Award strategy question

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Aktchi, Nov 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    I am looking for 2 JFK-HND awards in either J or F. Well, J is zeroed out everyday, so it will have to be F. Not the worst fate. :)

    Problem is that on the date that most suits us, only one F award is available. The day before and the day after they have 2x F. In this situation, should I:

    (1) Book two awards on a different date, and hope to change to our date later?

    OR

    (2) Book one award on our date and hope for another to open up later?

    Thanks.
     
  2. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    That is the question! And I think it depends on what your alternative winds up being if the seats you want don't open up? If you CAN travel on a different date I would book the two seats, because if you book only 1 and there's never a second one, then what? If you cannot travel on a different date, then book the one and hope for one more but think through that backup plan..
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Agreed with gleff. If you can at all make it work +/- 1 day then absolutely take the sure thing.
     
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  4. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    oh, I couldn't do that because then I couldn't fly with my smoofy !!! :rolleyes::D
     
  5. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Thanks, guys. Gleff's comment helped me realize that I needed to focus and clearly define our Priority #2, because we just might have to live with that choice. I discussed this with my wife, we decided to take a calculated risk, and it worked out. IOW we got two seats on our preferred date. :) Here is how it went.

    We wanted to reach BKK on 24th for a two day stop. Usual channels you'd think of right away (CX, HKG) weren't available. ITA and AwardNexus helped me identify one out-of-the box possibility JFK-HND on AA, then HND-BKK on JL, but AA had only 1 seat on 24th. There were 2 seats on 23rd but my wife had an unavoidable work meeting that afternoon. There were 2 seats on 25th but we are going to a wedding in DEL, so a hard deadline for leaving BKK and this would have cut our stay in half.

    In the end we decided to book 1 seat on 23rd and one on 24th. The idea was that if they release 1 seat at a time, this would be our only path to two seats on 24th. If nothing moves on 24th, we could later try to get 2 on 23rd.

    So I booked 1 on 23rd, 1 on 24th, placed a couple of EF alerts, and went to sleep. Lo and behold, this morning I received my notification at 5AM that AA had released one more seat on 24th. I am not sure if our booking the previous lone seat prodded them to release one more or they would have done it anyway, but I can see the possibility that by waiting for 2 together we might have lost both. Anyway, it worked out for us and I am glad.

    Now I get to worry about tight connections at JFK (1:45, AA to AA), and HND (2 hours, AA to JL). And how to get back from DEL. :)
     
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  6. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Only seems tight to me if you're delayed on either flight. Otherwise you should have time to enjoy the lounge at each location. So you're routing into BKK and leaving from DEL?
     
  7. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    This is really a trip to DEL to attend a family wedding. As I started to look at awards, I realized that our schedules permit a brief stop somewhere. My wife has never been to HKG or BKK, so I looked at both and finally settled on BKK. The BKK-DEL leg is relatively short (~4 hours), well served by an LCC, and that also prompts mainstream Indian competitors towards low fares (<$200 one-way). Now I need to focus on DEL-ORD award, generally avoiding BA except perhaps some short segment that may be needed.

    This has been an educating experience and also illustrated for me the importance of small random factors. For example: (1) If AA's DEQM/DRDM had lasted into Jan/Feb, my flight choices, and comfort level, might have been quite different. :) (2) Except for the possibility of our relatives in London going to the same wedding, we might have routed via London without much thought. (3) If CX's BKK-DEL flight was operational, I would have considered an Explorer award, but BKK-HKG-DEL routing was taking it to the new level. The CX flight resumes two weeks after I needed it.

    I am also really glad to have avoided these possibilities: (1) transfer between LGA and JFK, (2) transfer between NRT and HND, (3) spending 3/4 of a night at HKG airport, and (4) reaching BKK in the middle of the night. :)
     
  8. DestinationDavid
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    Might be nice to consider DEL-AUH-ORD on EY. Comfort and minimal/easier connections. Other options without using LHR with AA miles could be DEL-HEL-ORD on AY and AA depending on the time of year since HEL-ORD is seasonal.


    1. Agreed! 2. Agreed! 3. Less time in the lounge? Blasphemy! ;) 4. That JFK-HND-BKK is rough on the body though, you might be ready to crash after getting into BKK at 7 AM. :D
     
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  9. Sweet Willie
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    BKK is usually a more difficult location to book w/awards than HKG (at least in my experience) so good choice !
     
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  10. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    EY/AUH is certainly a top option, although I didn't look into it yet. Similarly 9W to LHR, then AA.

    I am not really trying to avoid LHR, just a long segment on BA. So something like DEL-BRU-LHR-ORD or DEL-HEL-LHR-ORD would be 2nd tier choices. There is no APD ("luxury" tax) if you only connect in LHR, and any YQ should be minimal if the BA segment is short.
    Yes I thought about that, but I was surprised to discover that from ORD, this was one of the better options. Others included spending the night at HKG airport (without any lounge open), spending a longer time traveling, or reaching BKK at midnight.

    Now I need to decide what my "free flight" should be after a few months stopover in Chicago. We have never been to Hawaii. Which of its airport would be a good start for Hawaii beginners? As you know, dates etc can be changed freely but the destination is more sticky.
     
  11. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    There is a hotel connected to HKG (you walk there) which is very convenient for overnights. It's not cheap, but it is pleasant. (The Regal.)

    That really depends on what you like. HNL is the big airport (jetbridges! Whoo Hoo!) and Honolulu the big city, with plenty to explore around the island, including palaces. Personally, I'm fond of Maui, especially the slow, laid-back south western tip (Makena). You can drive around the island (well, most of it) in a day and see snow, a dormant volcano, lush farms and pasture, dry hot beaches. Many people adore Kawaii (the garden aisle) and Hawaii (the Big Island) has its delights and charms (I really liked visiting the Places of Refuge and learning more about the traditional culture).
     
  12. DestinationDavid
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    The Regal is so close and easy, but honestly, I hate it. The staff are never that polite, the rooms are aging, the beds are awful. Generic soap pump in the shower (sometimes the room has bottled shampoo and liquid soap in addition to the wall pump, but that's only about 60% of the time in my experience). The last time I was there was only ONE usable power outlet to charge my electronics. Also the te kettle had stagnant water in it.

    It requires a shuttle bus, but I much prefer the Marriott a bit further down the road. I typically avoid Marriott properties, but this one is very nice, modern, clean. And I can charge m iPhone, iPad, and laptop all at once. :)
     
  13. anabolism
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    When I can, I use the Conrad Hong Kong for overnights. I take the express train and then either the free shuttle or a taxi to get to the hotel, and a taxi to the train station to get to the airport. Since I'm not anything like a morning person, doing that requires an afternoon or later flight.
     

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