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[Advice Needed] NYC-LIS or NYC-BCN

[Advice Needed] NYC-LIS or NYC-BCN

Old Jan 17, 23, 9:01 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 2
Question [Advice Needed] NYC-LIS or NYC-BCN

Hi,

I'm new to booking flight awards (this will be my first one). My girlfriend is planning to go to Mallorca in Spain for a wedding and we were hoping to do Lisbon (LIS) or Barcelona (BCN) before that.

Looking to depart on 5/25 but can leave a few days later as well or maybe one day earlier. Returning 5/31. Also considering doing both Barcelona and Lisbon one after the other.

I have about 220k Amex points I'd be willing to part with for roundtrip Business (J) class for both of us. Though, because it's probably easier to find, I'm currently looking for one-way on our departing flight and then booking a one-way return separately on economy with cash.

Does anyone have recommendations on how to do this? I've searched through all of the blogs, got a $1 subscription to point.me, and also got a free trial for ExpertFlyer. I set up a bunch of alerts on ExpertFlyer for the flights I was seeing in LifeMiles that had no availability in business (Swiss, Brussels etc.)

So far, I'm unable to find any flights that are either good deals on points <80k one-way or that don't have a terrible connection (or multiple connections). What am I doing wrong or am I just too late / booking the wrong season?

I've searched AirCanada and everything seems to be mixed cabin or 300k+ points. ANA doesn't seem to show any results at all. United seems like it might have some options on the pricier side. Virgin didn't show any results.

Thank you for any help you can give me!

Last edited by suddenfs; Jan 17, 23 at 9:07 pm
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Old Jan 17, 23, 9:24 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New York, NY
Programs: AA ExPl, DL PM, UA Silver, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, probably some others
Posts: 2,987
Originally Posted by suddenfs View Post
Hi,

I'm new to booking flight awards (this will be my first one). My girlfriend is planning to go to Mallorca in Spain for a wedding and we were hoping to do Lisbon (LIS) or Barcelona (BCN) before that.

Looking to depart on 5/25 but can leave a few days later as well or maybe one day earlier. Returning 5/31. Also considering doing both Barcelona and Lisbon one after the other.

I have about 220k Amex points I'd be willing to part with for roundtrip Business (J) class for both of us. Though, because it's probably easier to find, I'm currently looking for one-way on our departing flight and then booking a one-way return separately on economy with cash.

Does anyone have recommendations on how to do this? I've searched through all of the blogs, got a $1 subscription to point.me, and also got a free trial for ExpertFlyer. I set up a bunch of alerts on ExpertFlyer for the flights I was seeing in LifeMiles that had no availability in business (Swiss, Brussels etc.)

So far, I'm unable to find any flights that are either good deals on points <80k one-way or that don't have a terrible connection (or multiple connections). What am I doing wrong or am I just too late / booking the wrong season?

I've searched AirCanada and everything seems to be mixed cabin or 300k+ points. ANA doesn't seem to show any results at all. United seems like it might have some options on the pricier side. Virgin didn't show any results.

Thank you for any help you can give me!
Welcome to FT.

Availability for flights to Europe is worse than it's ever been. There's loads of demand, less supply than before the pandemic, more points to go around, and a race amongst US airlines towards the bottom to make their points less valuable and more difficult to use for flights in J.

One suggestion would be to use your MR points to book a cash ticket, which I wouldn't typically suggest, but there might actually be more availability. TAP has routine flash sales from the US to Europe and even more often from Toronto to Europe, which might be an ideal option for you. You could use cash to book a ticket to Toronto and points to defray some of the cost for the cash ticket to Europe and get business class both ways. TAP isn't the fanciest business airline, but it's a flat bed and a direct flight to LIS.

Otherwise, the reality is that you're best monitoring the Premium Fares section here and the blogs on BoardingArea for availability. It comes and goes in spurts and might disappear in a day. I'm flying Iberia business class to Europe after seeing availability pop up on a blog - that availability was widespread, but it (mostly) disappeared after a day or two. Other opportunities come and go - Jetblue business was widely available with Emirates miles last summer, but that option is now gone.
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