It’s May 21, and you just realized you want to go to Europe this summer. You’re not alone–that’s probably the most common request my Award Booking Service is getting right now.
The good news is that finding award space to Europe this summer is still possible, especially if you are flexible.
Which routes have space? Which airlines will open up more award space?
The best value destination for people who want to use their miles to travel in flying beds is Peru.
My favorite South American country is the perfect sweet spot of being far enough away for two airlines–LAN and United–to fly fully flat business class seats from six American cities, and being close enough that the flights are a steal with American and United miles.
Usually with miles, there is a “but.” In this case, I don’t see one. The award space is great, the products are fantastic, the miles can be earned easily, and Peru is my favorite country to visit in the world.
The four legacy carriers–United, Delta, US Airways, and American–all allow stopovers on award tickets (though stopover rules vary greatly.) Adding a stopover en route is a great way to add another city to your trip and get extra value from your award.
Usually adding a stopover increases the complexity of an award, but sometimes it makes your life easier. Sometimes adding a stopover is the best way to increase your award booking options.
I’ll give an example of how taking a stopover can save 27,500 US Airways miles when booking an off peak award to Europe. This example can be generalized to other airline programs.
Pop quiz, hot shot: What is the only airline with a direct flight between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo?
Three times a week, a Korean Air 777-300ER flies from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays. The return leaves Sao Paulo on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Redeye outbound, daytime return
This flight isn’t just a novelty. It’s a legitimately great use of Delta SkyMiles–the least valuable and most reviled currency among the legacy airlines. Learn how to get on the flight yourself after the jump.
Posted in Delta, Korean
Tagged Delta, Korean
Last week, American Express (possibly accidentally) offered its Business Gold Rewards Card with a 75k Membership Rewards sign up bonus after only $5k in spending in the first three months.
That’s pretty incredible because:
- Usually the card has no sign up bonus.
- It had been offering only 50k Membership Rewards after $5k in spending.
- Normally when it offers 75k Membership Rewards, it does so for only one or two days and requires $10k in spending to unlock the bonus.
That deal died, but two Business Gold offers have risen in its stead. Which is right for you?
Yesterday’s post about the Coolest Thing to Do with 130k and 280k American Airlines Miles got me to look at the American Airlines’ chart again for value. I found what I think are the Five Best Values in premium cabins.
These values combine low miles, low taxes and fees, and the very best products from among American’s partners. How does First Class on Etihad or British Airways for 40k miles sound?
A few weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on The Coolest Thing You Can Do with 57.5k United Miles and 10k Avios, which arose from daydreaming about booking myself more award trips.
The last few days I’ve worked myself into a frenzy planning an incredible-value American Airlines Explorer Award around the world in business class for 130k American Airlines miles and the most opulent Explorer Award possible for 280k miles.
I am giving away a pair of United Club passes that I received by opening a United MileagePlus Explorer Card.
United has lounges all over the world. The clubs are a pleasant place to relax in a comfortable chair, use free wifi, and enjoy free snack and drinks. Here are the amenities.
Comment below for a chance to win the passes. Include your real email address while commenting, so I can contact the winner. (Your email address will not be displayed and will not be used for any other purpose.)
You can also enter by retweeting this tweet.
That means everyone can enter twice!
Don’t forget to join the 1,400 geniuses on Twitter and 3,100 mavens on Facebook who follow MileValue for more chances to win.
Disclaimer: I use the word “upgrade” a few times in the post. I am not referring to buying a cash ticket in economy and trying to use miles or cash to get it into business class. I am referring to using miles to change an award from economy to business. The first type of upgrade is almost universally a bad deal. The second type is a fine deal.
United has a litany of award fees. Booking by phone is $25. Cancelling is $150. Changing the origin, destination, award, type, cabin, or anything within 21 days of departure is $75.
But I’ve had some pretty good luck changing United awards without incurring the stated fees. I wrote about the way I figured out to Save $100 or More on Cancelling United Awards.
And I once changed an award from Europe to the US without incurring a $75 change fee or having the 20,000 extra miles for my upgrade from economy to business class deducted from my account. (That was a fluke caused by the fact that fees seem to be manually applied by agents over the phone.)
I’ve figured out another way to save up to $75 per ticket in certain circumstances.
Two months ago, thexfactor emailed me to tell me that he’d booked something online at aa.com that was against one of the rules I laid out in The Five Cardinal Rules of American Airlines Awards.
His discovery greatly increases where you can take a free oneway when booking American Airlines awards online. I’ll break down what my research has uncovered about the new possibilities and give a little background on free oneways on AA flights.