Making Complex Award Bookings
Booking complex award itineraries, made up of multiple cities and multiple connecting flights can be very painful. I just booked such a trip myself. When I started out I had no idea how cumbersome and time consuming it would be. I really thought I had it easy. After all, I had enough miles on all three Airline Alliances to redeem for the award trip. So I thought I would have multiple options to choose from. Instead it turned out to be a major time drain and resulted in a complex itinerary that was not fun.
What I wanted to do was book an award trip form Washington, Dulles (IAD) to Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) And return to DC two days later from Kingston, Jamaica (KIN). A return form Montego Bay was also OK.
Easier said than done.
Star Alliance was my first choice as I have maximum miles on Star Alliance airlines and have Star Gold Elite Status. I used the ANA Award finder tool to look for awards on Star Alliance airlines. No luck. Nothing was available.
Last choice was SkyTeam. I have tons of miles on Delta that I had accumulated on Northwest. I was avoiding using them as they do not have any flight from Kingston. I would have had to drive back to Montego Bay. Flights were available, only in First class though. I needed 65.000 Delta miles for the trip.
I could have booked it, except that I was adding a 4 hour car ride back to the north side of the island. So, I decided to look for alternate routes back to the mainland. I had some points on my SPG account. One of the unique features about SPG is the ability to redeem points for a booking on any airline. I used 15,000 SPG points to book a one-way ticket from Kingston to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I changed my Delta award ticket to an open-jaw IAD-MBJ and FLL-IAD. Being Delta, all flights routed through hell, I mean, Atlanta (ATL). This also reduced my Delta miles needed to 50,000.
All in all, pretty complex. Taxes were low so out-of-pocket cost of redeeming the miles was only $20. Was it worth the trouble?l Yes. But it took time and knowledge to get it done.
I have a lot of experience doing this, as you can tell. I do offer my services to anyone needing help booking award reservation for a very nominal fee. Just send me a message by clicking on ‘Contact Us‘, I handle all airlines, hotel and other point programs. I am not travel agent, so I only do award bookings. No revenue trips please.
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