First Anniversary Trip-Hawaii

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Hashtag, Feb 27, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Hashtag

    Hashtag New Member

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    Greetings, Milepoint! I've been at the mile/point game for only a few months but I've decided a nice goal (and effective way to win over the wife to miles/points) is to take a trip to Hawaii in August for our first anniversary. I've signed up for 2 Citi American Airlines cards =100,000 points, Chase Southwest Premier, US Air Barclay 40,000 pts. I intend to use AA miles to book the flights and soon one of us will apply for the SPG personal AMEX and begin to pay for our hotel stays while on the island. My questions are pretty basic: How in the heck do I go about finding award tickets? I've thought about applying for the Alaska Airlines card w/ Companion pass but I know it cannot be used in conjunction with an award ticket. Is it still worth getting? I've recently acquired HHonors Gold via a helpful thread on this site, should I look to books stays with Hilton over Starwood? Cash & Points is pretty appealing....Should I register for a site like expert flier to help with award bookings? I guess I just want to know what you guys would do next. Any help appreciated!
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  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    In my admittedly extremely limited experience booking award tickets, I found that American is by far the easiest to book. Log in to your AAdvantage account and then search for availability based on date, making sure to check Redeem AAdvantage Miles. This will take you to a screen on which you can see availability at different redemption levels over a week. You can easily expand this to see a whole month's worth of dates.

    Once you find the dates and levels you want, select them and book them directly on line.

    AA will also let you "hold" the award for up to five days (you may need to phone in to get that long a hold, I'm not sure) if you need to scare up some extra miles.
     
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  3. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Howdy Hashtag.

    Lucky for you, AA's award availability to Hawaii is accessible online. All you need to do is sign into your account and use to award booking tool. There really isn't a need to sign up for ExpertFlyer in terms of award inventory. AA's online tool will show availability for AA and AS (Alaska) flights. The only real need for ExpertFlyer would be if you wanted to get information on availability for HA (Hawaiian Airlines) awards. ExpertFlyer does offer a free trial period, so if you can't find the flights you want and need to look at HA availability, the free trial period might be opportune.

    Do you plan on flying in First or in Economy? Your answer may change which airline is recommended to you. Also, where are you flying from?

    With regards to your other questions, you might be better of asking questions specific to SPG/HHilton/etc in those specific forums. The real experts on how and when to use those points/properties will be lurking in those forums. I'm sure many of our AA forum members will be happy to give you tips on those topics as well, but you'll most likely get a wider spectrum of tips by seeking them on their "home" turf.

    Welcome to MP and good luck! :)
     
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  4. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Welcome Hashtag,

    1. The best way to find award tickets on AA would be using their website and checking the box that says 'Redeem AAdvantage miles'. For itineraries to Hawaii from the US it will include Alaskan Air availability as well since they are a partner airline.

    2. How many nights do you plan on staying in Hawaii? Do dummy bookings on SPG's website for awards and see if C+P is available on the days you plan on going. If not, I would see what the rates are like for the Hilton properties and if it's affordable to you then book that.

    3. You don't really need ExpertFlyer or KVS if doing just domestic itineraries imho.
     
  5. Jeff the Wanderer

    Jeff the Wanderer Silver Member

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    First of all, welcome to MilePoint and congratulations on the upcoming anniversary. You have asked a lot of questions, most of which do not have simple answers. It seems like you have an idea what you want to do with AA and SPG, but then you are getting excited about other programs (reasonably so) and losing track of your goal.

    For the flights, you should start looking now. Without knowing where you are coming from, it is hard to recommend the best course of action. I assume it is somewhere in the US, but not sure where. Even with 6 months advance planning, you might already find it difficult to find awards as the schedules and first round of award seats came out months ago.

    As far as the Hilton vs. Starwood, you really need to look at what properties are available in the places you want to go. This would include what categories the properties are for points redemption. Then you need to come up with a plan to earn enough points and book room before you go. SPG cash and points are limited by capacity so you may find that they are not available for many properties, especially by the time you earn the points. My advice would be to pick a property you want to stay at and then really start concentrating on earning in that program.

    The Alaska card is worth getting, but will not be useful in this case if you plan on using miles for award flights.

    I would hold off on registering for expert flyer until you have defined your goals a little bit better. It is a great tool, but will just add to your confusion if you don't have a solid plan in mind.

    I hope this helps a bit. I would be glad to go into more detail with you if you want. Just let me know what specifics you need answered.
     
  6. techguru
    Original Member

    techguru Silver Member

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    Alaska 2 for 1 in F is worth it say if you are on the west coast going direct to Hawaii. Ironically, Delta out of ATL has really nice service with an A330 configured in International Business Class, but with a modified F service. AA isn't bad, but I'd say the old Continental service to Hawaii is still the best.
     
  7. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    AA also has international business class with reduced food service on DFW-HNL and seasonal ORD-HNL. Not 100% lie-flat but a much better ride than a lot of other routes into Hawaii.
     
  8. Hashtag

    Hashtag New Member

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    Wow! Thank for all the quick responses. I Checked out aa.com but the award flights were coming out to 300,000 miles. Doesn't seem quite right.... Help? It probably had to do with business/1st class anytime. The availability for the mile saver 1st class was unavailable.
     
  9. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Not much we can "help" with in terms of availability. Looks like the cheap tickets are either not released or, more likely, snatched up already. As you can imagine Hawaii tickets are a hot commodity so they can disappear relatively quickly.

    Are your dates solid or do you have some flexibility? Flexibility will give you the best chance of scoring tickets. Also, you may want to consider that ExpertFlyer free trial to look for Hawaiian Airlines award space since that does not show up on AA.com. You could also call AA to ask about HA tickets.

    Also, are you trying to book for more than 2 people? Your 300K award cost indicates 3 people. That's tougher to land than 1 or 2 tickets.
     
  10. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

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    There is good availability In sept and oct for 1st class saver awards. Incidently early oct is when my wife and I are also going to Hawaii for the first time. I cashed in the AA miles 330 days out to lock it in.
     
  11. techguru
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    techguru Silver Member

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    Hawaii is a beautiful paradise, but I'd avoid Waikiki at all costs -- tourist trap. If you are doing Oahu stay north in Kahala...kind of a quiet suburb.
     
  12. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Tourist traps are traps for a reason - they have lots of things people like. ;)

    I find myself in Hawaii about 2 times a year. There's lots to see outside of HNL and most of the beauty and charm of Oahu is certainly outside of the city limits, but Waikiki does have it's own allure and charm. I don't mind staying a day or two in a nice hotel where I can walk to the beach in 5 min and just lay out in the sun and read a book with an ABC Store steps away. After that, I'd head off to the rest of the island or Kauai/Big Island.
     
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  13. techguru
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    techguru Silver Member

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    Agreed -- I love Puka Dog on Oahu and Kauai...my favorite hot dog outside of NYC.
     

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