I got a question from my cousin-in-law a while back and decided to feature my response in a separate post. I feel this could be applicable to what some of my readers are debating on. Here is the email:
“Leana, I got my Chase Hyatt card and already have my bonus two nights after meeting minimum spend. However, we will be staying in Hawaii for a week, so I applied in my husband’s name as well.
We already have the needed AA miles to make an award flight redemption and I found availability for the dates that would work for us. I was wondering: Should I wait till I have my other two free nights certificates, or just go ahead and book the flights and hope Hyatt will be available on those days?”
My email response: ” My advice and order to you (OK, the last part wasn’t in the email) is to book your flights now. Even though you only need two tickets, there is no telling on how the award availability will be when you are ready to book your flights. Hawaii is a very popular destination. That means competition for award tickets.
Hyatt in Kauai should be available since you are not visiting during a major holiday. But even if it’s not, you can always use the certificates at a local Hyatt, and just book a rental in Hawaii through VRBO or similar website. But you only have AAdvantage miles and no backup plan. Tickets from Florida to Hawaii can be as high as $900 per person. Do you really want to chance it?”
If you are traveling with a family of four (or more), this advice is even more applicable to you. You can never tell with frequent flyer miles, it’s a fickle mistress. One day there is a ton of availability, and the next day it could be totally gone. This has happened to me before.
When you have to worry about multiple tickets, take what you can get as far as flights are concerned, and worry about lodging later. Chances are, you will find something on points as long as you are not visiting during New Year’s holiday.
You will also most likely need to settle for terrible flight connections because that’s what’s usually available with miles. The airlines don’t want to give out their most convenient routes at saver level. Again, just take it, and remember how much money you are saving by using miles. Suffer through it and recover on location, hopefully while staying in a free hotel.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.