First Award Travel - Hawaii

 
Old Dec 23, 08, 10:17 am
  #1  
BTJ
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Thumbs up First Award Travel - Hawaii

My wife and I finally both have over 40,000 miles a piece on Northwest and we are looking at booking our first award travel reservation.

We are wanting to go to Hawaii in the fall of 2009 sometime on perksaver tickets. Probably try and do a multi-city routing...flying into Kauai (LIH) and flying back out of Kona (KOA). Then arranging and paying for an inter-island flight during our time there. Availability seems very very limited, but we are very flexible as to the days that we travel.

Return flights seem to be harder to find than the outgoing flight.

Anyone have any tips on searching to find available tickets?

Is it better to book by calling Northwest and paying the booking fees?

From your experiences...is there any chance that more perksaver awards will open up or is it better to book as soon as we can?

From what I can tell on January 15, 2009 Hawaii perksaver reward flights will go from 35,000 miles to 40,000 miles, but that is the only change. Is there anything else different about the new layout that I am missing that would affect us?

Thanks in advance for your help and for any tips you can give a newbie...
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Old Dec 23, 08, 2:30 pm
  #2  
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Welcome to Flyertalk!

Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
My wife and I finally both have over 40,000 miles a piece on Northwest and we are looking at booking our first award travel reservation.
Congrats!
Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
We are wanting to go to Hawaii in the fall of 2009 sometime on perksaver tickets. Probably try and do a multi-city routing...flying into Kauai (LIH) and flying back out of Kona (KOA). Then arranging and paying for an inter-island flight during our time there. Availability seems very very limited, but we are very flexible as to the days that we travel.
Just remember that to fly from LIH to KOA, interisland carriers generally charge for two legs, since you almost have to take two flights (stopping over in HNL).

Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
Return flights seem to be harder to find than the outgoing flight.

Anyone have any tips on searching to find available tickets?
Patience, check every day, and be creative.

Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
Is it better to book by calling Northwest and paying the booking fees?
If you can call NW for the routing available, then you can try to duplicate that routing on nwa.com and book there to avoid the fees. If not, just call back and pay the fees.

Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
From your experiences...is there any chance that more perksaver awards will open up or is it better to book as soon as we can?
More Perksavers will open up closer to departure, so it's best to check frequently. There's no rhyme or rhythm to when they start opening.

Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
From what I can tell on January 15, 2009 Hawaii perksaver reward flights will go from 35,000 miles to 40,000 miles, but that is the only change. Is there anything else different about the new layout that I am missing that would affect us?
Yes. It's a three tiered structure as opposed to the current two tier structure. So there'll likely be less availability at the 40k level and more at the higher levels. You'd be best to book before mid-January when the new redemption levels take place.

Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
Thanks in advance for your help and for any tips you can give a newbie...
Can you earn 30k more miles and fly up front?
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Old Dec 23, 08, 11:53 pm
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Agree with all the suggestions made above. Not sure about NW, but Delta seems to update a lot of their award availability on Saturday mornings. Not sure if it has been coincidence, but I have snagged a lot of award seats on Saturday mornings when previously seats weren't available. Good luck; you're going to love the islands!!!
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Old Dec 29, 08, 3:08 pm
  #4  
BTJ
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Those are some great tips...thanks a bunch for your help!
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Old Dec 29, 08, 11:42 pm
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You may have better luck if you call. For example, there are some AS routings to Hawaii via SEA (even ANC) that won't show up on nwa.com. Telephone agents have more tools to check routings than the Web site.

That being said, I had so little luck securing any reasonable itinerary to Hawaii in February that I entirely gave up on the concept. Instead, I'm going the most remote place that 35,000 WorldPerks miles would take me: CAY. It's a four-stop itinerary on AS and AF via MIA, PAP, PTP and FTF. From there, I'll travel overland through malaria-infested swamps and over a pirahna-infested river in a dugout canoe to Paramaribo, Suriname. Just sent in my passport and $115 for the visa today. I leave 2/1. It would have cost over $1,500 to purchase this itinerary.

