Award booking challenge - Who's up for it?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by kstewart10, Jun 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. kstewart10
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    kstewart10 Silver Member

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    I am looking to book a one-way from OMA to MAN but having trouble. My ideal date range is anywhere from July 10th-16th. I can find availability at the rate of 60k miles one-way for an anytime economy award, but that's just too expensive. We just booked a one-way back from FCO to OMA for 20k, so it seems a bit rediculous.

    Here is the challenge, we know we are going to have to spend 30k (high season milesaaver) for the trans-Atlantic leg but would rather find something entertaining to do along the way for less miles. The one we are currently trying to work would be:

    OMA-MIA = 12.5k Miles
    MIA-MAN = 30k Miles

    Would also do anywhere else along the way, RSW, SJU, SJO, PTY, GRU, LIM, anything that would work to get us to MAN byt he 16th and cost less than 60k miles.

    Who's up for the challenge?
     
  2. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I honestly don't mean to offend by asking this, but are you seeking someone to do the leg work with their time and resources to find a route to MAN for your vacation as a "challenge"?

    Also, are you looking to go from OMA to MIA and stop for a few days, continue on to another city and stop for a few days, and then continue on to MAN all for under 60K miles?
     
  3. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    Several members on this board and even at least one of the cofounders get paid fairly well to do this type of work.
     
  4. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    Is there really some sort of 'taboo' against asking for help on a mileage award because someone who co-founded MP likes to get paid for that service? If I give the OP help, will I be 'stepping on toes' or 'taking bread off someone's plate'?

    If you are saying that OP is not likely to get any free help, because some people on MP get paid for this service, it would at least be helpful to provide a link to where the service can be found. :confused:

    Personally, I think couching the problem as a puzzle is fun - some people like to solve puzzles/problems for fun. That's why they publish Sodoku, Crosswords, and MENSA tests in American Way. That's why there are a lot of open-source computer programs. <shrug>
     
  5. sparxe
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    sparxe Silver Member

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    Using AA miles, you can only have a free stopover in the North American gateway and routing can't go to another zone to get to Europe, so you won't be able to stop for free in SJU, SJO, PTY, GRU, LIM, etc. I don't think there's a One World TATL out of RSW.

    You can use BA's website to search for reward inventory once you decide on possible routings.
     
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  6. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    A bit OT but if this is akin to using ANAs website for *A, this is great info. Thanks

     
  7. kstewart10
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    kstewart10 Silver Member

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    Thank you all for your responses, you all are too fast to me to respond at work, so I am going to try to cover them all in one go.

    Destination David: I'm not offended, I guess I thought it would be something people might like to do (how many more posts can any one person possibly read about the AMEX bonus on transfers or a new credit card offer?), especially the people that consider themselves pros, which I do not. Also, not that it makes any difference, but we are actually moving there not just a vacation, so it just seemed like a good time to catch some sun before the rainy Manchester skies bog us down.

    I was intending to indeed stop for a few days in some place nice and sunny with a decent beach as I am in landlocked OMA. Thank you for your response, I do genuinely appreciate it.

    Tenmoc: I don't see how this hinders them, but perhaps the more enterprising of the bunch would get a couple of routing ideas and comment back and maybe I would pay them to book. If I was a consultant that did this for a living I think this would be a great sales opportunity. Thanks for your response.

    Desert Rose: I appreciate your approach as it reflects my own. If this is a taboo, then maybe there could be a section (or if there is could someone please identify it) where we could submit these types of ideas and the consultants could pick them up as leads. I stopped using FlyerTalk because of the negativity of the community, I hope MP is not already headed there too. Your post convinces me perhaps not.

    Sparxe: I should have clarified and thank you for bringing this to my attention. I was splitting the routing up so it was a domestic Milesaaver award one-way OMA-MIA for 12.5k and a separate award for MIA-LON/MAN for 30k in the example. If (SJU or other), for example were OMA-SJU for 17.5k and then SJU-LON 30k, that would also do the trick so it would not be a stop over but rather two separate itineraries altogether. Thanks for clarifying, I may also try BA to search inventory.

    I really do appreciate all of the comments, if this is a taboo, I apologize, I was unaware. If there is a better place for the thread, I will be happy to remove and re-post where it belongs. Anyone with any creative ideas on it, please post.
     
  8. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    It wasn't taboo. All of your posts were very polite and gracious. Your apology is kind and welcome, but not necessary.

    If someone wanted to offer some routing suggestions, that's their choice. While indeed some people charge a fee for making bookings (and provide a certain level of service for customers), there may be others who would run a few creative searches for you for the fun of it. (More than a few members on this board, including me, have admitted to running award searches on routes they were thinking of flying at some point in the future - but without specific plans.)

    Perhaps one of the fee-charging members would PM you and offer their services to you, too. Indeed, many of the fee-charging types learned some or all of their skills from participating in this board, and more likely FlyerTalk, over the years.

    You can also help us with some additional information. What alliances and carriers you have miles on. Based on the language in your posts, and where you posted your post, you probably have AA miles. Do you have any ST or *A miles that you could use? That would open up other options. Are you looking for one seat or two?

