Yesterday I published the first part of a three-part look at 17 awards I’ve booked myself for travel between mid-2012 and mid-2014.
Today I’ll look at five more of the awards I’ve booked myself that range from economy flights in Argentina to First Class flights to my favorite award ever.
How many of these five awards could you have booked? How did I book them?
7. January 2013 from Melbourne to Los Angeles in Qantas Business Class with a Later Free Oneway
Anatomy of an Award: Using AA Miles to Fly Qantas Business Class
Notable for: This trip was notable for the free oneway I flew a few weeks after my trip to Australia to visit my mom in Tampa. I combined the free oneway with a few more one way flights to create a triangle of flights in the US for only $10 out of pocket.
The flights were notable for the chance to fly a Qantas A380 in business class, which I found very disappointing.
Award space on the flight in First Class disappeared the day before it would have been bookable with American Airlines miles. But there are some very cheap ways to get into Qantas A380 First Class that I’ve covered.
Skills Involved: This award required several important skills including:
- How to Book Free Oneways on American Airlines awards
- Booking an award at 331 days out and adding a free oneway later because of the big problem with American Airlines domestic award space
- Knowing which awards to book 11 months out: all Qantas awards
- Searching ba.com 350 days out when Qantas releases award space to get a picture of what will be available 331 days out
8. February 2013 to Buenos Aires in American Airlines First Class
Anatomy of an Award: First Class to Buenos Aires with American Airlines Miles
Notable for: The award was incredibly straight forward. I could have jazzed up the award to get more value in the abstract from my miles, and I ran through all the options I didn’t take advantage of in the Anatomy of an Award. It’s a classic miles conundrum: do you want to “maximize the miles” to say you did or take the trip you want? I took the trip I wanted by skipping the fancy stuff to get to Buenos Aires as soon as possible.
Skills Involved: Using aa.com.
9. March 2013 Roundtrip from Buenos Aires to Bariloche
Anatomy of an Award: Intra-Argentina flights with Avios and SkyMiles
Notable for: The complete failure of Delta agents to ticket the Aerolineas Argentinas flights, forcing me to book my second-choice Avios award on LAN.
10. May 2013 Roundtrip from Buenos Aires to Iguazu
Anatomy of an Award: none
Notable for: One of those rare good uses of Delta miles. Plus the Delta agents had no trouble at all ticketing my flights on Aerolineas Argentinas, which they had trouble doing for me two months before. (See above.)
The flights were notable because I’d heard that Aerolineas Argentinas might be the worst airline in the world, but I actually loved the flights. The planes were brand-new 2-2 regional jets with TVs at each seat, the service was nice, and the flights were only 15 minutes late, which is as on time as anything in Argentina.
Skills Involved: Using Expert Flyer to search Delta partners like Aerolineas Argentinas
11. August and October 2013 to Johannesburg, Munich, and Chicago with US Airways miles
Anatomy of an Award: South America, Africa, Europe, and North America in Biz for 100k
Notable for: This is my favorite award I’ve ever booked. It combined a sweet spot on the US Airways chart from South America to Europe in business class for 100k miles. It is the culmination of my understanding of US Airways awards, as it’s the first I’ve booked with both a stopover and an open jaw, which shouldn’t be allowed.
The award led me to figure out how to book Free Oneways on US Airways Awards.
The award also took advantage of the famous lack of routing rules and geographical knowledge of US Airways agents as routing through Africa one direction and North America the other direction added significantly to the miles flown.
Skills Involved: Searching united.com and the gift of gab to present the flights to the US Airways agent in a way that led to the pricing I wanted.
Overall these awards were a little more complicated than the batch presented yesterday.
The award in Qantas business class included a free oneway that required getting an agent to note my record locator that I could add segments for free in few weeks.
The intra-Argentina awards required pricing out all the options, searching on Expert Flyer, and having a Plan B when agents can’t ticket what you want.
The US Airways award that covers four continents in business class for only 100k miles speaks for itself!
Some of these awards would have been outside the skill set of a beginner, but hopefully after reading about them, you can re-create them for yourself if the desire arises.
Part 3 to Conclude