Now that we had a destination and timeframe, we could start working on the flights.
How to find flights:
- Determine where/when I want to go (airport code: HEL for Helsinki).
- Total how many miles I have (enough for two one ways on two alliances).
- Determine which programs can get me there (factoring in transfer partners). You can ask me for more details in the comments.
- Transfer enough miles to the appropriate programs (done).
- Look for availability, one route at a time.
Progress: 1-4 complete.
On Jan 22, I ferried enough miles from SPG to top off A3 account for two one-way awards at 45k mile each. The 45k miles each way NA to EU in C seemed like a lucrative sweet spot, so I started crediting *A miles to A3 starting early 2015. <Edit> Jan 25 – SPG points have been transferred, so it only took at most 3 days.
The main destination is HEL, but we want to visit another country in the same journey, so finding a natural stopover was ideal. Iceland is ideal, but CPH, OSL, DUB, are fine as well.
However, the priority is finding any award that will get us there.
SideTrack: Because I wanted a stopover, I researched options with A3 or AA award tix:
AA (Oneworld): no stop over allowed, but natural plane stops for OW awards include ORD, MIA, JFK, YYZ, DUS
A3 (*A): no stop over allowed either. Natural plane stops are normally east coast, FRA, IST, or CPH. Use ITA Matrix, filter by *A to find more. Found MUC (UA/LH) and ZRH (LX – swiss)
Since no stopover was possible, we need to find a reasonable cash ticket to the 2nd EU destination, and ideally one that has easy routing for the return award.
HEL-CPH 60-100 Euros on AY, DY, SK, almost every hour.
HEL-OSL 99 Euros on AY, DY, SK, 5 daily scheduled flights.
HEL-DUB: 333 Euros on AY, once per day and monopoly.
Thus, It looks like I will have the return (inbound) award coming out of CPH or OSL.
In the next post, I will be testing out routes via searches.