Flying Back from Europe on AA miles proving to be difficult.

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by nonstopski, May 11, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. nonstopski

    nonstopski Silver Member

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    Hey guys,

    I've been looking at booking a flight in July, flying from DC into Amsterdam and at the end of the trip,flying out of Stockholm. I found a perfect flight to Amsterdam from Wash, DC on delta (nonstop). However, don't have enough miles on Delta to book it round trip.

    So, I started looking at the american airlines options. From Stockholm, there was only one option... with a 30 hour flying time! Insane. I feel like I'm doing something wrong. I wouldn't mind getting a cheap flight from Stockholm to a better hub for AA and its partners but most of the searches I have done either show 1. no flights or 2. very long flights. The flight nonstop is about 8 hours I believe, and I've seen flights out there with a 10 hour duration with a stopover. But they aren't on AA or its partners airlines it seems.

    I've been mostly looking through AA's website, but also through British Airways and Quantas. Should I be looking elsewhere or calling AA on the phone to find availability of flights?

    Also thought about trading my AA miles for Delta miles through points.com. Thoughts? Bad idea? Good idea?
     
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Trading points through points.com is generally a bad (expensive) idea.

    It's kind of late to find good award flights to Europe for the prime summer season. I recently looked from the west coast to Amsterdam and ended up buying a revenue ticket.
     
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  3. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    What's Quantas? ;)

    I think you really need to call. I'd say 2/3 of all the award flights I book are not shown when searching aa.com. Just be careful with BA award fuel surcharges.

    Points.com is usually a bad idea. Delta can be tough to find awards for. After a lot of work, I was able to find a Asia-USA award in biz for next year using DL miles, but not very easy. How many DL miles do you need?
     
  4. nonstopski

    nonstopski Silver Member

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    I don't know how many I need given how awful the online system is! So many bugs.
     
  5. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    How many miles do you have? What class of service? Would you like fries with that?

    Also look at the possibility of flying AA there, and using other miles for the return. I think AS, UA and maybe a few others allow OW redemptions.
     
  6. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    Points.com: terrible idea.

    Unfortunately, you've chosen the absolute peak season for TATL travel, and are booking very, very late if you are booking in coach, and airlines will generally prefer to sell coach for cash than give it away for miles when they can easily fill up coach seats. ;)

    Keep in mind this is not only going to apply to the European side but the USA side too (airlines can fill seats easier in summer). ARN has next to no oneworld presence. Neither does IAD. Thus you're going to be connecting, making this a really complicated problem (since award avaialbility is bad in summer this close in).

    However, AA is showing 1 sAAver Y on BRU-JFK on a few dates in July: 3, 4, 17, 22, 24-25. The catch would be getting to BRU (plus SAAver C on other dates). Perhaps you could modify your trip to spend time in the Low Countries on the return as well as the outbound? Your odds of a successful Europe award redemption in peak season are going to be better if you adjust the trip to accomodate where the availability is.
     
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  7. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    If you want to use AA miles and don't mind traveling in coach, there's still some award availability on Air Berlin. They often depart out of DUS, which is a quick and inexpensive train ride from AMS.
     
  8. nonstopski

    nonstopski Silver Member

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    Yupp. Unfortunately it's a tough to go, and I'm late to the game planning it. But not all travel plans are figured out 6 months in advance. C'est la vie.

    I'd like to adjust to make it work, but a few things: 1. work vacation: leaving the day i am leaving and returning the day I am returning are the best possible times for maximum time in Europe (along with some jetlag recovery post trip). 2. This trip is actually a present from college graduation. Pops said "your grad present is a trip to europe." So, I was going to try to book the flight on miles so more of the money could go towards activities in Europe, as opposed to just the flight. But, oh well.

    I did find a great flight plan on Delta through KLM, however, it costs 102,000 miles, and I'll only have 60k by the end of this month. Possibly dad will want to transfer over to my account to save money, but I don't think that can happen fast enough (by the 26th of May, looks like there are only 9 seats left!)
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yes. That's the situation I was in earlier this week when I booked my trip to Amsterdam. Plans and destinations changed, and so I am paying more than I would have liked, but I am still looking forward to the trip.

    Congrats on your graduation!

    Does he have enough miles in his account to buy the ticket, and you could then later let him use your miles for his purposes?
     
  10. nonstopski

    nonstopski Silver Member

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    He has tons of American Express membership rewards. Although used a lot on an iPad :D

    Definitely a possibility. Ill have to look into it, and quickly.
     
  11. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    When it comes to miles during peak season and booking close-in, your best option is being flexible with times, dates and routing for your travel plans- having lots of restrictions on your plans makes it hard to use miles during a season when airlines like selling tickets for cash, as you are finding out.

    Congratulations on your graduation.
     
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  12. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    This late in the game one needs to look at the famous project management triangle and adapt it for the AA award redemption world....

    You can book it at a sAAver rate and you can book late, but it won't be an easy routing.

    You can book it at a sAAver rate and do an easy routing, but you can't book it late.

    You can book an easy routing and you can book it late, but you won't get the sAAver rate.

    Of course, there are times when lightning strikes and you can get all three. But for most folks, see the above. :)
     
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  13. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Presumably the OP is paying attention to the advice given him above...I however cannot say I really get that impression:)

    1) 102k DL miles is a lot for a coach ticket on KLM.
    2) Transferring DL miles from Amex is almost instantaneous.
    3) AA flies to DUS
     
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  14. nonstopski

    nonstopski Silver Member

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    @newbluesea, 102k is a ton, I agree. But Delta generally seems to be a rip off, so not all that surprising. Also, a free flight is a free flight to me, at the end of the day. I do agree though that there are better uses of 100k miles. Way better uses.

    I'm aware transferring the miles is instantaneous, it's more a question of 1. getting dad to do it quickly and 2. deciding if I want to use any of my delta miles to help "pay" for the flight versus getting 80% from him. If I do the former, I need to wait till the end of May, when all my Delta miles will be in my account.

    Yupp, I know AA does fly to DUS. I looked into it, not going to work. Almost worked though. Good to be aware of it!
     
  15. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    The answer is almost always to call. EMEA partner availability via AA website is usually pretty poor.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  16. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Or completely non-existant online for some carriers.
     
  17. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Just curious - do RJ or EK (with an AA codeshare) fly out of Stockholm? EK would be a LONG way, but RJ might not be TOO horrible, for the right miles.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  18. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    How would one get an EK codeshare using an AA award? :confused:

    Also, ARN-AMM-IAD is about twice as far as ARN-IAD. Is AA as generous as US is in allowing wacky routings?
     
  19. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    The only OW/AA partners flying out of ARN are AB (TXL), BA (LHR & LCY), and AY (HEL & BGO on a seasonal basis). Future OW member QR flies to DOH. EK launches service to DXB on 9/4 of this year, but not really on the radar in terms of AA use.

    If using the standard partner award chart to redeem, AA does not allow connections in the Middle East for Europe to N. America routings.
     
  20. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Eek! I always get Emirates and Etihad completely backwards. That's what I get for typing on the plane, too...

    Etihad, I meant Etihad.
     

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