Tag Archives: frequent flyer miles

Planning an award trip on a oneworld airline

Taking a break from Puerto Rico for one day to continue talking about planning a ticket using a oneworld airline.

In previous posts, I talked about basics of frequent flyer redemption 1, basics of frequent flyer redemption 2, how to search of American Airline award tickets, how to redeem American Airline frequent flyer miles for All Partner travel, how to redeem American Airline frequent flyer miles for a oneworld award ticket, open jaws and American Airline one-way award tickets, the magic of the stopover, American AAdvantage reduced mileage awards, best use of British Airways miles, and how to search for oneworld award tickets.

Using those techniques, you can put together some amazing frequent flyer award tickets.  The tools that I mentioned in the how to search for oneworld award tickets will show how many frequent flyer tickets are available for each flight.  However, if you’re planning a more complicated oneworld award ticket you may want to start your search on the oneworld web site.  This site allows you to search the map for where oneworld alliance partners fly.  You will want to change how you search depending on if you’re booking a All-Partner or a oneworld award ticket.  The All-Partner awards have more options in airlines.  You can redeem a oneworld award ticket only with the following airlines: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malev, Mexicana, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, and S7 Airlines.  You cannot book a oneworld award ticket on Air Pacific, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Airlines / Horizon Air, Brussels Airlines, EL AL, Hawaiian Airlines, and Jet Airways (but you can book an All-Partner ticket on those).

If you are searching for an All-Partner award ticket, you can fly on a codeshare flight.  So you can have the checkbox next to “Include codeshares” checked.  If you are searching for a oneworld award ticket, you probably would want to uncheck that box.  If you don’t uncheck it, flights that you cannot book will show up.  They will appear as red lines on the map.  So just know that you can’t book any red lines if you leave them in your search.

After figuring out what flights are valid for your destinations, you would then want to use one of the award searching tools that I talked about to find actual flights that have award availability.

As always, feel free to comment on a post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.  Happy travels!

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Best Use of British Airways Miles

UPDATE: Given the change to Avios, I have created a New Best Use of British Airways Miles page.  From a high-level, the best use is now short-haul trips.

Many of you may have a lot of American Airlines and British Airways miles given the big bonuses they had in the last year.  Their redemption options are very similar but there are differences that I talked about in the British Airways post.  So what are some of the best uses of British Airways miles over American Airlines? (Note: All redemption costs below assume you’re traveling from the U.S. unless otherwise noted.)

  • Hawaii during peak season (April – August) - British Airways charges 17,500 miles each way.  American Airlines ups their redemption cost to 22,500 miles each way for peak season.
  • Bermuda - BA only charges 25,000 round-trip to Bermuda.  American charges 35,000.
  • International Stopovers – If you travel to international locations either just on British Airways, British Airways and 1 partner, or just 1 partner, you can use the standard redemption chart (i.e. not the oneworld award chart) while still doing unlimited stopovers.  I talked about this in a previous post.  While traveling to Europe on BA may cost you a lot in fueling charges, going to other locations (such as South America) may not.
  • Domestic Stopovers - BA allows unlimited stopovers.  I talked about how you can use this to your advantage on international flights.  But you can also use this to your advantage on domestic flights.  Let’s say you wanted to make a tour of the U.S.  You could travel Boston to Chicago (stopover) to LA one way.  And then on the return, you could go LA to Denver (stopover) to Boston.  You can add in many stopovers within reason and you should keep the flow of your flights in one direction (don’t zigzag across the country).  You will need to call to book a trip with stopovers (800) 452-1201.

This is not meant to be an extensive list of how you can use your British Airways miles.  It is meant to give you some of the differences between British Airways and American Airline redemption.  You can still use some of the techniques I talked about in the American Airline redemption series with your British Airways miles.

Any American Airlines MileSAAver flight can be booked using British Airways miles.  If you have more than one connection or are incorporating stopovers into your trip, you will need to call British Airways to book the flights.  I have found that it’s best to do your research before calling.  You should know the flight numbers you want before you call.  I booked our first trip to Hawaii using BA miles.  When I called them to book the flights, the customer service representative told me that there were none available.  I asked her if I could give her the flight numbers one by one.  She said yes.  After I told her all of the flight numbers and dates, she was surprised that the trip was available.  You can do your research using the search engines I talked about yesterday.

Feel free to comment on the post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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How to Search for Award Tickets for Oneworld Airlines

In a previous post, I mentioned which search engines you could use to find award tickets on oneworld airlines.  I didn’t mention when you would want to use one search engine over another so I wanted to cover that today.

