Frustrated with Redeeming FF Miles (with example - help requested)

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by bryanschmiedeler, Aug 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. bryanschmiedeler

    bryanschmiedeler Active Member

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    I have saved up over 1 million FF miles and points in various programs. I use Expert Flyer and subscribe to many RSS feeds about Airline Travel. Over time I have been increasingly disappointed in trying to use my points. I wonder if I am missing something.

    My family and I are visiting southern Florida in March. We live in KC (MCI). We want to leave on March 14 and return on March 23/24. We could fly into Miami, FLL, Ft. Meyers, Naples, maybe even Orlando. We would like to fly out of FLL or Miami (we have a cruise that is coming back into Miami).

    I spent hours last night trying to get flights with decent award levels. We have 380K American Miles, 180K Amex points, 180K Chase points, 250K Avios, many hotel points, and a smattering of other points. Here is my frustration:

    1) First tried using Avios for AA. They showed NO flights for my 3 days. And I did click through to "Partner Airlines."

    2) Looked at American. They had flights, but at the lowest award level the routes were atrocious! Three stops and such.

    3) United had no flights at the lowest award level.

    4) Delta wanted an amazing number of points. I was flabbergasted.

    Can anyone offer any advice? I would be most appreciative.
     
  2. samfelix

    samfelix Active Member

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    I could be mistaken but mid to late March is usually a very heavy spring break time, especially anywhere in Florida. As for advice, I'm afraid I have little other than perhaps elite status helping to break thru logjam. Best of luck. I'd be interested to hear how this turns out.
     
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  3. Sunshine7

    Sunshine7 Silver Member

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    Newbie here, so take this with a grain of salt: Easter Sunday is March 31, 2013, which means that the end of your trip corresponds with spring break. I'm wondering if the lack of availability has something to do with that?
     
  4. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    That area is usually pretty cheap to fly to, and demand may be high with spring break, so it may make sense to just pay cash, particularly if,international travel is in your plans as well.

    I'm curious how Delta was flabbergasting you, though. Even just plugging in mci and mia with your dates, I was able to get large numbers of seats to show up at 40k, which I would never redeem at, but is lower than non-saver awards with AA, UA, etc.
     
  5. lightangel

    lightangel Silver Member

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    Since you have EF membership, you may want to set up an alert for the award routes you would like to have. Also, pull a couple fare rules from EF and see if some of the lower fares exclude those dates you would like to travel. If so, it's PEAK season in airlines' book, and it is normally hard to find redemption options. Seats may open up with in 21 days of travel, so airlines can charge a "close-in" fee...
     
  6. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Yep Spring Break it is ....although you didnt mention how many are in your family I punched in four and like you said
    AA has awards on 3/13 but with three legs.

    Seeems you really have only two options a) the more expensive DL awards
    b) the multi-stop AA awards.

    I also checked PAID tix on ITA and the cheapest roundtrip costs from MCI on your listed dates are as follows:
    MIA $490
    FLL $472
    MCO $497
    even TPA $424

    So the high demand reflected in the lack of awards also shows up in paid fares.. no cheap ones here:) .

    I would not expect awards to open later for these routes for those date if the demand is so high now(even car rental rates tend to be sky-high during Sping break) since you are perhaps locked into the cruise dates it would be quite risky hoping that things might go your way.
     
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  7. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    It's a long way out. Delta doesn't even h ave their cheap fares for that time period loaded yet. Cash fares will likely drop.
     
  8. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    For Spring Break time that's a bold bet.
     
  9. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    Spring Break and Florida is a deadly combination for cash or points. That said, someone correct me if I am wrong here, but doesn't BA still allow essentially free changes. The rules state otherwise, but I have always been able to cancel awards without penalty. If that is still true, then you could book what is available now on AA using BA miles and then cancel/rebook if something better comes along later. I would just get someone who has done it in the last couple months to verify that is still the case.
     
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  10. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Maybe a bit bold,yes. If they can tack on an extra day on each end they can get the tickets for 350 now. Worth considering.
     
  11. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    as many others in this thread have said, it is high demand season, even though you have tried a decent variety of desitnaion cities, seems you are just SOL.

    This past spring we spent time on Siesta Key during late March high season, for the life of me we couldn't find any awards to TPA, RSW, MCO, MIA, FLL. Prices were such that we did not want to buy. Eventually we got JAX. So my suggestion is to look into northern cities of Florida & drive south from there. Even if you don't want to do a roundtrip out of N FL, perhaps book a one way, then a return from a different city, Remember there are no drop fees for rental cars in FL for most cities.
     
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  12. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    If you want your choice of dates on saver awards over Easter break, you need to book farther out.
     
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  13. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Glad to see another MCI guy out here. Not sure if you have anything against Southwest, but they'll open up bookings through April 2013 on August 27 (currently, they're only allowing bookings through March 8). You could see what fares they have to your cities. If you end up booking with them, you can always rebook at a lower rate if a sale comes along (not too likely for your dates I'd guess) even if it's not the original airport you planned to fly into (I love those no change fees).

    Also, on the bonus side, SW has direct flights to both MCO and FLL.
     
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