Sure, Hawaii is nice but so is Cartagena. Consider some alternatives, and make your miles go farther!
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Old Dec 30, 08, 6:10 am
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Originally Posted by TProphet View Post
I'm going the most remote place that 35,000 WorldPerks miles would take me: CAY. It's a four-stop itinerary on AS and AF via MIA, PAP, PTP and FTF.
FTF? That's showing up as a seaport in Italy... check it again?

Originally Posted by TProphet View Post
From there, I'll travel overland through malaria-infested swamps and over a pirahna-infested river in a dugout canoe to Paramaribo, Suriname. Just sent in my passport and $115 for the visa today. I leave 2/1. It would have cost over $1,500 to purchase this itinerary.
Ah, Paramaribo! Some colleagues went there this past spring, and it's hard to believe somewhere so geographically close to a lot of places can be so maddeningly hard to actually get to.
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Old Dec 30, 08, 8:02 am
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HNL seems to always be available for 35k due to the number of flights, granted they involve the west coast or SLC stop - availability on the n/s MSP-HNL is much tighter (though I did just score two 75k F/WBC r/t awards on the A330 for next fall.) If you're going to make some Island hops anyway, why not start in HNL. I know that interisland awards are 10k miles r/t, but I've never tried to redeem for them.

Side note: If DL downgauges MSP-HNL to a domestic configured 767-300 I will be p!ssed (and I will cancel the award)!
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Old Dec 30, 08, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by slippahs View Post

Just remember that to fly from LIH to KOA, interisland carriers generally charge for two legs, since you almost have to take two flights (stopping over in HNL).
Wow, you learn something every day. I never knew that. Thanks Slippahs!
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Old Dec 30, 08, 8:56 am
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Originally Posted by geoffco View Post
HNL seems to always be available for 35k due to the number of flights, granted they involve the west coast or SLC stop - availability on the n/s MSP-HNL is much tighter (though I did just score two 75k F/WBC r/t awards on the A330 for next fall.) If you're going to make some Island hops anyway, why not start in HNL. I know that interisland awards are 10k miles r/t, but I've never tried to redeem for them.

Side note: If DL downgauges MSP-HNL to a domestic configured 767-300 I will be p!ssed (and I will cancel the award)!
I agree with you there, keep MSP-HNL on the 333.

Seems United always has open 35K tickets to HNL. Skyteam isn't bad, but United always has open seats, though US and AA rarely do from PHL.
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Old Dec 30, 08, 1:47 pm
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Oops. Make that FDF, as in Fort De France, Martinique.

Originally Posted by DanTravels View Post
FTF? That's showing up as a seaport in Italy... check it again?
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Old Dec 31, 08, 9:05 pm
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Cool

I was pleasantly surprised on Christmas Day when I was able to book two Perksaver tickets in July (HNL-GEG). It was 35000 miles per person RT & $10. per ticket tax.
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Old Mar 17, 09, 1:12 pm
  #12  
BTJ
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Talking

Well our original plans got postponed and we missed out on the deadline of Jan. 15. Now we are looking at a different itinerary leaving sometime March 5-7, 2010 and returning March 20-21, 2010. We each have 42,000 miles.

With how flight schedules become available March 5 will be open for booking as of tomorrow.

I want to jump on it it early so I have the best chance of getting a ticket for our trip, but it seems to me that there is no way to book the outgoing flight if the return flight availability is not yet known, is this correct?

Does anyone have any tips on scoring frequent flyer tickets as early possible?
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Old Mar 17, 09, 4:27 pm
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Originally Posted by BTJ View Post
I want to jump on it it early so I have the best chance of getting a ticket for our trip, but it seems to me that there is no way to book the outgoing flight if the return flight availability is not yet known, is this correct?
That is correct. You'll either just have to wait till the return becomes available or book a dummy return and then pay a $100 change fee when the return flights become available, the latter being a risky move since return availability may not become available.
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