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How far in advance do you book your bonus miles trips?

How far in advance do you book your bonus miles trips?

Feb 13th, 2002, 10:17 AM
  #1  
Lisa
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How far in advance do you book your bonus miles trips?

We are new at this and we cannot get any flights on US Air in May to Paris. Just curious how far in advance you more experienced frequent fliers book your free trips.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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Would you believe that I booked last month for a flight In early September from Charlotte to Paris?
True. I might have waited, but the number of seats is/was limited. When I was told that only 6 seats remained on my preferred dates, I decided to wait no longer. You must be flexible, too, because if your first flight choice is booked, you either don't go or change.

Good Luck!!
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #3  
Sue
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At far ahead as possible; last year I booked in Jan. for trip to Italy in May, and could not get the exact dates I wanted. The earlier, the better.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 10:40 AM
  #4  
Richard
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330 days for the outbound, same for the return.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 10:41 AM
  #5  
Matt
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I lucked out last year. Booked a trip to Italy using my American airlines miles three weeks ahead, for a May trip. When you talked with the US Air frequent flyer desk, did you ask about getting there via one of their partners? Isn't American still tied to them as part of One World Alliance? Or another option, ask them to route you to London and then change planes (again, on whoever their foreign partner airline is) and continue on to Paris. OR you could fly into either London or to Brussels; take the train (Chunnel) to Paris.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 10:47 AM
  #6  
maria
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It's never too early( but they won't let you do it more than a year in advance). They assign very few seats for standard reward travel and some airlines block week-end travel to Europe during the summer. If you're going to use the "anytime" reward level, these usually are not capacity controlled and don't have blocked dates. I think most airlines don't charge if you need to change your dates after the tickets have been issued( as long as the itinerary stays the same), so there is no incentive to wait.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 11:23 AM
  #7  
manny
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As someone said above, the earlier the better as they limit the number of seats available for frequent flyier miles. Be flexible on your dates, usually you have a better chance flying on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday both ways. And as someone suggested try one of their airline partners. American Airlines is no longer affiliated with them. May through October is very hard to get one of these flights as that is prime time.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 11:29 AM
  #8  
KT
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There is a chance that more FF seats will become available as the date nears if the flight isn't selling well, if you want to keep checking. But I wouldn't bet on it for Paris in May!
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 11:36 AM
  #9  
Howard
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As some previous posters have said: 1. The earlier the better; 2. Be flexible. That usually means between 9-11 months before. Obviously, your chances depend on how many flights are scheduled from and to the airports the round trip will involve.
For example, we booked our May trip to Paris from NY in October. I thought even that was too late, and it would have been if we hadn't had some flexibility on dates. Happily, because we could be flexible,our 11-day trip became a 14-day one!
Usually, you need more lead time for overseas travel than within the continental US. At least, that's been my experience.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:00 PM
  #10  
Elsa
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I just tried to get upgrades for Apr./May Boston-Paris and there is not much available --- which I expected. The agent said 20% of AA's fleet has been cut as well as traffic to Europe is picking up.

So, book as soon as you have figured out when you want to travel. If you have a free ticket you can change the dates (providing the new date(s) are available)w/o a charge.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:16 PM
  #11  
Patrick
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I pretty much make my plans a year or more in advance and then mark on the calendar for the 330 days ahead of the departure date. That's how early American will let you book. On that exact day I book the flight over, then wait until 330 days before the return and book the return flight. This past summer the return date got by me by a week or so. When I called -- about 320 days before the return I wanted, I had to delay to stay in Europe an extra day. As someone else mentioned, with the free business class ticket on FF miles, now I can change without any penalty if there are seats available on another date -- but frankly, I've never done that. Once I've made my plans, I tend to stick to them.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:24 PM
  #12  
X
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Keep repeating 330 days. Think 330. Get your outbound. Then wait the requisite number of days and get your inbound. Each should be in hand on that 330th day before the respective departure.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:31 PM
  #13  
Richard
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As usual, redundant replies, book early, 330 days max.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:32 PM
  #14  
melissadicicco
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I called USAir, and a woman there told me that I had to wait 11 months from the day I want to RETURN to the US to book the round-trip flight. We are pretty flexible (we are teachers, so we don't work in July and part of August), but we would like to go for as many days as possible - probably 40. I am thinking about whether that will make it more difficult for us to get the tickets.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:43 PM
  #15  
xxx
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Melissa,
Remember another rule about dealing with the airlines. If you don't get the answer you want (within reason), politely hang up and call again. You'd be amazed.