  • www.aa.com – This is the American Airlines web site.  It is free and you do not need a frequent flyer account to search on this site.  This site only shows availability for American Airlines.  It does not show partner airline availability.  If you can find a MileSAAver award on the American web site, you can book that flight using British Airways miles.
  • www.britishairways.com – This is the British Airways web site.  It is free but you do need a frequent flyer account to search on the site.  Creating a frequent flyer account is free and you do not need to have any miles in the account to search.  The down side to using the British Airways site for searching is that it always looks for British Airways flights flight and it tries to route you through London.  However, after that initial search, you can include partner airlines if BA flights are not found.  And unlike some other sites, this site does show Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific availability.
  • www.qantas.com – This is the Qantas web site.  It is free but you do need a frequent flyer account to search on the site.  Creating a frequent flyer account is free and you do not need to have any miles in the account to search.  This site is good for searching for European flights, since unlike British Airways, it does not try to force you on a British Airways flight.  However, this site is not good for Asia awards since it does not show availability for Japan Airlines and the Cathay Pacific results are sometimes unreliable.
  • www.expertflyer.com – This is a paid site.  It has a lot of flexibility in how you can search for awards and it will tell you have many award tickets are available.  However, it only shows information for the following oneworld partners: American, Alaska, Qantas, and economy Finn Air.
  • www.kvstool.com – This is a paid site.  It shows award availability for all airlines in the oneworld alliance.
  • www.awardnexus.com – You must be a member of Flyertalk to access this site.  It is not as advanced as Expert Flyer or the KVS Tool, but it does include all of the oneworld alliance airlines.

Feel free to comment on the post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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American Airline Redemption – South America

UPDATE: I created another post with screen shots to show you how this tack on works.

In a previous post, I talked about how you can tack on a trip to Hawaii for free when traveling to Europe.  I have another twist on that same concept.  Off-peak travel between North America and South America on American Airlines is 15,000 miles each way.  (And I love that off-peak is during the winter – exactly when you’d want to travel to South America.)  That includes ANY North American location, including Hawaii.  That is less than the 17,500 miles needed to travel between the contiguous U.S. to Hawaii!

How can you use this to your advantage?  American Airlines allows you to stopover in your U.S. gateway city when traveling internationally.  For American Airlines, the gateway cities are Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami (most likely candidate for South America), JFK, and Chicago.  Let’s say you wanted to travel to Lima, Peru.  You would redeem a one-way award ticket from your home airport to Lima.  For your return flight, you would redeem a one-way award ticket from Lima to Hawaii.  You wouldn’t actually travel all the way to Hawaii on that return flight.  Your ticket is good for one year after issuance.  You can change the dates of the U.S. gateway to Hawaii flights for free as long as the routing remains the same and the same level of award redemption is available within that 1 year.

With enough planning, you could execute this technique with every award redemption outside the U.S.  For example, combining the Europe redemption and the South America redemption, could look like this:  Travel from your home to Europe one-way (20k miles).  For your return, travel from Europe to Hawaii with a stopover in a U.S. gateway city (20k miles).  You would stop in your U.S. gateway city for up to 1 year.  Then you would travel from your U.S. gateway city to Hawaii (free).  Travel from Hawaii to Lima with a stopover in a U.S. gateway city (15k miles).  Stay in your gateway city for up to 1 year.  Then travel from your U.S. gateway city to Lima (free).  Travel from Lima to your home city one-way (15k miles).  Or you could continue the technique and instead of going to your home city, you could book a trip from Lima to Hawaii and so on.

Feel free to comment on the post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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British Airways Award Redemption

Last week, I talked about how to redeem American Airlines miles.  But I’m guessing that some of you have a lot of British Airways miles now because of their incredible 100,000 mile sign-up bonus earlier this year.  American Airlines and British Airways are both members of the Oneworld Alliance.  So a lot of what I talked about last week also apply to British Airways.  But there are some differences.

British Airways has 4 different kinds of awards: British Airways only, BA plus one partner, 1 partner only, and oneworld award (based on distance).  That is different than American’s awards which include: all American, all Airline (can include multiple airlines with or without American) and oneworld.  So if you want to travel using multiple partners using BA miles, you will need to redeem using oneworld.

One big benefit that BA has over American award redemption is that BA allows for unlimited stops as long as the most direct route is taken (although the customer service representative may not fully enforce the more direct route clause).  That is a huge benefit if you want to visit many locations.

Let’s say you wanted to visit South America from the US.  You could travel on LAN for 20,000 miles each way in coach.  You could fly from NY to Miami to Buenos Aires (one-way) and then Buenos Aires to Sao Paolo to Lima to NY on the way back.

When redeeming British Airways miles, I would suggest redeeming on partner airlines.  British Airways charges high fueling charges on award tickets if you fly on British Airways flights.

You could do similar types of awards to other parts of the world as well.

Feel free to comment on the post or email me at travelsavvyfamily@gmail.com with any questions.

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