Award booking is back on in a big way here at Points, Miles & Martinis. After our monster day of flight award and hotel award bookings, I started to think about what was holding me back from using the rest of my points and miles. The fact that Baby Weekly Flyer’s first flight was a success is no longer a factor. But we knew the biggest challenge would be our ability to find low level award availability, especially for a trip back to Hawaii.
Ultimately our booking strategy and itinerary puls save us over 130,000 miles. We’ll illustrate our approach in this post with a step by step process.
Delta First Class Award- Too Many Miles
The first thing I did was look for low availability using Delta SkyMiles. But I couldn’t find a day in three months where low availability worked for our dates and preferred seats.
Our options to Hawaii on Delta would require 135,000 Delta SkyMiles at the mid level.
We would have to get creative in order to save miles on this award booking.
How You Can Save 130,000 SkyMiles
Since we have a big stash of miles and points to work with, we decided to look around at other options to mix and match an award that would work for us.
Our first leg flight could get us to Los Angeles on Delta using First Class awards at the low level. This is often a very difficult award to get on Delta for the days you’d like, so be sure to plan ahead and remain flexible on routing. The low level flight to Los Angeles in First Class only requires 45,000 Delta SkyMiles.
We saw that American Airlines had low level award availability from Los Angeles to Hawaii. So we fired up British Airways and verified we could use only 25,000 for Economy Class for a total of 50,000 Avios Points for two tickets.
The final itinerary to save miles would be to fly to Los Angeles on Delta in First Class for only 45,000 miles. Then, hop on an American Airlines Economy Class seat flight using British Airways Avios points for only 25,000 points per person. The total amount of miles per person to fly to Hawaii in First Class and Economy Class is only 70,000 miles instead of the 135,000 that Delta was asking.
Awards can be booked all the way to Hawaii with SkyMiles in Business Class at the low level, but the are very hard to find. For better luck, try adding in Delta’s partner Alaska Airlines. As always, remain flexible and consider multiple awards, even in other classes, to help you minimize the amount of miles you spend and maximize your award travel value.