Hi Everyone, I'm pretty new to this all, which is unfortunate, since the wife and I have taken some pretty exotic trips the last couple of years without earning any miles :-(. I have signed up for the frequent flyer/hotel programs with a whole lot of oneworld, Sky Team and Star Alliance members and we're in the process of getting one travel card w/bonuses each. I've read some great info here about obtaining points, but I'm curious about the process of redeeming the points. We are traveling this December (finalists are Colombia or United Arab Emirates) and then next summer we're doing Zimbabwe-Botswana-South Africa. We're in the US and typically fly out of JFK, EWR, PHL or IAD. Since we have the goals in mind, is it possible we'll run into a scenario where we can't use points to go towards a flight, even if there ARE flights on our travel days? The whole process is intimidatingly fun and I appreciate all advice!