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Best Strategy and timing to get decent reward from Europe, May 2021

Best Strategy and timing to get decent reward from Europe, May 2021

Old Oct 21, 19, 8:54 am
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto ON and Dunedin FL
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Best Strategy and timing to get decent reward from Europe, May 2021

I find Aeroplan so frustrating these days. I'm looking ahead at finding a one-way reward flight from Europe (probably Spain, Barcelona or Madrid), in May 2021. Business Class (or PE if necessary.) To either YYZ, or better yet (but harder, I know), MIA, or even TPA. I am also willing to think about flying from a different city, if that city is easier. London, Paris.

But when I look now (October 2019) at May 2020 Aeroplan fixed mileage rewards, just to test this out, I see very little availability even to Toronto, and no non-stop flights at all. I don't expect non-stop to MIA, and I do see a Swissair routing that doesn't look bad, but Avianca through Bogata?

I also run into the problem with Mixed Cabin flights, where, voila!, the long-haul flight is in Economy!

Is this the new norm? Am I ever going to be able to use my miles? What is the best timing to see reward availability for this timeframe (early May, 2021)?

Any tips or tricks are welcome. Thanks guys.

(If you want the backstory, we'll be coming off a world cruise. Our car and second home are near Tampa, so would like to return to Florida and drive home to Toronto. But we could fly to Toronto if it's simpler, settle in, then take a quick flight to Tampa to pick up the car. Because of the WC, I will have gobs of Amex Member Rewards available to send to Aeroplan.)
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Old Oct 21, 19, 5:40 pm
  #2  
 
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What I would suggest, look for availability around the dates that each airline opens up availability.
You will be able to spot some patterns that way.
Occasionally do this over the winter and be ready to pounce in May.
Checking now for May 2020 is a good start, but lots of the availability is already gone.
Since you will be booking a year in advance, keep in mind schedule changes happen.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 8:33 pm
  #3  
 
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You might consider investing in Expert Flyer (US$100/year) which can be set to alert you to availability with (almost) real time results. I've used it for a decade and every year I've got more than the subscription fee back in value being able to book awards which otherwise come and go in hours. Even tricky ones like YVR-Australia in J.
I also subscribed to Award Nexus which offers a broader search capability.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 9:07 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by tracon View Post
What I would suggest, look for availability around the dates that each airline opens up availability.
You will be able to spot some patterns that way.
Occasionally do this over the winter and be ready to pounce in May.
Checking now for May 2020 is a good start, but lots of the availability is already gone.
Since you will be booking a year in advance, keep in mind schedule changes happen.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 9:32 pm
  #5  
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There should be zero problems getting TP from LIS, LX from ZRH, LO from WAW or TK from IST into Miami, especially off season.
There is also SK and OS, LH I believe.

I would suggest searching from those gateways, perhaps on united.com - as Aeroplan prefers routing you on AC, as you found out even if the longhaul is in Y
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Old Oct 22, 19, 10:14 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
There should be zero problems getting TP from LIS, LX from ZRH, LO from WAW or TK from IST into Miami, especially off season.
There is also SK and OS, LH I believe.

I would suggest searching from those gateways, perhaps on united.com - as Aeroplan prefers routing you on AC, as you found out even if the longhaul is in Y
I agree 100%. I booked travel for next summer. When I was doing research there was plenty of TP, LO and TK inventory from Europe to NA in J during May.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 5:18 pm
  #7  
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Thanks for all the tips. As usual trying to decode the acronyms. Airport codes I can deal with-- not going to fly back from IST or Warsaw; Lisbon a possibility but would rather avoid TAP. Swissair through Zurich would be fine as would Lufthansa. What is "OS"?

The main thing it seems is to jump on this next May. Will do.