    While I'm not going to do searches on your routing, I'd like to offer one bit of advice that helps me a bunch....in general, when booking trans-oceanic award tickets, I make the anchor finding the trans-oceanic flights in the class and miles price that I want - then build the over-land portion of the itinerary around that. If you're flying AA, you might look for MIA, RDU, JFK, ORD and DFW flights into London, then build around that (if you can find it). Or, you could consider flights into other OW hubs in Europe, particularly HEL or MAD. Also, BA has flights from many, many US cities - SEA, LAS, SAN, PHX, IAH among others...so even if its not an AA hub, you might look for BA availability, too. Each of those cities may have flights back to MAN. I find finding flights within the EU to generally be easy, so once you're to Europe, if my experience is any indicator, you'll be able to get to MAN pretty easily.

    Let us know how you go!
     
  9. kstewart10
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    kstewart10 Silver Member

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    Thanks NY Banker. Two seats, my wife and myself, combined mileage balance is 190k on AA, though we have *A Gold thanks to BMI's match program, though the miles on BMI and others are negligable. Good note on anchoring, I may also try for LAX as well - I think they have a direct to LHR. Will keep you posted.
     
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  10. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Just to be clear, I wasn't implying that you shouldn't be asking, I was trying to clarify if you were trying to start a new game for the forum or you were actually planning a trip. Which is why I asked for clarification after my initial question about where you wanted to stop and for how many miles afterwards. ;) As others have mentioned, some do make a business of planning award trips, but if you can convince strangers to work with you and do it out of the goodness of their hearts, there's no harm in that at all. But that's just my personal opinion.

    Edit: I misread something you wrote and see you that you actually did address what I asked in your reply.

    On a side note, have you considered looking for an award to somewhere else in Europe for a stop (CDG? FCO?) and then doing a 10K intra-Europe economy award to MAN?
     
  11. sparxe
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    sparxe Silver Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong... but I think if you can find the itinerary through MIA, you should be able to stop in MIA as a free stopover in the gateway city before doing MIA-LHR-MAN for 30k total instead of needing two awards. Both AA and BA have flights MIA-LHR if you can find availability.
     
  12. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Yup, you can do a free stop over at the North American gateway. So OMA-DFW-MIA-LHR-MAN would allow the OP to fly to MIA, stop for a few days of fun in the sun, and then continue on to MAN with no upcharge.
     
  13. sparxe
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    sparxe Silver Member

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    Also FYI, a one-way award from Central America or South America Zone 1 to Europe is 45k.
     
  14. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    Lots of good info & advice in this tread & kudos to kstewart10 for being so polite throughout the tread.

    If you go down the road of using AA miles for a BA ticket, be forewarned:

    Using Miles
    Q. Why is there now a fuel surcharge on AAdvantage award tickets?
    A. British Airways assesses a fuel surcharge for travel on British Airways for all customers, including customers traveling on British Airways on AAdvantage award tickets.
     
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  15. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    I've heard this so many times, but no one has ever pointed to a link where these services are available. I do think it would be appropriate to post the links in a thread like this. "If you don't get the answer you need here, X, Y and Z all provide paid services." (with embedded links...) and if someone could provide that info here, I would have it if I ever needed it. ;)
     
  16. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I didn't notice that you had asked for them, but I'm happy to oblige you. You can find them easily by searching for "flight award booking service" or something similar on Google. Off the top of my head, the big ones that I know of:

    One of MilePoint's co-founders, Gary Leff's (gleff) site, BookYourAward.com: LINK.

    Brent Snyder's CrankyConcierge.com: LINK.

    Ben Schlappig's PointsPros.com: LINK.

    Upgrd's service: LINK.

    Brian Kelly's ThePointsGuy.com: LINK.
     
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  17. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    For what it's worth, I always prefer to teach Milepoint members how to book awards rather than booking the award for them for a fee. My market for award bookings is very much not the kind of people who engage in forums nad try to learn more about miles and points. I always want to help more than to charge.

    Just this morning I got an email back from a member here who had contacted me asking about my service, and instead I talked to them about their options and they went ahead and got their premium cabin award trip booked using Delta miles. I chose not to say "sure, I'll do it for you" and take their money. That was always an option. Instead they got it done on their own, with a bit of guidance and suggestion. They saved the $250 and they learned something in the process, I think they'll enjoy the trip more because they booked it themselves :)

    Again, that's not for everyone... But I will always prefer to help those who are interested in learning. :)
     
  18. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    I can vouch for this. I was up to my ears in alligators a few months ago and reached out to Gary to have him help a friend of mine find tickets I was having trouble booking. Instead, Gary "taught me how to fish" in the UA pond. I'll admit, I like the fish better in the AA pond, but I was truly thankful for his advice.
     
  19. DesertRose
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    DesertRose Silver Member

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    I've admitted my passive-agressive tendencies in other threads :oops: but I'm working on it. :D
    Thanks for compiling the list!!!
     
  20. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Did you get a booking?
     
  21. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Now, if only our educational institutions, with endowments and subsidized by tax exemptions, felt that way. :D
     
  22. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    I think that is a great approach. I have helped several others learn how to find awards on FT, and other members have done so as well. I think the OP here would have had a better response had he asked for help learning the techniques, rather than asking if somebody else wanted to do his grunt work for him.

    OP - the best advice I can give for awards on AA metal is to search for availability on the individual legs, then call in to have the agent put them together for you if you can't get AA.com to offer that combination. Also, you may have better luck routing through LHR than routing direct to MAN. AA has been much tighter this year with MileSAAver inventory during the peak summer months.
     
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