Flying To Europe on Alaska Miles - When to book?

Discussion in 'Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan' started by erikaem86, Jan 29, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. erikaem86

    erikaem86 New Member

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    Hi. I have been diligently saving my miles and almost have enough to fly my family of 4 to Europe in 2016.

    I'm wondering if anyone can give me advice on when to book this. More specifically:

    I'm looking at a flight from YYJ to continental Europe, probably Paris, and maybe a free stopover in New York. I'd like to go in the summer of 2016, for approximately 4 weeks, anytime during the months of July to mid-September. March / April 2016 is also a possibility for us, but this is a distant second choice.

    I'm uncertain about the availability or cost of flights in the summer. Currently, I see nothing for similar dates in 2015. Is that because everything is sold out already, or is it usually slim pickings with Alaska's partner airlines? There are 4 of us, so it might make it even harder.

    What would you do? Hold off and wait until summer 2016 flights become available, or hedge your bet and book during the less popular March April 2016 timeframe?

    Your thoughts are appreciated.
     
    Newscience likes this.
  2. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Rspecially if you can go plus or minus a few days and are ok with any if several months, I'd lean toward aiming for whatever your ideal schedule is.
     
  3. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    I'd book a nonstop on Air France or KLM out of Vancouver for whatever dates work to whatever European airport you can get when the award dates are available, and take the ferry over instead of trying to fly a Q400 connect at Seattle. AA and DL aren't going to have 4 Y or 4 J on any single flight during peak season, you'd have better odds winning lotto. You might have better odds in March.

    (The only way you can have an NYC stopover is either by flying AS into EWR, or AA/DL to LGA/EWR/JFK and out of JFK. This is also not bloody likely during summer, that's peak tourism time for NYC too. I think your expectations aren't realistic here. An NYC stopover is somewhat more likely in March, but even then...)

    Bottom line: airports like selling their seats on planes. They can sell them during summertime going to and from Europe, there's no need to let you get four seats for chump change from Alaska.

    You can pick WHEN you go, or WHERE you go on awards a lot of the time... just not both (airline awards are not generous during peak tourist seasons, but are often plentiful during low season, and summertime in Victoria is low season in places like Thailand, for instance). So what's more important, a summer vacation or a vacation in Europe?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  4. erikaem86

    erikaem86 New Member

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    Thanks so much for the replies. Eonymous... I love your quote: "You can pick WHEN you go, or WHERE you go on awards a lot of the time... just not both".

    We had not thought to look at flying out of Vancouver. Since we're more flexible on destination, we'll probably go during the summer months.

    One quick follow-up question: Do you think we'll be able to get flights for around 50,000 to 60,000 miles per person? These flights are coming up for non-summer dates. Do they jack them up in summer?
     
  5. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    For partner flights using Alaska miles, the mileage requirements won't change upwards during summer. You do get a discount booking on AA during fall-winter-spring.
     
  6. traveller 123

    traveller 123 New Member

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    My sister and I used Alaska miles to book a trip for this summer. Here was our strategy: We started looking at the options a year in advance of our flight. We observed the costs for several routings and when flights appeared and disappeared from the offerings. We narrowed down to two options that we felt were good. Then, the very first day the preferred routing was available (330 days out) we booked our tickets. If you know the dates you want to travel this is a way to get the preferred date and the preferred routing. I booked at the end of July 2014 for flights in June 2015. This strategy may be the way to go for you, especially since you want 4 tickets on the same flight.

    The sales agent at Alaska did tell me that flights may be added at any time, but I have kept checking periodically and I haven't seen a great deal of opportunities.
     
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