But I guess I shouldn't close my mind--LOT, Turkish,, TAP, do they have a decent business class? (Just hate the idea of flying all the way back to Istanbul or Warsaw to fly home. Want a quick trip, not a hugely long one.)
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Old Oct 22, 19, 5:41 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by WWannabe View Post
Thanks for all the tips. As usual trying to decode the acronyms. Airport codes I can deal with-- not going to fly back from IST or Warsaw; Lisbon a possibility but would rather avoid TAP. Swissair through Zurich would be fine as would Lufthansa. What is "OS"?

The main thing it seems is to jump on this next May. Will do.

But I guess I shouldn't close my mind--LOT, Turkish,, TAP, do they have a decent business class? (Just hate the idea of flying all the way back to Istanbul or Warsaw to fly home. Want a quick trip, not a hugely long one.)
Turkish is the best of the lot, way better than Lufthansa and Swiss. TAP if you can get a new plane only, LOT is very good too, but mostly for 2 people flying together.

Lufthansa, Austrian and Air Canada will cost hundreds of $ extra for fuel surcharges on top of points.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 9:34 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by WWannabe View Post
Thanks for all the tips. As usual trying to decode the acronyms. Airport codes I can deal with-- not going to fly back from IST or Warsaw; Lisbon a possibility but would rather avoid TAP. Swissair through Zurich would be fine as would Lufthansa. What is "OS"?

The main thing it seems is to jump on this next May. Will do.

But I guess I shouldn't close my mind--LOT, Turkish,, TAP, do they have a decent business class? (Just hate the idea of flying all the way back to Istanbul or Warsaw to fly home. Want a quick trip, not a hugely long one.)
Being in the front cabin, feeling and treated special compared to those in cattle class, is part of the fun of the journey for many in this forum. You gotta enjoy it as long as you can
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Old Oct 23, 19, 12:18 am
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
Turkish is the best of the lot, way better than Lufthansa and Swiss. TAP if you can get a new plane only, LOT is very good too, but mostly for 2 people flying together.

Lufthansa, Austrian and Air Canada will cost hundreds of $ extra for fuel surcharges on top of points.
I usually look for TP/LO/LX too because it's much more "on the way", but looking at TK's gateways that make sense from Canada (e.g. LAX/SFO/ORD/NYC/YYZ/YUL) a year in advance - looks like only JFK and ORD have availability (esp. ORD looks really decent, while JFK would have their new 787-9 business product so that's very tempting), everything else is bone-dry. Is that typical? e.g. NOTHING from YUL/YYZ/LAX/SFO.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 1:49 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
I usually look for TP/LO/LX too because it's much more "on the way", but looking at TK's gateways that make sense from Canada (e.g. LAX/SFO/ORD/NYC/YYZ/YUL) a year in advance - looks like only JFK and ORD have availability (esp. ORD looks really decent, while JFK would have their new 787-9 business product so that's very tempting), everything else is bone-dry. Is that typical? e.g. NOTHING from YUL/YYZ/LAX/SFO.
That is typical. BOS/ATL/IAH/MIA are also good. YUL/YYZ are basically non-existent. I guess they can sell those seats because of limited access to good carriers in Canada vs USA (ME3)
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Old Oct 23, 19, 2:23 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by WWannabe View Post
What is "OS"?
Austrian Airlines.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airline_codes
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Old Oct 23, 19, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
That is typical. BOS/ATL/IAH/MIA are also good. YUL/YYZ are basically non-existent. I guess they can sell those seats because of limited access to good carriers in Canada vs USA (ME3)
IAD is also good. TK is adding a second daily flight next year.
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Old Oct 23, 19, 2:26 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
I usually look for TP/LO/LX too because it's much more "on the way", but looking at TK's gateways that make sense from Canada (e.g. LAX/SFO/ORD/NYC/YYZ/YUL) a year in advance - looks like only JFK and ORD have availability (esp. ORD looks really decent, while JFK would have their new 787-9 business product so that's very tempting), everything else is bone-dry. Is that typical? e.g. NOTHING from YUL/YYZ/LAX/SFO.
Availability for YUL-IST and YYZ-IST pops up later, as in 6 to 4 months in advance
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