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Old 02-08-2013, 01:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
Fuego, can I interest you in being my frequent flyer travel agent? I need to use my random assortment of miles to get one ways to UK and home from UB! My, what a pita to figure out!
One neat tool is Google Flights. Enter your destination, date etc and then you can sort by nonstop, select carriers, price etc etc. Play with it and there are all sorts of ways to change dates, add/remove days etc.

There's a bar graph piece that is awesome to figure out best prices etc.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:35 PM   #22
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Thanks for the tip, marko. I'm also complicating my life because I don't know exactly when we are arriving at our final destination by land, so need flights that can be changed without penalty, at least for those one-ways.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:26 PM   #23
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Fuego, can I interest you in being my frequent flyer travel agent? I need to use my random assortment of miles to get one ways to UK and home from UB! My, what a pita to figure out!
I haven't even looked at any of the programs for well over a year now (due to the new baby/toddler). Flyertalk was helpful. And some trial and error. And booking early. I wish I could help more but haven't kept up with the different programs. I still have a lot of miles on British air, American, and United I think. And about to get 100,000 more Southwest miles in a month or so.

And we are still living it up with Starwood Hotel points. I noticed Starwood has some very beautiful hotels and resorts in Asia and other remote places that are available for a tiny bit of points. One hotel (Le Meridien??) in Angkor Wat caught my eye. Look into the Starwood Amex if you don't already have 1 or 4 or them.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:05 PM   #24
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Fuego, when we get that companion pass later this month on SW, I expect some good advice!
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:12 AM   #25
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Looking at November I found a flight to Buenos Aires with a choice of about 3 days I would go from Phoenix to DFW and spend the night there then leave the next day at 7:30 pm. Too bad I don't know anyone in Dallas anymore....sigh.
Also, lots of flights where you land in Dallas at 4:40 pm say and your next flight would take off at 5:10 pm which is not enough time to take the chance on changing planes; so, my next choices would require anywhere from a 3-5 hour wait till the next flight when you had to change planes.
Do they do this on purpose?
Yes, I think they do this on purpose. Seems as if the only international flights I can get at the lowest FF levels are ones where you're almost guaranteed to miss your connection or you stay overnight somewhere. Eliminate those obstacles and the airline will have you shelling out the 60-70k miles for the flight.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:20 AM   #26
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I was looking around that google flight search and found quite a few where you had to change airports! Yikes! No thanks!

However when I checked on United, one of the FF cards I have, I found some very reasonable (30k miles) flights available that fit the bill perfectly for the two one way to London flights I need in July.

Will see how that looks for the UB home and Vladivostok home legs, where I'll probably be using the dreaded Delta miles.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:59 PM   #27
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After many hours burning the computer out looking at where to go and how and when (etc.) finally got 2 free trips out of American: Krakow/Vienna (and Prague by train) and Buenos Aires.
Just did some reading about Prague and Krakow (Vienna will be no problem), but few (very few) people speak any English at all there--especially Prague.
This should be fun when I take this trip alone most likely...can't say I'm not adventurous (LOL!).
But since the merger is on with US Airways and American--and it has been reported they will change their frequent flier mile structure--I wanted to use at least some of my miles by booking before April this year.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:36 PM   #28
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it does some good to understand how to book their partners as well. For example, with AA you can book LAN to south America, but you have to book by phone, as it won't show up online. With my AA miles, I booked Cathay Pacific over to SE asia, another carrier with decent availability, but it won't show up on aa.com. hopefully you booked a low cost trip to hawaii (or two) with your bookings!
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:36 AM   #29
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It's a bit of a crap shoot, but I've booked dozens of international frequent flyer flights over the past 10 years and most for relatively low mileage.

That isn't always possible....over the XMAS holidays this year I flew my son out from DC to Manila (where my DW & I currently live) and had to use 120k miles on Delta (rather than the 60k minimum). But that WAS the holidays.

Generally, I've found Delta the hardest to use mileage to get good deals on tickets, but they tend to be quite good for upgrades....For 50k miles, for example, you can get a round trip upgrade from coach to business from Manila to DC on Delta's newly upgraded (and very plush) business/first flatbed service (you also have to pay about a $500 premium on the cheapest ($1500) coach ticket.

United has been very good for cheap mileage flights within Asia and it also has a very easy to use website. You'll see tons of flights from Bangkok to Manila to Singapore to Tokyo, etc.; on Singapore Air, Thai Air, Asiana, etc.; typically for 12,500 miles each way in coach and 17,500 in business...and stops are included! My wife and I are flying roundtrip from Manila to Denpasar (Bali) next month on Singapore Air with a stop in Singapore for 35,000 miles roundtrip (each) way in business! (And Singapore's international business class is amazingly good!)

From the U.S. I've also had good luck on flights across the Atlantic to Europe, in both business and coach. I even lucked out once to score roundtrip First Class tickets on Lufthansa to Toulouse and Barcelona for my honeymoon for 100k, but that took some finagling to transfer miles to AirCanada, which had some kind of a special deal. I must say, it was a gas though getting picked up on the tarmac in a limo in Munich to transfer to and from the first class lounge!

But typically, good deals to Europe are ONLY available in the off-season and you have to have some flexibility on dates and destinations. In recent years I've had better luck (even during the high season) using mileage to upgrade coach tickets to business (for anywhere from 10k to 20k miles each way, and once with a $400 rd trip supplement to get in the right fare category).

It does take some perseverance....and it helps if you're a premium member and can use their book desk....the web sites can be somewhat opaque, particularly for partner airlines.

But even when you get frustrated, you can sometimes get cheap paid seats on many of the new budget carriers (particularly in Asia and Europe) and sometimes on the traditional careers trying to compete... My wife and I were able to get $200 round trip tickets to Siem Reap (Ankor Wat), Cambodia and Hong Kong from Manila on Cebu Pacific (and they're sometimes half that) and I lucked out another time and got $355 round trip business class tickets on Cathay Pacific from Manila to Beijing (I almost purchased what I thought were well priced coach tickets for $350, but luckily decided to check business before clicking the mouse!).

So, keep trying! And good Luck!
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:32 AM   #30
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I go from Dallas to London about once (sometimes twice) per year on American. Last time I tried to book with AAdvantage miles the (coach) fee had gone from around $100 to $400. Anyone else experience this?
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:05 AM   #31
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Yes. I did it for trips to Europe and Guatemala on United / Continental. I am happy to pay a fee for more leg room on these long flights.

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Originally Posted by Orchidflower View Post
Has anyone here been able to book an international trip using frequent flyer miles at the coach level using the minimum miles??
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:03 AM   #32
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I go from Dallas to London about once (sometimes twice) per year on American. Last time I tried to book with AAdvantage miles the (coach) fee had gone from around $100 to $400. Anyone else experience this?
did you book a leg on British Airways? AA will charge you "fuel surcharges" on segments on BA. The fuel surcharges are darn near what a ticket would cost sometimes. So, if BA is your only option, it is best to survey if the money saved is worth the miles.

Flying in and out of London is expensive in the first place. Part of the reason I've been to 20 or so countries in my life, but never the UK.
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