Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan
Reload this Page >

Recommendation for Award Booking Service to Use AS Miles

Recommendation for Award Booking Service to Use AS Miles

Old Aug 15, 2023, 12:42 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: AS Million Miler, Marriott Lifetime Platinum, Nexus / Global Entry
Posts: 837
Recommendation for Award Booking Service to Use AS Miles

I've heard that there are agents that specialize in this. I'm spectacularly unsuccessful at actually using my AS miles for anything but domestic trips.

Anything J overseas and in particular to Asia have resulted in laughably bad choices or none at all.

The other day I looked for something to Japan and it was admittedly for November and not 364 days out - the only option was hilarious - 350,000 miles and a 36.5 hour one way. IIRC the return was 52 hours beginning in SEA and going to either Narita or Haneda. Star Alliance options on KAYAK etc. seemed a lot more attractive than oneworld which is unfortunate.

Is this something I should be calling the MVP line for help with an agent?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by sea_jeff; Aug 15, 2023 at 4:19 pm Reason: Clarification on service request
sea_jeff is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 2:58 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 20,821
Originally Posted by sea_jeff
I've heard that there are brokers that specialize in this. I'm spectacularly unsuccessful at actually using my AS miles for anything but domestic trips.

Anything J overseas and in particular to Asia have resulted in laughably bad choices or none at all.

The other day I looked for something to Japan and it was admittedly for November and not 364 days out - the only option was hilarious - 350,000 miles and a 36.5 hour one way. IIRC the return was 52 hours beginning in SEA and going to either Narita or Haneda. Star Alliance options on KAYAK etc. seemed a lot more attractive than oneworld which is unfortunate.

Is this something I should be calling the MVP line for help with an agent?
Are some free award search tools here--->https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-tools-701/
And Award booking services - a list and some reviews

Depending on the airline award flights can *start* to become available from ~353 days out. AS & AA use SABRE, which only has flights book-able from 330 days out. So behind some other OW airlines (BA QF etc)
sea_jeff and mildfrequence like this.
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 3:01 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Programs: UA Gold 1MM, AS 75k, AA Plat, Bonvoyed Gold, Honors Dia, Hyatt Explorer, IHG Plat, ...
Posts: 16,247
Avoid the term broker - those folks sell you award tickets based on miles they bought somewhere in violation of T&C.

You are looking for award booking services that use your own miles (right?).

There are some award booking search tools. Have you tried anything other than AS own website?

Also, successful award booking IME often requires flexibility in routing and timing.
notquiteaff is online now  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 4:18 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: AS Million Miler, Marriott Lifetime Platinum, Nexus / Global Entry
Posts: 837
Originally Posted by notquiteaff
Avoid the term broker - those folks sell you award tickets based on miles they bought somewhere in violation of T&C.

You are looking for award booking services that use your own miles (right?).

There are some award booking search tools. Have you tried anything other than AS own website?

Also, successful award booking IME often requires flexibility in routing and timing.
Ahhh - yes. You are correct. I believe "agent" would be more correct. I'd like to have the service assist me in utilizing my own miles.

Thanks to you and to Mwenenzi - very useful/helpful. Was getting a little salty about this and y'all have given me a glimmer of hope.
notquiteaff likes this.
sea_jeff is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 4:52 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Programs: UA Gold 1MM, AS 75k, AA Plat, Bonvoyed Gold, Honors Dia, Hyatt Explorer, IHG Plat, ...
Posts: 16,247
Originally Posted by sea_jeff
Anything J overseas and in particular to Asia have resulted in laughably bad choices or none at all.

The other day I looked for something to Japan and it was admittedly for November and not 364 days out - the only option was hilarious - 350,000 miles and a 36.5 hour one way.
Took a quick look. Reasonable J AS awards to to TYO in November seem to be unavailable at this time. Might be due to a number of reasons:

- too short notice
- massive reduction of capacity to China impacting travel to rest of Asia
- high leisure travel demand after years of Covid limitations

Not sure that award booking services would be helpful here. Perhaps someone here on FT has suggestions.

