Help me surprise family this summer! Flying home early from Buenos Aires/Montevideo!

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by arooni, Apr 21, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. arooni

    arooni Active Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status Points:
    65
    Hi everyone!

    I've been travelling Central and South America for the past 1.5 years and haven't seen my family in the USA. They all THINK that I'll be returning this Christmas, but I'd like to surprise them early by flying home this summer (which is winter here in South America).

    I'm incredibly flexible on when I fly out, and even which airport I'm flying out of. Money is a bit tight, and I don't have lots of experience buying international flights, so I thought I'd ask some experts who know much better than me about how to find the best price for my flight.

    So here are my characteristics of the flight:
    * Round Trip Airfare Desired
    * I can leave from Buenos Aires (Argentina), or Montevideo (Uruguay)
    * I would like to see my family in New York City, as well as in Kansas City, Kansas.
    * I was thinking of trying to find a flight to New York City, and then connecting by train to Chicago, and then bus to Kansas City... on the advice of a friend who told me it's about the same price to fly into NYC as Miami.
    * Price is of utmost concern, and I have no problem doing connecting flights, layovers, etc.
    * I can fly out Buenos Aires or Montevideo at earliest: 12th of May, and latest: June 15. With a preference on flying out about May 21 or so (I'm not in Buenos Aires now, so that would give me plenty of time to get there).
    * I want to fly back to S. America, in the time of August 15 to September 15. I want to stay with my family for the summer in the States... before heading back down for Spring in S. America.
    * I would like to check one bag.

    * I'm ready to buy the ticket now

    I'd love your thoughts on the following
    1) Where should I be searching for flights? I normally use Kayak.com, but I'm totally open to using other things.
    2) Have you had any experience with FlightFox? I was considering posting a contest there.
    3) Any advice on how to buy the tickets?
    4) Any advice on how to be able to visit both NYC and Kansas City? I think the combo of Amtrak and bus doesn't sound too bad (I am optimizing for cost as opposed to inconvenience).
    5) I've heard it's usually better to buy a round trip ticket as opposed to two one way tickets, but would love your thoughts.

    Best!
    arooni
     
    MissBurrill and MX like this.
  2. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,278
    Likes Received:
    5,543
    Status Points:
    4,170
    You may want to keep the trip under 3 months. Typically cheap fares have a maximum stay, and that is sometimes 3 months. Also, there may be an opportunity to leverage frequent flyer miles, either through outright purchase or if you have a us credit history and address plus good credit, credit cards.
     
    MX likes this.
  3. arooni

    arooni Active Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status Points:
    65
    mattsteg: Can you elaborate on the miles aspect of it? I am a US citizen with a good US credit history, but don't really have any mileage accumulated.
     
    MX likes this.
  4. eddie

    eddie Silver Member

    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status Points:
    125
    If you had miles and could find any availability then I'd say should use AA miles to do stopover in the N. American gateway city (JFK). Then you can cut out all the other nonsense and fly direct to Kansas City. It costs 30k one-way during off peak. Don't forget to check the other carriers (LAN). This is easier said than done, however.
     
    MX likes this.
  5. eddie

    eddie Silver Member

    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    8
    Status Points:
    125
    If you fly before May 31 you can get off-peak (20k). There's MVD-MIA availability and EZE-DFW. You could book Kansas City (EZE-DFW-MCI) first, and you could do the gateway trick on your one-way back (MCI-JFK <stop> -EZE, assuming you can find nonstop JFK-EZE ever -- there's *one* Jun 17th). It would cost you 50k miles, which you could get for a sign up. Of course, it could likely evaporate before you see those miles, so maybe it's better to make a friend.
     
    MX likes this.
  6. arooni

    arooni Active Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status Points:
    65
    Can you please elaborate on:
    1) Which airline you were checking for the mileage availaiblity? I was assuming AA.
    2) Are you saying I can find flight from MVD-MIA of EZE-DFW then find another mileage based flight to get to MCI?
    3) Where can I get 50K miles for signing up?
    4) If I need to get miles to purchase airfare, what's the best way to do this?

    Best,
    arooni
     
    MX likes this.
  7. MX

    MX Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    4,805
    Status Points:
    2,545
    If you used AA miles to buy an award ticket, then the entire trip EZE-DFW-MCI would cost you 20K miles before May 31. Likewise MCI-NYC-EZE would cost you 20K or 30K miles, even if you stay in NY for several months. Unfortunately, I don't see much availability for the JFK-EZE award tix around September.

    The 50K sign-up bonus is for a AAdvantage Citibank credit card. Unfortunately, you won't have time to receive it in time for May/June'13 travel. It takes more advance planning to accumulate that many miles. Purchasing miles from AA is instanteneous, and there's currently even a bonus offer available. However, it's not likely to save you anything compared to an outright purchase of a revenue ticket.
     
  8. arooni

    arooni Active Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status Points:
    65
    If I signed up now for the AA card, why couldn't I receive it in time for this trip? It takes something like 1-2 months of processing to be approved and receive it stateside? Is there a minimum spend I must do first in order to take advantage of it?
     
  9. MX

    MX Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    4,805
    Status Points:
    2,545
    Yes, there's minimum spend for the bonus, usually $3000. Even if you meet this spend the day you receive your card, the bonus will post no sooner than the start of the next billing cycle, which could be 1.5 months later. By that time there may not be any award seats left, and there will be extra charges for booking less than 21 days in advance. You can still get going on this route, as long as you are very flexible with your travel dates.
    Here's a helpful thread about various current Citi offers --> http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/mile...ey-appear-read-post-1-follow-links-first.html
     
  10. arooni

    arooni Active Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status Points:
    65
    Anyone want to advance me some miles and I can pay you back when I get this card and miles? :)
     

Share This Page