Frequent Flyer miles

Old Mar 20th, 1999, 05:57 AM
Posts: n/a
Frequent Flyer miles

I've been saving my frequent flyer miles and finally have enough to get a free ticket in the US this summer. I don't know anything about using these miles though I've heard that many people use them for upgrades. For now, I'd rather travel for free in steerage. Is it better to use the miles now (possibly from NY to CA) or is it better to continue to save the miles and then use them to get a free trip to Europe?

Old Mar 20th, 1999, 06:59 AM
Jay Frank
Posts: n/a
Boy, that's a hard one, since the answer depends on a host of things that none of us could know -- e.g.:

What do you like to do?
Where would you like to go?
How often do you fly?
Would you be flying alone?

To give uo a chance to visit Venice in six months in favor of a quick trip to Cleveland might be a little suspect. But giving up a chance to visit the Florida Keys so that you might get to Venice in 2 or 3 years would be, in my opinion, just a silly.

Or, when in doubt, go for it!
Old Mar 20th, 1999, 01:02 PM
Posts: n/a
Caryn, Its probably too late to get a ticket using your miles. You generally need to book 9+ months in advance for Europe. The earliest you can book is 330 days out, and to get the dates and locations you want, I'd recommend calling on that date. I once waited until about 10 months out and it was too late.

Another factor is that, with most airlines, its a lot fewer miles to fly Oct. 15 through Apr. 15. For example, on American Air its 60,000 for a free ticket in the summer, but only 40,000 during the off-peak season.

I'd recommed saving up for the extra 15,000 miles and going late next spring.

Its a little easier for tickets in the US, and you only need about 4-6 months to get what you want.

Good luck! To build up more miles, consider getting a credit card that gives you miles, or switching your long distance. many will give you 10,000 miles just for switching if you stay with them for 6 months.
Old Mar 20th, 1999, 01:22 PM
Posts: n/a

I'm using my American Airlines frequent flyer miles for my trip to Europe next month. And despite what the previous poster said, I was able to obtain a ticket only 3 mos. ahead (actually I first called American in late January, for an intial reservation, but didn't actually issue the ticket until several weeks later). I do suspect that during the summertime, which is high season for most travel, that you may not be so lucky. Another thing to consider is that for 40,000 miles (once again on American traveling between October thru May 15 (?)), you can get the best "bang for your buck". Because American has a reciprocity agreement with British Airways, I'm flying to a destination via BA that otherwise couldn't get to using American. And they allow one "stopover" - only requirement is that you cross the ocean on American. So, my itinerary is as follows: fly non-stop from Dallas to London on American; after a few hours layover in Gatwick, board a British Airways plane to Paris. (Paris is my "stopover" spot). I'll be staying in Paris for several days. Then I continue on my vacation, by getting back on British Airways to London, change planes & fly on to Rome, Italy. Yes, I agree - it's a tad convoluted, but I have to go backwards to go forwards. I'll spend the next 2 weeks in Italy. To return, I again have to make a pitstop thru London Gatwick (boy, will I know that airport!) - then back on an American Airlines flight direct from London to Dallas. The only cost? $35.00 for taxes & fees.
Old Mar 20th, 1999, 01:37 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the responses so far. Unfortunately, spring travel is not an option because I am a teacher and can only go during the summer if I want to go for more than 9 days. I guess this means that I may as well save up those miles for Europe b/c it's not likely that I'll even get a free trip to CA this summer. BTW, I already signed up for MCI long distance so I can save miles. The credit card requires a fee so I don't have one of those. I generally don't charge that much anyway.

As for my interests, I've been to Europe 4 times and am going to London (for the 3rd time) next week. I have not been to CA and would really like to go and drive from San Diego to San Francisco, maybe even up to Vancouver if I had enough time. I will be doing all this traveling with my boyfriend. I guess I manage to fly once or twice a year. Sometimes only to Florida which is 3,000 miles round trip. My miles are all on Continental. I guess I have to do more research.

FYI: One great way to get $ for airfare is to complain in writing if anything goes wrong with your flight. My flight from FL was delayed 3 hours once. I complained and Continental sent me a $200 voucher. My flight last summer to Europe was delayed 9 hours (it was horrible). I complained again and Continental sent me a $400 voucher. These vouchers are like cash towards a ticket good for 2 years. So that is why I'm going to London next week for FREE!
Once I was delayed on TWA for 5 hours coming home to NY from Athens. However, their compensation was only $50 good for only one year. It was a horrible flight there and back, too. But thank God the plane didn't blow up because this was the same week TWA flight 800 did blow up near Long Island.
Old Mar 21st, 1999, 05:09 AM
Posts: n/a
We fly almost exclusively with frequent flyer miles. We are able to use credit cards because of our business and send at least one set of our parents to somewhere in the US every year. In return, they take care of our two preschool children when we're traveling. We have miles with three airlines, and contrary to what was previously posted, the airlines have been surprisingly good to work with. Usually I call the airlines and tell them where we would like to go, and we're flexible with our dates. We've never had a problem because we're flexible. We're going to Switzerland this May on American Airlines for free. I originally planned to go the end of May or first of June, but the reservation agent told me if we could return by May 15, we would save 20,000 miles each. Now that's helping the customer! We made our airlines reservations in January.
Old Mar 23rd, 1999, 04:02 PM
Posts: n/a
Caryn --
We bought a frequent flier TKT (Chicago to Paris)in January for a late June-early July trip. It was not a problem but they mentioned that these seats fill rather quickly.

You might be able to get a really inepensive ticket to CA. Check out and go to the newsdesk for information on deals.

Old Mar 23rd, 1999, 04:54 PM
Posts: n/a
Hello Caryn, I don't know anything about frequent flyer miles, but I do know California. The California coastline in late Sept/early October is quite beautiful. Don't stop in San Francisco, keep going! The Mendocino coast is the best. If you have any specifics feel free to e-mail me. I live in Northern California, so not quite as familiar with Southern CA. I have only been to Europe once, and am currently plan a trip for October with my husband. Hope any of this might help.
Old Mar 23rd, 1999, 06:55 PM
Posts: n/a
You can wait another couple years to rack up enough frequent flyer miles for a free trip out of the U.S. or just come on out to California this summer! Besides, you can usually find relatively inexpensive tickets to Europe from the East Coast. And, although there is always more to see and do in Europe, maybe you're ready to see a different part of the world this time. Another consideration is to pick another part of the world altogether! For example, it's expensive to get to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Bali, Vietnam), but will cost you next to nothing once you're there.

I grew up in the San Francisco area and live on the south central coast in Santa Barbara. This is a huge, very diverse state and there's plenty to see. If you're thinking about a trip to California, check out the Fodor U.S. Forum and search under California. There are dozens of great ideas.

Go somewhere, anywhere! Bon voyage!
Old Mar 24th, 1999, 06:28 AM
Brian in Atlanta
Posts: n/a
Caryn, from your second message of this post, it sounds like you really want to go to California (and your idea of a driving trip between San Diego and San Francisco sounds great!) Life is short, I say you go for it. If you're flexible enough, you should have no problem getting a free ticket in the summer (that is, if Continental flies to the cities you want). Plus, you should be able to get a resonable fair from NYC to Europe anytime if you plan ahead far enough.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information