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-   -   Using AA Miles for ticket to New Zealand or Australia (https://www.fodors.com/community/australia-and-the-pacific/using-aa-miles-for-ticket-to-new-zealand-or-australia-316570/)

jewelhawg Mar 4th, 2008 03:34 PM

Using AA Miles for ticket to New Zealand or Australia
 
It is my understanding that American Airlines has a 329 day policy for booking flights. So, today, March 4, I thought I would be able to book a flight departing on January 28 or 29 of 2009.

Since we want to use miles, I called the Aadvantage desk to see what flights/options are available from LAX to New Zealand, with a week-long layover in Australia.

The agent started checking for me and couldn't find ANYTHING on Qantas. She started with January 29 and went all the way back to January 1. She thought is was possible the flights weren't "loaded" into the system or Qantas hadn't released seats to them yet.

I'm able to go on the Qantas website and PURCHASE a ticket all the up until February 21, 2009. Of course, we'd rather use miles with the hopes of flying Business or First since the flights are sooooo long.

Does this sound correct to anyone? Do you have any hints on how to secure a ticket to NZ/Oz using miles?

Songdoc Mar 4th, 2008 03:44 PM

Last week I secured a ticket using 70,000 FF miles on AA going from Nashville to Auckland; Christchurch to Sydney; and Sydney back to Nashville -- for travel commencing May 17th (about 11 weeks in advance). The international flights are on Qantas.

The only catch is that I'll have to stay overnight in L.A. to connect to an AA flight on the way home -- unless something opens up. (They've got me on a waiting list.)

Of course, January is more of a peak season for Australia/NZ ... but I'd guess there should be something available this far out if you've got flexibility.

The other suggestion is to keep calling back. The agent who got me my flights seemed to be checking every possible routing.

Good luck!

owl Mar 4th, 2008 06:49 PM

go to flyertalk.com and post there for additional help. Remember that AA is partners with Air Tahiti Nui and Air Pacific. Check these partner routings. I'm going in Jan 2009 on award tix--outbound stopping over in Tahiti (on Air Tahiti nui) and returning via Nadi on Air Pacific. I, too, had the same problem until the flyertalk board helped me. good luck!

koala Mar 22nd, 2008 10:21 AM

Similar experience with United, there didn't seem to be anything available for FF tix during peak season, but we kept calling back and things opened up. I think the airlines gradually release blocks of FF seats over time, so you just have to keep calling. Pain in the rear, but a free ticket.

Orlando_Vic Mar 22nd, 2008 12:07 PM

You might find more information on this subject in the airlines forum. In the "search this forum" box, type in "Qantas" and see what you get!

mlgb Mar 22nd, 2008 07:18 PM

I think the problem is that you're trying to book in peak season.

Theoretically there should be seats, but good luck with that.

Louise Mar 23rd, 2008 05:32 AM

It is very difficult to get seats anytime. There is some information on this forum if you type in "Qantas" in Search This Forum.

swdke Mar 27th, 2008 09:07 AM

Using award miles can be very difficult. Your biggest problem is the date your traveling, in January, a peak period. If you were to go in November, you would find more availability, at least for coach award seats. Have you considered using one of American's partner airlines? You'd have to be routed through Japan, Hong Kong, or perhaps some other country, but it does increase you options for using an award ticket. Also, keep trying.

chadnycity Apr 2nd, 2008 12:49 PM

I used miles to book in November and my trip is Sydney with layover in Auckland (which you could extend). Maybe it's your dates, but it is possible. I booked at 00:30 hrs on the 329th day.

Note: i just discovered that you can also use miles to travel once you get there and it's only 20k. I'm using my additional 20k to go from Sydney to Ayers Rock to Cairns and then departing from Cairns back home. Those trips are easier to get on so you should start saving now.

SnRSeattle Apr 4th, 2008 08:14 PM

Dear jewelhawg, please do not give up hope! We called every day (and sometimes twice a day) for about 3 or 4 weeks until we got coach seats, and then kept calling to get them changed to first class. It took a few more weeks, but we got the seats. A few months later, we called about 3 times a week trying to get the dates changed trying to reduce the vacation from 5 weeks to 4 weeks for a variety of reasons, and there were plenty of coach seats, but we were not able to get any other first class seats. So we just "sucked it up" and enjoyed the 5 weeks! My advice, keep calling. Keep track of which agents are helpful (although I think we only got the same agent a few times!) and keep calling. They release seats at different times and you have to call at just those times. I called Qantas and they said that they released the same seats to partner airlines (we were on Alaska) as they do to Qantas FF members, so it is even-steven, though the Qantas members (rightly) feel it isn't fair--but I am selfish enough to be glad that they do it the way they do. Keep calling--and good luck!
Sally in Seattle


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