Advice On Purchasing R/T Tickets

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by rodeojones, Dec 26, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    First off, I wanted to express my appreciation and gratitude to this great message board. Being new to the reward game, you guys have been extremely helpful and gracious with your advice and help. In a few short months, I have a completely new and different perspective on booking flights/hotels which lead me to my question.

    The clouds and rain are getting oppressive here in Seattle and my wife and I are in need of some sun, music, and southern hospitality. We have decided to spend spring break in her home town of Austin Texas and I have been looking at airline tickets to purchase. I am finding some inexpensive ($120 incl taxes), o/w, non stop flights on AS from SEA-AUS but the return prices are quite high, three times as much in some cases. I am thinking about purchasing the SEA-AUS tickets and waiting (praying) that the return prices drop. If they don't to my liking, I would redeem two one ways using Avios for 10,000 points each.

    I have set up a Kayak Price Alert (thanks Milevalue) for my target dates.

    What do you think of my thought process and am I missing anything?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Also check WN. They have Tue-Wed return flights @ $121 each in March. However, they don't come up in price searches like Yapta or Kayak, so you have to monitor their sales frequently. Right now the $121 flights are the inconvenient connections in Oakland, but it's better than paying triple for another 1-stop.
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I think you have a solid plan in place. Also, don't forget to look at things like redeeming points, either from AUS or from IAH or DFW, to get one direction. It should only cost 10,000 Avios each from any of those three airports and both AA and AS have service, depending on which airport you are looking at.
     
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  4. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Do you have any date flexibility? I suspect that the high prices for AUS-SEA indicate that flights are already relatively full on that date or there is a special event and airlines expect full flights. I would worry that your strategy might face the issue of not being able to book award seats later, when you decide to do so. If yoou can book the award seats now and cancel them without penalty if fares drop for AUS-SEA, this would work now. Otherwise, you risk either the availability issue (and maybe close-in fees for award ticketing) or the potential cost of cancel/redeposit fees.

    Before planning to use another airport, be sure to check rental car rates, including one-way rental drop-off fees.
     
  5. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    I do have some flexibility. March 30th - April 7th for 4 nights in Austin. You bring up a good point and it may be better just to buy the o/w's and book the awards with Avios for the return flight. 20k Avios for two o/w's seem like a pretty good deal to me.

    Thanks for the feedback thus far. I appreciate all your insight.
     
  6. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If you have some flexibility on dates, try to experiment with that first. If you can find the roughly $120 one-way fare in both directions, it would be a shame to use 10,000 Avios instead for such an inexpensive flight. Also, why must it be exactly four nights in Austin? (I could understand five more easily as some hotel programs such as SPG give you five award nights for the points needed for four free nights.)
     
  7. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    That's just it, I haven't been able to find an inexpensive return flight that isn't one or two days apart from my arrival date. I agree, the goal is to get one ways in both directions for $120.00. But I have yet been able to find a return flight that isn't around $300.00 and why I came here looking for advice on the what route to take with that return flight.

    4 nights because of a child that will be at home with a care giver :) 1st night the day of travel (flight 5-8 hours) then three full nights. I will be doing Airbnb for our lodging and there are some very reasonable apts / guest houses available. No hotel stays on this quick getaway.
     
  8. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Book Southwest flights, as they're refundable/changeable w/o a fee ... as a backup.
     
  9. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Start with the dates where there are cheap return flights. Then work back to find an outboound flight that works and prices well too. It sounds like you're planning the outbound to be a redeye. Also, check the times that you can arrive and depart with Airbnb before committing to flights.

    If you're going to be renting a car anyway (are the Airbnb places centrally located or on good public transportation?), look at nearby airports as suggested upthread.
     
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  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Are they truly refundable (money back to the credit card) or does cancellation just give you a credit for future Southwest flights, probably within one year?
     
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  11. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    honestly i dont know? I believe its flight credit ...

    I just book RR tickets using points, and when i cancel the points get redeposited. The Taxes/Fee are fully refundable.
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Changeable, yes. Refundable, no. BIG difference.
     
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  13. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    if its booked via points is refundable :)
     
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  14. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Exactly, on both accounts, but not 100% of the time with refunds. You get flight value credit on a Wanna Get Away fare, but you can get a full refund on Anytime or Business Select fares via your original method of payment.

    The Avios sound like the best value if using points though. You'd be looking at a minimum of approx 12,000 points (5,940 each) for 2 OW award fares using RR points and that's only if you come back 4/3, otherwise you're looking at 14,283 points each.
     
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  15. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    I would wait a week or two (or even more) to book anything --- what I've noticed in general with some airlines is prices go up over the weekend as buckets empty and then go down the next week -- and I avoid booking tickets on holiday weekends -- or right now during a holiday week.

    As others have suggested open jaws and alt. airports are always a good idea.

    DTWBOB
     
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