Eleven Months Out: Booking Christmas Travel Now

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Award travel reservations can usually be made up to eleven months in advance. Often, but not always, eleven months out has the best availability. Eleven Months Out is my series looking at what you can book today for travel in eleven months.

The award calendar’s for the major airlines are now all open through Christmas:

  • American Airlines, December 26
  • US Airways, December 29
  • Delta, December 30
  • United, January 1, 2014
  • British Airways, January 2014

(Southwest’s schedule won’t be open through Christmas for several more months.)

This post would be very similar to the one I wrote last month about booking Thanksgiving travel, since mot people traveling over Christmas also want domestic travel. A few quick searches show that there is space now on these airlines around Christmas, but don’t expect that to last. Book now if you see a good miles redemption when you are used to buying expensive last minute tickets.

See Eleven Months Out: Booking Thanksgiving Travel Now for more step-by-step information with screen shots.


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8 COMMENTS

  1. This is a great and super useful post for those looking to travel at the end of the year.

    United international award availability for Jan 1 came out yesterday morning and I got on it right away. In my experience, international awards the weekend before Christmas and on Jan 1 are super tough because that’s when the rest of the world goes away for vacation.

    I got 3 tickets to for 4 days in Singapore, 4 days in Phuket and 2 days in Tokyo with non-stops back from Tokyo. We’re actually coming from three different cities – LA, San Francisco and New York. The tickets from SF and LA were 65k miles each and the one from NY (mine) was 120k, but it’s all in business class except one day flight on Singapore Airlines.

    Give me a few days I’ll write up the route and hotel plan on my blog… I think you’ll like this one, Scott 🙂

  2. You know what I wish? I wish the airlines’ award calendars would SHOW the latest available booking date. Delta flashes a message that says “Please select a date no more than 331 days from today” or something like that. It is a trivial thing for their software to generate the proper date instead of this generic message.

    Of course it is also simple for me to look up but I wish they’d save me the step!

    • I hear you! Don’t know about Delta, but American does allow you to do that. The other quick trick is if you google “331 days from today” the first link on Google is a nifty little site that does just that. But yes, would be much easier if each airline did it like AA and just grayed out the dates that are too far out!

  3. It’s as though you knew what was on my mind at this exact moment. Great post!

    What’s your take on this same rule for international travel? I am hoping to get two tickets in business or first to New Zealand over the holidays (~Dec 15th to Jan 2 more or less) and wonder two things:

    1. Will I find any availability at all on Aadvantage miles?

    2. If I do mind a route, but it’s via Honolulu on the less glam planes, do I secure it or hold out hope I can get a nice Qantas long haul flight?

    • Actually, I considered Australia instead of my Asia trip first, but then decided to go with Asia as Australia is quite troublesome, especially flying back all the way to NY on Jan 1.

      Qantas is kind of tough because their flights are available to Qantas members 355 days in advance so by the time they get to AA, they’ve been around for 3 weeks and availability is quite trimmed down. You can check on the qantas.com site for what they still have so you know in advance which Qantas flights may still be there when they are up for grabs with AA miles.

      Another option is to try Air Tahiti Nui with AA miles. Their planes are not that nice, but it is an option. You have to call, though, to find out availability. There is no way to do it online.

      milevalue actually has an amazing post for how to get to Australia with miles. He goes over all this. If you search on his site, you will for sure find it. Or maybe he’ll see this post and dig it up for you 🙂

    • Don’t hold out for Qantas. In my experience, they release space 350 or so days out and then never again. If it’s not there now, it almost certainly won’t be. You read my mind about the next post in this series, but I think the answer will be Delta miles on Virgin Australia.

  4. Bummer! Good to hear though- I am going to scour the site and if I get a round trip- take it! I like the Air Tahiti idea- also not ideal, but at the end of the day I suppose biz class in a recliner seat is still better than sitting economy for that long of a flight!

    I might also follow your lead Miles Professor and look at SouthEast Asia. We’re trying to pull this trip off as a honeymoon trip, so I suppose whether it’s NZ or Vietnam, we just need to find someplace to get to and fast! =)

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