A few weeks ago you might have been able to put your AS miles to relatively good use by booking a StarLux award from LAX to TPE for 60k and then a separate TPE to TYO award for not very much. But that lasted for less than a day, I think.

To expand on what I said earlier, I am generally reasonably successful in getting good value for my miles by

- having stashes of miles in various programs, so if AS has no availability, maybe Star Alliance can get me there

- being flexible where and when I go. I am generally happy to go anywhere in Western Europe and take a train, car or local flight to my final destination

- if I can’t find a good award, but revenue tickets are reasonably priced, I buy those and know that I will be able to use the miles another time

- One way is my friend - I often fly one way on an AS award and the other way on an award with an different alliance or even on a revenue ticket
sea_jeff and mildfrequence like this.
notquiteaff is online now  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 5:11 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: AS Million Miler, Marriott Lifetime Platinum, Nexus / Global Entry
Posts: 837
Excellent tips. I am a complete zero on Star. I like the option of multiple pots and one ways. Credit card transfer points might make the difference.
Will probably give up on the November timing and see what playing the long game opens up.
sea_jeff is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 5:17 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Programs: NZ
Posts: 1,530
There are three rules when it comes to making award bookings:

1. Flexibility
2. Flexibility
3. Even more flexibility
minz56 is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 5:25 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: ANC
Programs: AS MVP, Club 49, Global Entry, National Emerald Club, Hilton Silver
Posts: 1,378
As others have said, flexibility is key, and one way awards are necessary. I live in Anchorage but flew to PDX last night so I could use a J award today. My return is from LHR-SFO in F using AS miles. Completely separate award booking. Its not perfect, but it gets me across the pond in luxury for a reasonable price.
notquiteaff and sea_jeff like this.
AKLifetimeFlyer is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 6:12 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: AS Million Miler, Marriott Lifetime Platinum, Nexus / Global Entry
Posts: 837
lol... looking at booking another trip next year - I'm thinking that $200 per person for the concierge service might be the way to go.

I might have some flexibility - but my limits on patience are pretty low.
sea_jeff is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 7:18 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,130
Recall JL award used to not be this difficult but with post COVID effect and other factors, inventory has been extremely low to find something, anything, in premium cabin, so it's not just you. I did find something the other day to Asia via Europe (the long way). I was not looking specifically for myself but to help someone else. Miles are reasonable (80K, I think) but you will have to pay the hefty BA tax.
Repooc17 is offline  
Old Aug 15, 2023, 8:33 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Programs: AS MVPG100K, Marriott Marriott Titanium Elite, Hilton Gold
Posts: 7,263
You could also fly AY US-EU for 70K & EU-TYO/HKG for 70K. If you want to stretch it further, take the short hop from the NE to KEF. It will only set you back 70K on AY from KEF-HEL-TYO/HKG.

When pickings are slim, you need to get creative.

James
sea_jeff, pcoll and mildfrequence like this.
Flying for Fun is online now  
Old Aug 16, 2023, 9:52 am
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: AS Million Miler, Marriott Lifetime Platinum, Nexus / Global Entry
Posts: 837
I knew this group would come through.. educational and entertaining.
sea_jeff is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2023, 12:58 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Posts: 223
Book in economy for now - JL reliably releases plenty of availability 4-5 days out; you may need to be flexible on routing but youll have no issue with availability.
gophish11 is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2023, 4:42 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: AS Million Miler, Marriott Lifetime Platinum, Nexus / Global Entry
Posts: 837
Originally Posted by gophish11
Book in economy for now - JL reliably releases plenty of availability 4-5 days out; you may need to be flexible on routing but youll have no issue with availability.
It was surprising to see that there was a fair amount of economy availability. Will check it out for a last minute kind of trip. Thanks!
sea_jeff is offline  
Old Aug 16, 2023, 5:55 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,130
Originally Posted by sea_jeff
It was surprising to see that there was a fair amount of economy availability. Will check it out for a last minute kind of trip. Thanks!
Economy cabin has never been an issue of lack of inventory; neither are business awards at standard pricing - e.g. 280K EI one-way, it's the saver awards (discounted number of miles - 60K for example) which are a bit of unicorn for certain airline partners.
sea_jeff likes this.
Repooc17 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.