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What is the best (cheapest!) way to accomplish this trip...

What is the best (cheapest!) way to accomplish this trip...

Old Apr 6, 19, 8:04 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Programs: American
Posts: 1
What is the best (cheapest!) way to accomplish this trip...

Hi all,

Thanks for having me on your forum!
Our family love to travel and recently wiped out our million miles we'd saved by going on a great holiday. Now we have another one coming up and are looking for how best to book it, under kind of odd places/circumstances.
Let me give you some information...

We renew our vows every 5 years in an international location, taking our kids with us to see and experience cultures of different countries. 2020 is our 20th anniversary, so we're planning a great trip. What we'd LIKE to do, if we can afford it (!) is the following:

1. Cusco - to see Machu Picchu (maybe 2 days needed?)
2. Easter Island - to see the Moai (maybe overnight due to infrequent flights?)
3. Sydney - (maybe 3 days, just enough to see some stuff)
4. Cairns (happy to drive the 1000+ miles to Carins if it is pretty enough to do so - plus we'd get to stop at Steve Irwin's zoo if we drive, but also happy to fly if it's not worth it to drive) (maybe 2 days, to do a Great Barrier Reef day)
5. Auckland (a week - renewing our vows at Hobbiton, plus want to see the country a bit)
6. Anywhere worth stopping on the way back that wouldn't add cost

Here's what we have available to us:
Me: 150,000 miles on American
Husband: 50,000 miles on American
Me: $3,160 in AA flight vouchers, will expire in March 2020

I know we have to wait until about 335 days before travel to book the flights, so I'm asking nice and early as we're hoping to be there late June / early July in 2020. I do know it is winter over there, but we have to work around our kids' school holidays, darn it. Hopefully the weather wouldn't be horrid during that window! It makes me wonder if I can use my flight vouchers - are they valid for a year from issue to booking date, or a year from issue to travel date?

So...how do we get there with 2 adults, and 2 teenagers for the most affordable way? If you have recommendations on upgrades too, let me know - I'm used to flying first class but when you take the whole family, often that isn't the right way to go to keep prices down


Thanks!

Rachel
xzkz1n is offline  
Old Apr 6, 19, 2:10 pm
  #2  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 14,230
xzkz1n Welcome to FT

Originally Posted by xzkz1n View Post
Our family love to travel and recently wiped out our million miles we'd saved by going on a great holiday. Now we have another one coming up and are looking for how best to book it, under kind of odd places/circumstances.
Let me give you some information...

We renew our vows every 5 years in an international location, taking our kids with us to see and experience cultures of different countries. 2020 is our 20th anniversary, so we're planning a great trip. What we'd LIKE to do, if we can afford it (!) is the following:

1. Cusco - to see Machu Picchu (maybe 2 days needed?)
2. Easter Island - to see the Moai (maybe overnight due to infrequent flights?)
3. Sydney - (maybe 3 days, just enough to see some stuff)
4. Cairns (happy to drive the 1000+ miles to Carins if it is pretty enough to do so - plus we'd get to stop at Steve Irwin's zoo if we drive, but also happy to fly if it's not worth it to drive) (maybe 2 days, to do a Great Barrier Reef day)
5. Auckland (a week - renewing our vows at Hobbiton, plus want to see the country a bit)
6. Anywhere worth stopping on the way back that wouldn't add cost

Here's what we have available to us:
Me: 150,000 miles on American
Husband: 50,000 miles on American
Me: $3,160 in AA flight vouchers, will expire in March 2020

I know we have to wait until about 335 days before travel to book the flights, so I'm asking nice and early as we're hoping to be there late June / early July in 2020. I do know it is winter over there, but we have to work around our kids' school holidays, darn it. Hopefully the weather wouldn't be horrid during that window! It makes me wonder if I can use my flight vouchers - are they valid for a year from issue to booking date, or a year from issue to travel date?

So...how do we get there with 2 adults, and 2 teenagers for the most affordable way? If you have recommendations on upgrades too, let me know - I'm used to flying first class but when you take the whole family, often that isn't the right way to go to keep prices down
A very optimistic and unrealistic trip unless you have many many weeks, gazillions of ff miles and a good credit card. [You do not state point of departure, but guess USA some where]
Better to split South America & Australia NZ into 2 separate trips


IPC is a ~5:30 hr flight from SCL. You really need 2 days on Easter Island (I have visited). Flights are very limited. Not the place you can fly into, visit the Moai and fly out the same day. There are LATAM flights IPC-PPT. Then PPT-AKL on Air NZ or TN. But the one way price scares most people. Awards are hard (impossible?)

Driving Sydney to Cairns is not that practical for most people. Driving Brisbane to Cairns works for some people. Google map has Brisbane to Cairns at about 19:00 hrs (1681 km/1044 miles) by road. Say 2 to 3 days with stops. Australia is large and the roads are not all 4 lane freeways. Takes a lot of time.
Gmap link --> https://goo.gl/maps/2yKr9NNm2hG2
Great Circle Mapper
Australia Zoo is north of Brisbane and near Sunshine Coast Airport (Maroochydore MCY) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_Zoo

200,000 AA ff miles will go that far. Very little hope of 4 premium award seats on the same flight. Some award and some cash would be your best hope. With AA ff miles you can only upgrade eligible AA flights or eligible BA/IB flights. USA Aust-NZ has a reputation of being one of he hardest to get AA premium award seats & upgrades. AA fly LAX-SYD & LAX-AKL. Some times of the year can have fewer flights.

Very general award guide---> https://www.awardhacker.com/#f=LAX&t...=1&c=j&s=1&p=0


Good luck !!

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Apr 6, 19 at 7:43 pm Reason: fixing links
Mwenenzi is offline  

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