I'd like to take a family trip to Japan in April 2012. What steps should I take now? When are award seats released (180 days?)? Current FF miles between me and my husband: No status on any airline Me: Continental 38K (with 50K pending from Credit card sign-up) Him: Continental 38K (with 50K pending from CC) United 3K USAir 80K Hotels: Hilton 180K (silver status) 40K marriott (gold status) We only have 8-12 of weeks of work travel for him likely for the remainder of 2011. Mostly we don't get to chose hotels but will probaby be marriott. Airline will probably be usair. We'll pay to do this trip regardless, but using the miles effectively and getting good value for them is what I' hoping for. Questions: 1) Currently there are 2 more weeks of the marriott megabonus to get a free night. After that should we switch to airline miles? 2) Can we use Star alliance to get 3 tickets on the same plane - 2 through our contiental miles and one on Usair? 3) We'll have 1 child under age 2 is it worth a seat? 4) Total 2 adutls, 2 kids over 2 and one under 2 shoudl we try and getat least one seat in business class so one adult is well rested? 5) What else should I be asking?