Progress to book flights to Finland: Part 2

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Progress to book flights to Finland: Intro

Now that we had a destination and timeframe, we could start working on the flights.

How to find flights:

  1. Determine where/when I want to go (airport code: HEL for Helsinki).
  2. Total how many miles I have (enough for two one ways on two alliances).
  3. Determine which programs can get me there (factoring in transfer partners). You can ask me for more details in the comments.
  4. Transfer enough miles to the appropriate programs (done).
  5. 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.

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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.