FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - ARCHIVE: AA Awards on Cathay Pacific (2015)
Old Jan 1, 15, 11:56 am
  #2  
25milesfromhome
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ocean Beach
Programs: Alaska MPVG75, AAdvantage PlatPro, Hyatt Platinum, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 534
I frequently book my trips a year or more out, not for work reasons, but because the trips I'm taking (diving liveaboards) often book one to two years out and are then full. (The boat I'm currently thinking about booking doesn't even become operational until January '16 and is already booked through December '16.) I don't think this creates a huge problem as long as you are flexible. Getting two j seats from some NA gateway to HKG on any given day 331 days out is not difficult. In fact, I would say you have your pick of gateways. (If you'll only accept F, it's a bitter harder, and you'll need much more flexibility.) Some CX connecting flights (DPS for example) can have spotty availability at 331 days, but it's always possible to book into SIN or KUL or BKK and pay for a cheap connection to your preferred destination if it doesn't become availabe on CX. (Yes, you'll have to pay the change fee if you're not EXP, but it's only $175 for two awards coming out of one account.) The toughest "get" are connections from your home city to a CX gateway. Sometimes AA will open those seats for you, sometimes not. But if worse comes to worse, you can always pay for a connection to your gateway.

With all this in mind, I would monitor availability on BA as you're coming up to your preferred departure date so you know what's likely to be available. Hold the best available routing at 331 days. For the next few days, keep checking availability and routing (especially for the domestic connections) and book whatever is best before the 5 day hold expires. Don't worry about the return. There will be long haul availability so as long as you have a little flexibility, you'll be able to book a reasonable return by following the same course.

All of this is much easier for EXPs because you can book anything decent treating it as a placeholder and make multiple changes without penalty. But the approach works for anyone if you just accept that you may have to pay for a change, a connecting flight at either end, or a hotel room for an overnight at your gateway city. If all this costs $500 or $600 to secure two $10,000 passages, it's worth it.
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