Advice Wanted: Visiting Europe With AA and BA miles

Discussion in 'oneworld' started by y2kdread, Jul 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. y2kdread
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    y2kdread Active Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I am working on booking a vacation to Europe in May. My wife and I both have 150,000 Miles with American Airlines and 100,000 with British Airways. We are wanting to sit in Business class and try to get the best value for our miles. We are thinking of visiting the following cities:

    Paris
    Munich
    Prague
    Rome

    We were also thinking of something like this in terms of flights:
    5/11/2011 - DFW --> CDG/ORY
    5/22/2011 - FCO --> DFW

    Does anyone have any tips on how to get the most out of my miles?

    We are flexible with which cities we arrive/depart from and the dates. We just want to get a bit over two weeks to travel around the cities.

    Any Ideas?

    Thanks!
     
  2. SST
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    SST Silver Member

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    I've found that trying to hit four European cities that far apart in 10 nights (you lose one night to Europe, in most cases) is pretty hectic--- have you thought about just making it three cities?

    I'd probably pick two in 10 nights, with maybe a side trip to a nearby secondary city for a night or two (someplace I'd go by train so I didn't do the whole get-to-the-airport production more than three times). An example: Paris-Lyon-Rome. I'd go DFW-CDG and FCO-DFW on AA in Business Class, and after a few nights in Paris take the TGV train from Gare de Lyon to Lyon. It's about 2 hours' train ride, Lyon is a great city for a night or two, and you could get a cheap EasyJet flight from LYS to Rome for about 40-70 Euros apiece. It's not Business Class, but within Europe Business Class isn't what you expect anyway if you are thinking luxury. EasyJet isn't posh, but as long as you've only got one piece of luggage it's pretty reasonable-- I even check it in to avoid bin controversies, paying the fee. The fares can be that cheap.

    Thus, I'd spend 4 nights in Paris, two in Lyon, and 4 in Rome--- enough to get a real feel for each city, and have some time to explore, plus you get a smattering of a smaller, easy-to-get-to place you might want to explore more on some subsequent trip. Fill in the blank for your own choice of easy-transit third city, and check out the fares from one of the other two: Bologna, Florence, Brussels etc. Be sure to check not only the traditional air carriers, who you may be able to score "free" flights on, but the el-cheapo budget carriers too, which may compare favorably to spending your miles, especially if the time required (eg: Paris-LHR-Prague on BA) and bribe (er, I mean "Fuel Surcharge" and/or Departure Tax) eat into your vacation....

    Have a great trip whether you try to do it my way or the "packed" way--- All four of those cities are a great time, depending on what you fancy for your vacation activities, but my least favorite way to spend time in Europe is at the various airports and on a plane if I can get a train ride and make it more relaxed and a little shorter in transit. Good luck!
     
  3. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Business award seats to/from Rome can be a challenge on AA metal. You may need to look at other options on BA or IB. I looked at FCO-JFK and FCO-ORD for a 7 day period around your travel dates and there's not a single business class award seat right now.
     
  4. y2kdread
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    y2kdread Active Member

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    SST - I think I messed up the dates, we are looking at about 14 - 16 days in Europe. Though I might take that advice about cutting a city.

    tom911 - What is the quickest way to find availability for one world reward flights? I want to be able to know what exact flights and how many points it will cost before I call up the airlines to book.
     
  5. jhflau11
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    jhflau11 Silver Member

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  6. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    You're pretty much dependent on other One World airline sites to check that as Expert Flyer only tracks AA and Qantas (no BA or IB flights). I know Qantas and BA are both supposed to show partner award availability. AA does not have that feature.
     
  7. y2kdread
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    y2kdread Active Member

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    Is it possible to book a flight using BA rewards on AA if BA already has availability for that route?
    Also, the other way around. It's fine if I use more points, I would just like to avoid BA's fees for going through LHR.

    It also doesn't look like I can search on BA's website for partner rewards.
     
  8. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I don't have any points with BA to know the fine print in their program as to how their miles can be used. With AA miles you can book either AA or BA on the same route. We do have a BA forum here but it's not very busy.
     
  9. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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  10. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    I've found that both the BA and QF redemption sites are miserable at finding IB seats. But signing up for IB's FF plan and using their online award booking tool often reveals numerous seats on flights not picked up by the QF site in particular. (Like others, I've just about sworn off BA's award booking site - eternally inoperative, as cited repeatedly on the FT BA board. Truly shameful on BA's part IMO.)

    Same goes for Asiamiles for CX redemptions (using AA or BA miles) - plenty of inventory invisible on the other sites. (And for the most part bookable over the phone with AA; it's not just inventory for CX miles redemption, if you get my meaning.)

    But between EF, QF IB and Asiamiles, one can pull together a pretty good picture on most redemption options. Requires work, which I don't think is a bad thing.
     
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  11. y2kdread
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    y2kdread Active Member

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    I more or less have come to the conclusion that using KVS is the easiest option. I went ahead and purchased a license and it has made life much easier in terms of searching. Only thing I don't like is having to call up the airlines to see if I can book a rewards flight I find seats on through KVS, but it does help a lot.
     

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