I recently posted about my first attempt at using frequent flier miles to obtain premium class travel from Washington, DC to Rome next June. The 330 day booking window for my desired June 29, 2010, departure date opened a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been checking almost daily, but finding no availability at the desired AAdvantage “MileSAAver” rate of 50,000 miles per person each way for Business Class. I’m not surprised that availability is less than widespread this far out for the busy summer travel period. Like anything patience is key.
During lunch today, I decided to surf on over to AA.com and poke around for various ways to get to Rome in late June. I selected my desired date of 6/29 and chose the “dates flexible” option. Much to my surprise, there were 2 Business Class seats available from Washington (DCA) to Rome (FCO) on Monday, June 28, 2010! One day earlier than planned. You can bet I grabbed those seats right on the spot!
Granted, we lost international stopovers when American recently announced one-way AAdvantage awards, but my experience points to an awesome benefit of AAdvantage versus other “legacy” mileage programs. I grabbed seats for my outbound flights, and purchased them on the spot before my return date in mid July opens for booking. When the return dates open, I’ll search for flights and book them when availability opens up. Yes, I’ll have 2 separate reservations, one for the outbound, and one for the return. But ask me if I care when I’m enjoying American’s Flagship Business Class!
So, next time you hear how impossible it is to use miles for free travel, remember this experience. With a little patience you’ll be flying in no time. Here’s to hoping I can get back home!