Advice needed on using FF miles for 2008

Aug 29th, 2007, 01:16 PM
  #1  
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Advice needed on using FF miles for 2008

I am planning a trip to Berlin/Geneva for September 2008 using FF miles. I have read all about the 330 day call in the middle of the night to get seats but am wondering how critical this is for travel in Sept. I was curious and checked for doing the same trip THIS YEAR and found many open tickets at the 25,000 level and it's only a few weeks away. I know things could change and it might be a lot more difficult next year but I'm thinking my trip would probably be pretty easy to book next May or June. Have you had much trouble using your FF miles in September with only several months notice?
Wekiva is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:21 PM
  #2  
 
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I'm not an expert with FF miles but we just used miles to purchase flights to Geneva and out of Venice for April/early May of this year. I assumed that we would have no problems getting the dates that we wanted given that its midseason in Switzerland (too late for winter sports and too early for summer ones) but we ended up loosing a day of our vacation and had to rearrange our itinerary to get a decent flight back home. So basically I wouldn't assume anything. If you know where you want to go and when you want to go, I would book it.

Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Oops, that was supposed to be April/early May of NEXT year. Sorry!
tcreath is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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I don't know what airline FF miles you have nor what booking class you want but speaking about AA, there are more seat availabilities using economy miles (40,000-60,000) than business class miles (milesaaver at 90,000). There's no need to do the 329 days at midnight wait because sometimes the seats you want are not even available until a few days later... you just need to be checking constantly. However, as soon as you know your dates and destinations, its always advisable to book early. Good Luck.
JoyC is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:28 PM
  #5  
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I agree that once a trip is pretty much set then go ahead and reserver. But for this trip there is a 50/50 chance it will fall through. I know there is a cancel/redeposit fee but do you also lose the other fees as well. All told it would be several hundred dollars lost. Not a big deal...but that's a new lens for my camera
Wekiva is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Sorry forgot to add one of the most important things in booking using FF miles.... flexibility.
JoyC is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:32 PM
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Again speaking for AA alone, there is no fee for change in date/time as long as the route is the same. I believe there is a $100 fee to change route or to cancel + any additional taxes (only for route change).
JoyC is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:33 PM
  #8  
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We are using Continental and/or their partners. Just on continental alone there are many options for Sept and a ton for October for the cheapest seats...25K, and that doesn't even factor in all their partners. Seems like it would be very easy right now to travel in Sept of this year anyway.
Wekiva is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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The questions are:

1. How flexible are you?

2. Are you trying to fly on CO or everybody else.

First, yes, airlines release more seats for award travel closer the travel date when seats are unsold. If you're pretty flexible with your date and exact routing, you can get to Switzerland/Germany by booking later and using miles. But you can't say it has to be flight XY345 on September 23rd, 2008 and not anything else.

A lot of people here DO want or need specific dates as they want to book apartments 9 months ahead; or they don't fly some airlines and won't go through certain airports. Those people need to claim miles 330/1 days in advance, even in off-season.

Second, Continental doesn't release standard awards at 330/331 days like everybody else. They usually start releasing them about 4-5 months before flight time and not earlier. So, if you want to fly them (whether using CO or any partner's miles - DL, NW, Flying Blue, etc), there's no point trying early. It also means that if you have Onepass miles but needs to get to book things early, you need to use a partner.

Anyways, I have helped my family and myself claimed perhaps a million or more Onepass miles in the last 4-5 years; and only one time have I used Easypass (double miles; for the return leg from Milan back to Houston after Christmas). Never book 330/331 days ahead. At most 3-4 months. Often within a week of travel.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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Hi Wekiva,

Are you sure about the 25K miles? I know you're talking about Sept/Oct but, I believe it's 50K round trip to Europe from the USA??

In any case, we have Delta Skymiles, which are part of the Skyteam alliance, and CO is part of that as well. It has taken me 3 years to use the miles we built up. I find that absurd so I cancelled the credit card I was using! We weren't trying to go during peak season either! I did call 330 days in advance at midnight for a flight from Boston to Nice, France round trip. We were planning to go 2 years ago in September or October. I was VERY flexible. I got thru at 12:05a.m. and nothing was available on Delta or their partners for anytime in Sept/Oct. Is it really possible that so many people were all calling at midnight for the same routing on the same dates? Yes, I had preferred dates but, I told them to look for anything that might be available. I was flexible and the best the agent could do was 3 stops in both directions. As if flying isn't exhausting enough, can you even imagine? The other important thing to note, the only flights that were available 330 days in advance were Delta flights. Nothing on CO or any other partner. I finally talked to someone helpful at Delta (which is a challenge in itself) a year later who told me to call back sporadically and just keep checking. Delta's partners do not make their flights available to Delta 330 days in advance so the best you will do if you call is to find a Delta flight. I assume CO would be the same way? This year I called by chance in January for our trip to Italy this Sept/Oct. I must have called the day that Air France gave them their inventory because I had my pick of flights and dates!! We were given great connections and my first choice of date was available.

The point is, keep trying if you don't get what you want right away. Also, try in January for Sept/Oct travel. I know Air France and Alitalia were both options at that time and I believe they had flights available thru October 20th when I called in early January. I assume CO would receive inventory from their Skyteam partners around the same time as I did on Delta.

Good luck!
ILUVPARIS is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 02:24 PM
  #11  
 
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I book European travel on Continental using FF miles 3-4 times a year and have never had a problem getting the 25K level tix as long as I am flex by a few days. I am flying out of a hub though--Newark, which may make a difference. I do have difficulty using my miles for travel w/in the states for what that is worth.

Continental has a search calendar that you can use to plug in different dates and cities, I just use that and at this point just kinda decide where to go based on what is available. That said I have had no problem getting cities I want.
cherrybomb is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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Re: 25K level--they charge by the segment, 25K or 33,500--you could get a 25K on the way out and 37,500 on the way back. I was referring to 25K each way. I am assuming the OP is as well.
cherrybomb is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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Actually, Onepass awards to Europe is 25,000mi one-way for standard award and 50,000mi one-way for SleazyPass.

So, depending on availability, you may spend 50K, 75K or 100K for a roundtrip to Europe.

There's no such thing as a 37,500 one-way award to Europe from the continental US.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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I have more FF miles than I know what to do with ..on one airline alone about 450,000. I am really loose when I chose to cash them in. I dont have specific dates but a large "window". I have found that the best values arent for the long European flight but the short ones- NYC Chicago. When I look at cost vs point I really think these tend to be the best bargain in the long run.
travelbunny is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:13 PM
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I booked FF miles on NWA, in January, for a flight on Sept. 5 to AMS, then continuing on Croatian Air to Zagreb, for which I had to pay. I had to give up 75,000 for each of us for the RT to AMS/PDX, but had more than that. I know that had I booked later, I could have possibly "paid" less, but the seats were exactly the days I wanted. Friends who wanted to use miles to fly to Rome for a cruise in Oct. were quoted 100,000 miles each. It seems to be like a lottery. I considered myself lucky. I booked it on the NWA web site, and even my TA, who had tried to find me various seats to fit my needs, could not and was surprised that I had done it. Ciao! mhm
mercy is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 08:08 AM
  #16  
 
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rkkwan: you are correct--I was tossing in 37,500 based on inter-lower 48 US flight costs--it is 25 or 50K continental in economy each way, or 50, 75 or 100K rt depending on the combo, price one choses. The lower 48 can run 12,500 or 25K each way making a rt 25K, 37,500 or 50K.

My error.
cherrybomb is offline  

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