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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:01 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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No flights showing.........how far in advance to book - help needed - newbie

First time award ticket redeemer and wanted to know how far in advance to book the award ticket? We have 300k miles and want to go from SEA to BCN return LIS - SEA in late fall.

We looked online at Delta and the layovers where long and a lot of conections. Are we doing something wrong?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:10 pm   #2
 
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Welcome to FT!

The first thing you're doing wrong is searching on DL.dumb. Sign up for a free FlyingBlue account on airfrance.us and search there. Since AF/KL have stopped serving SEA, you should also consider searching out of places where AF/KL/AZ do fly. (Wikipedia is good for helping you figure that out. Off the top of my head, SFO, LAX, and YVR are good west coast starting points.) If you find classic awards in coach or business, you can book them with DL miles (60K r/t in coach, 100K r/t in business). Being based away from an AF/KL destination is normally a downside, but you have AS as your hometown carrier, so the next step is to go to alaskaair.com and look for super saver (or whatever their cheapest award class is) seats from SEA to the gateway you found flights out of on AF/KL/AZ. (Occasionally you'll find DL seats at low to get you to your gateway, but this is generally considered a minor miracle.) If you only use AS, DL, AF, and KL, you can do search by schedule with multicity on DL.dumb to put your ticket together. Otherwise, call with your flight numbers to book.
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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:16 pm   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpfmile View Post
First time award ticket redeemer and wanted to know how far in advance to book the award ticket? We have 300k miles and want to go from SEA to BCN return LIS - SEA in late fall.

We looked online at Delta and the layovers where long and a lot of conections. Are we doing something wrong?

Thanks!
I booked our flights in October of last year for June 1st of this year, thought that was a good idea and in some ways it was. But be prepared for many, many frustrating changes. I think between time changes, plane changes and cancellations my trip has changed at least 8-10 times, some minor changes, some major. Makes it hard to be prepared! I'm relatively new at this (award tickets) but I've been told be prepared for constant changes up to at least 30-45 days out.

I don't know when you were thinking of going but I just looked and they had SEA - BCN flights in late September with stop in ATL and return from LIS in October (stop in CDG).
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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:27 pm   #4
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Very specifically, LIS is not a destination to which Delta flies its own planes. You're going to need to backtrack on one of Delta's SkyMiles partner carriers: AirFrance, KLM, or Air Europa.

Delta's flexible date searches on the award calendar search only Delta-operated flights.

You can have a stopover as well as your proposed open jaw, so if you have some time think about Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid...

mtkeller has provided benchmark award pricing of 100K in Business. If you find partner flights they will all be at Low band for the 100K price; it's Delta-operated segments at Medium or High that can increase award cost. Plausible routings:

SEA-JFK-BCN
SEA-ATL-BCN
SEA-AMS-BCN
SEA-CDG-BCN

If your horizon expands to 3-segment routings you have a vast number of choices including:

SEA-YVR/SFO/LAX/MSP/DTW/MEM-AMS-BCN
SEA-SFO/LAX/PDX/MSP/DTW/JFK-CDG-BCN

If this is daunting, call and ask an agent to do it. Make sure the agent checks AF and KL inventory across all satisfactory dates before agreeing to an award price above 100K miles per person.
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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:41 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
If this is daunting, call and ask an agent to do it. Make sure the agent checks AF and KL inventory across all satisfactory dates before agreeing to an award price above 100K miles per person.

When searching award travel, we automatically check KL and AF - oh heck, we check it for cash tickets as well, but the system defaults to DL/AF/KL.

Please also know in advance that it is 25$ per ticket for us to do it BUT someone like myself can ALSO check multiple days (with in reason) as well as draw from two different accounts for two separate reservations at the same time - AND get your seats, AND hook you up with some peripherals if you need it.

Think about it, I and my co-workers do this 5 days/40 hours plus a week - we also have the capability to look at multiple screens, and often have at least some rudimentary first hand knowledge of your destination and transfer points - knowledge and skill, with a smile is my spe-see-al-ity!
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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:47 pm   #6
 
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Simply put, delta.com is NOT your friend. Avoid it when booking tickets (award or revenue) whenever possible. Especially with award tickets, you'll always have better success calling DL -- it's well worth the fee if applicable.
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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:59 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlytheTail View Post
Simply put, delta.com is NOT your friend. Avoid it when booking tickets (award or revenue) whenever possible. Especially with award tickets, you'll always have better success calling DL -- it's well worth the fee if applicable.
I agree I think we could have gotten a better deal with our award tickets if we had called...lesson learned.
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