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One of the things that I enjoy about blogging is being able to help other people with their miles and points questions. Here is a smattering of some of the previous reader questions that we’ve answered
- Getting compensation for a delayed or canceled flight on United
- Avoiding fuel surcharges with the cheapest miles to South Africa?
- Using miles to get a family of 5 to Italy
- Vacation…. SAVED!
- Schedule change… to the RESCUE!
- Is this trip worth 1,000,000 miles?
Reader question: Business Class from the western US to Europe
Today’s reader question comes from Glenn, who writes:
I have been accumulating points and miles for the last two years. I’m planning a trip to the UK and Spain in the fall of 2017, and I would like some ideas on how to snag two business class tickets that will provide the best experience. Between my wife and I we have about 250,000 AA miles, and I have an additional 75,000 Alaska miles and 70,000 Hawaiian miles. We live in Arizona, but I have the Southwest Companion Pass, so we can get to the best departure point on the east coast, and start from there.
I’m always happy when someone writes in who is obviously prepared and in a situation where I can give him some good news (SEE ALSO: How do you travel for cheap? for someone who is NOT in a good place)
Glenn has picked a place where he wants to go, has spent the time getting the miles (he has plenty!), and has given himself plenty of time.
My advice for Glenn
The best thing to do is be flexible in either your dates or your location. Since Glenn seems pretty set on where he wants to go (UK and Spain), if he can be flexible with dates, he’ll have more luck
My advice in this situation is to always concentrate on the OVERWATER leg first. So that means searching from east coast hubs like JFK, ORD, IAD, MIA, CLT, etc. to ANY European hubs (LHR, CDG, DUS, TXL, MAD, etc). Once you can find seats overwater, you can add on the connecting legs. Glenn mentions the Southwest Companion Pass as an option, but you will likely just be able to add in the domestic legs with no problem
American offers free changes to awards as long as the origin and destination remain the same, so as long as you can get SOMETHING booked, you can change it for free. If you get a schedule change, you may even be able to get them to open up award space – that’s what we did for our tickets from Rome to the US
(SEE ALSO: How I got us 16 extra hours in Rome… for FREE!)
Complicating things will be that you’ll want to avoid booking things on British Airways, since they charge outrageous fuel surcharges on flights – here’s an example
That’s ONE passenger ONE way in business class. I have no interest in paying nearly $2000 for 2 roundtrip tickets IN ADDITION to over 200K miles.
You’ll want to stick to Iberia, airberlin, FinnAir or American Airlines itself.
(SEE ALSO: Using American miles on Iberia)
If this seems overwhelming, my other suggestion would be that it might be worth hiring an award booker, which will run somewhere around $300-$400 for a 2 person ticket.
What about you? What might you suggest for Glenn?
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