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How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Houston, Texas
posts: 219
reviews: 74
How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

We have a trip planned in August 2014. How far in advance should I book using frequent flyer miles? Flying United from IAH to LIH. Never had enough freq flyer miles to use for booking 2 people, so I'm not sure. Would it be ok to wait until Feb.?

13 replies to this topic
Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,550
reviews: 69
1. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

If you have your itinerary fixed and are fairly certain it won't change, the sooner you can do it, the better. it's not like price changes are going to affect you or anything. The availability of these doesn't tend to go up, in my experience - they tend to run out, especially on more desirable flights on more desirable dates.

Waiting longer than you have to makes it a games of craps....

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 7,722
reviews: 53
2. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Book ASAP, you can always cancel and get the miles put back in your account.

Houston, Texas
posts: 219
reviews: 74
3. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Thanks. I didn't realize we can get the miles put back into our account.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 3,402
4. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

United will require 5000 more miles for a round trip to Hawaii if you book it after February 1, so get on the stick.

Award seats are not released on any set schedule; the airlines have invested millions of dollars in computer software designed to maximize revenues from each and every flight. The computers monitor cash sales constantly, and will release seats into award inventory only when their model suggests that doing so won't jeopardize the bottom line. So book when you can, otherwise remain patient because more seats will probably be made available, potentially right up to the day of the flight. (But note the price goes up on 2/1/14.)

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,406
reviews: 75
5. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Yesterday. Or at the first opportunity you see an award seat available. They're extremely hard to get at the level that requires the lowest miles, especially to a popular destination like Hawaii. If you see two seats available, grab them.

Houston, Texas
posts: 219
reviews: 74
6. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Thanks to all for the info! I was waiting as it seems the flights sometimes get changed, I'll go ahead & resume looking for booking purposes.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 6,779
reviews: 85
7. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

You may want to read UA's rules about award bookings. If you cancel your booking, you'll have to pay to redeposit your miles. I'm not getting into all the rules here; you can find them on UA's webpage.

Book as soon as you find two on the flights you want. You never know when they will be available. Yes, UA changes flight schedules all the time. But, better to grab the seats now and just put up with schedule changes. It's not going to be any better in February.

Edited: 10:09 pm, December 03, 2013
Madrid
posts: 2,629
reviews: 7
8. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Book immediately to aviod either award seats selling out and not being available,or United devaluing their award chart and you no longer having enough miles.

San Diego...
posts: 791
9. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Even if the flights get changed, if you have an award flight booked, the airline will have to accommodate you on one of their alternate flights. I was booked on an award flight on US Air from San Diego to the Dominican Republic via Philadelphia on an award ticket. At that time, there were 3 flights from PUJ to PHL on the return journey. The late afternoon flight cost more miles to book and although the early morning flight and the midday flight cost the same in miles, I had opted for the midday flight in order to avoid getting up way earlier than I wanted to on the way home. A few months after making my booking, the midday flight was deleted and I was switched to the early morning flight. I was able to get US Air to switch me to the later flight, even though it cost more miles at the time of booking.

Canada
posts: 6,853
reviews: 23
10. Re: How Far in Advance Should I Book Using Freq Flyer Miles?

Definitely book a reward as soon as it becomes available....especially Hawaii.

Schedule changes happen whether it is reward travel or revenue. The Airline provides an alternate itinerary.

As with all Airline bookings.....be proactive and follow your Booking reference number to spot any changes to the itinerary, once booked. Often there can be a lag period before the Airline notifies you. If you are one step ahead of the game, you can perhaps have a better alternate choice, and keep a handle on those seat assignments.

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