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The time is almost here! It’s almost time to finally book my long-awaited delayed trip to Europe next summer using miles and points. I’m so excited to get these award flights booked. I just have to wait a little longer until my dates become available.
I haven’t been this giddy since 2018 when I was preparing to book our award flights to Australia and New Zealand. We’ve used miles and points since then, of course, but for shorter/easier situations. Booking this trip to Europe could be challenging since there are five in my family and I’m aiming to book business class award seats one direction.
In order to prepare for my big booking day(s), I’m taking some steps to ensure I’m ready to jump on the award redemption when the time is right.
Take Inventory of Miles and Points
Before the big day arrives, I’m taking an inventory of exactly how many miles and points I have to work with. For this award redemption, my husband and I have a combination of United miles, Alaska Airlines miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Capital One miles. We also both have sign-up bonuses due to hit our accounts any day now.
Test Account Access
Another thing I’m doing just to dot my i’s and cross my t’s is make sure I can get into all of our frequent flier and points accounts. We had trouble signing into one of our United accounts a few weeks ago, so we fixed that. Wouldn’t it suck to see award availability but miss out on getting it due to a login issue?
Explore Earlier Dates
I’ve been looking on airline websites to see award availability and routes for the days leading up to our desired dates. It’s helping me get an idea of possible routes and potential availability. For example, right now I’m seeing decent award availability on United flights from Zurich to Chicago and Washington D.C. in business class.
Buy ExpertFlyer Pro
Shortly, I plan to upgrade my ExpertFlyer account to the pro version for just a month. It’s only $4.99 and it has proved valuable for me in the past. When it was time for me to book flights to Sydney a few years ago, I could see award availability on ExpertFlyer on Qantas that wasn’t showing up on the AA site. I had to call AA to get the seats, but without ExpertFlyer I’m not sure I would have known they were available.
Consider my Flexibility
As the days draw nearer, I’m thinking about how flexible we can be to accommodate award availability. Our trip dates are somewhat flexible, but we want to be in Europe during a 3-day period that my husband’s office is closed. We’re also willing to split up into a group of 3 and a group of 2 for flights home if we have to.
I seriously love the thrill and challenge of an award booking like this one. Is it just me? Is anyone else getting ready to book a big award trip for next summer? Let’s goooooooooooooooo!
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.