Award Redemption Options for Jamaica? (MBJ)

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by tzoom84, Nov 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. tzoom84
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    tzoom84 Silver Member

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    Hi everyone. My wife and I are going to a destination wedding in Jamaica around July 23 2012. We are flying out of Philly or NYC area and hope to cover the trip with our miles as much as possible, economy class. This includes the flight along with paying for the stay at the resort (Iberostar Rose Hall Suite) or surrounding hotels.

    What we have a good amount of at our disposal with comments (all searched as one-ways first):

    1. American Airlines: AA site has no availability in economy. Business is 30k each way vs 17.5k if economy was available.
    2. Continental: 17.5k economy outbound available. Only 30k business available on inbound
    3. Delta: Can't seem to get it to show less than 50k miles each way! ... even though the award calendar shows low economy available.
    4. US Airways: Medium redemption at 30k each way (60k total, ouch?)
    5. Cap1 Venture: Can cover ticket 1:1, but I like to save these for flexible hotel redemption
    6. Citi Thank You Points: Never used, so not sure.
    7. (Some) Starwoods: Never used so not sure
    As for paying resorts, I'm not sure of any options other than using the Cap1 or Citi Thank You points.

    My questions:

    1. Am I missing something when searching for award options? Should I search partner airline availability?
    2. Or can I assume that there is a chance one or many of these airlines will open up more space as July nears?
    3. What would be my best options for watching or search more deeply for available award space? ExpertFlyer? Other tool?
    4. Given the options, what are your thoughts? Which would you prefer to use?

    Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    July is pretty peak so looking earlier is better than looking later. Take a look at some non-traditional routings segment by segment with something like awardnexus, expertflyer, or even ANA tool to search Star Alliance award availability (i.e. booking US with CO miles or CO with US miles).

    Personally, I'd book Continental 17.5k outbound in Y and then book a business class award with AA to Europe using your free north american gateway stopover in NYC for 50k one way and then figure out a way back to NYC (or utilize another free NA gateway stopover).
     
  3. tzoom84
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    tzoom84 Silver Member

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    Thanks JohnDeer. I'm not experienced with using the stopover tricks with AA. I've read about it here and there and saw some posts on ThePointsGuy's site, but will need to brush up.
     
  4. FlashBack
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    FlashBack Silver Member

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    July is nowhere near peak season and it is one of the hottest months.
     
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  5. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    You're right, I figured summer would be peak, but I was wrong:
    http://www.frommers.com/destinations/jamaica/0093020006.html

    "With its fabled weather balmy all year, Jamaica is more and more a year-round destination. Nevertheless, it has a distinct high season running roughly from mid-December through mid-April. Hotels charge their highest prices during this peak winter period, when visitors fleeing cold north winds crowd the island. (We've quoted each hotel's rack rates throughout this guide, but you don't have to pay that much, even in high season, if you book a package instead of calling the hotel directly.)

    Reservations should be made 2 to 3 months in advance for trips during the winter. At certain hotels, think about booking a year ahead for Christmas holidays or February.

    The off season in Jamaica (roughly mid-Apr to mid-Dec) amounts to a summer sale. In most cases, hotel rates are slashed a startling 20% to 60%. Some package-tour charges are as much as 20% lower, and individual excursion airfares are reduced from 5% to 10%. In addition, airline seats and hotel rooms are much easier to come by. It's a bonanza for cost-conscious travelers, especially families."
     
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  6. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    whew, I didn't think July would be peak season.
    I'm guessing with package deals in a low time of travel to Jamaica, you'd be far better off purchase a package that fits your needs and saving your miles & points for a trip where you can get a much better return on them.

    I'm always amazed at the folks that finally get 25,000 miles in their FF account, then burn the miles on a trip to some destination that usually one can get cheap paid fare to, (LAS comes to mind).
     

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