about 20K BA miles at best, when flying on low fares. So if an award is few thousand more on paper, it's actually a lot cheaper in reality.

But, Wally is very happy with his free cheap wines. I laugh at Wally everytime I fly.......

I also wonder. How many glasses of wine does Wally have before posting here??? only because, none of his arguments make any sense and they are VERY weak at best....

I may get banned for this posting, so be it, but I despise ignorance and stupidity.... so whatever happens, happens.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  

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