Doing with 330 day thing works for me as well, even more important because I book four at a time.

The poster who said seats open up later is correct. The poster who said AA's fleet is down 20% is nearly correct. Some routes are down 30%. But the good news is they are adding flights back. So keep calling and good luck getting the seats you want!

P.S. Early weekend mornings is a good time to call. Late night is OK, but I find I sometimes get clueless people during this time.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:49 PM
  #16  
Sherry
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I hope that I explain this correctly. You can book with US Airways with a connect to places they do not fly directly using a partner airline. But you must use 60,000 miles instead of 50,000. For instance, you can use ff miles to go from PHL to Nice using US Airways ff miles. They will fly you PHL to CDG and on to Nice let us say on someone like British Airways. You must use more ff miles. BUt if they fly directly to a city, like Paris, I do not know if they will make that trip available to you using a partner ailine and miles. I flew PIT to Nice, through Brussels for 60,000 miles. But they do not fly directly to Nice. But you can try it.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 12:51 PM
  #17  
Patrick
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Melissa. . . . maybe that is true of US Air, but with American, they took the outward bound reservation and held it until I could book the return. We are staying in Europe for 90 days, but that was no problem. They held the first half of the round trip for the 90 days (plus my extra days when I forgot) until I could book the return. Since US Air takes the reservation 11 months out (330 days) I'd try to book the flight 330 days from your departure date, and if they give you grief, I'd try to insist that I needed to confirm that departure and would wait until they could book my return. This may easily be one of those cases as mentioned above where if you don't get the answer you want, hang up and try again. I know that one time booking my outward flight with AA, the agent kept telling me I had to do the return at the same time. When I finally just insisted that I'd be happy if he could figure out how to do it since it was over a year away, he finally got a supervisor to help him. Then he agreed to take the first half and put the reservation on a hold.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 02:15 PM
  #18  
Joanne
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My goodness, that 330 days is probably a good idea, but it certainly isn't necessary. Last year in early April, I booked 3 tickets together for a flight to London in July returning 3 weeks later in mid-August. Everything is different from last year, I know, but if you're flying out in less than 330 days, don't despair!

I, too, have had the experience of getting an answer I didn't like and just calling the airline right back, and having a better experience with a different agent.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 02:37 PM
  #19  
kitty
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Last June we went to London on frequent flier miles with Delta. I needed 4 tickets and I called the previous August. Even calling that early I did not get my first choice of dates. I had to take what I could get. Basically the only way to use Delta I've found is to call as soon as you have an inkling you might want to go and be flexible with your dates. We've got enough points for the 4 of us to go to Europe again so I'm already trying to decide if we want to go in summer 2003 and then call this summer to book.

I always do things far in advance. I made reservations in September for us to go on a cruise in June. That way we got the ship we wanted with early purchase discounts.

Good luck.
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 02:50 PM
  #20  
KT
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You might luck out if you book late, but it's certainly not something to count on. In late January I managed to get a NW/KLM FF ticket to Hannover and back from Prague, departing in early May. But the return ticket was literally the only available FF seat within weeks of that date, so I consider it a lucky fluke. A couple of years ago I booked a FF ticket RT to Edinburgh for June over seven months in advance and not only had to be very flexible about dates, but had the most convoluted routing you can image.
 

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