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Air miles for booking flights?

Discussion in 'Canadian Trip Planning & Community Board' started by Tinkershelly, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Tinkershelly

    Tinkershelly <font color=royalblue>DisneyWorld trip winner!<br>

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    Has anyone here had experience using Air Miles to book flights? I've been collecting them for, well forever, and I just realized I have enough to get return flights to Orlando. :cool1: My question is how easy is it to get decent flights and what airlines will I be allowed to book with.

    I used my Continental/United points for our last trip and it was very easy, even easy and free to rebook when they changed schedules around, but I know that's not the case with Aeroplan.
     
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  3. sechelt

    sechelt Mouseketeer

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    Love Airmiles! Used them twice to WDW and even more to DL, always on Westjet. Never had a problem getting decent flights although coming from the West Coast, we always arrive late at night. To Orlando we went through Toronto or Montreal so that added extra time but still pretty sweet. We booked online and it was pretty easy to do.
     
  4. Disney Bound Mommy

    Disney Bound Mommy Earning My Ears

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    We've used Air Miles 3 times to book flights to Orlando. The first time was from Toronto, on Westjet. Second time was out of Buffalo (I'm not sure how that was allowed because I'm pretty sure there is a rule that you need to start your trip in Canada). Last time was out of Toronto on Air Canada. It was really easy all three times. Booked the trips on line and had a good choice of flights. When we booked out of Buffalo it was a lot less miles required, and the taxes were a lot less too. But when we tried that for the 3rd trip, Buffalo was no longer an option. The whole process was very simple, very pleased with the results, and are currently saving for our next trip.
     
  5. Happy 2 B Me

    Happy 2 B Me I have ears --just not Disney Ears.

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    Books as early as possible to get the best seats and best travel times. I use Alaska Airmiles to book airfare to DL. As long as I book early enough I can get non stop flights both directions. There are only so many seats available per flight times and flight schedule. So this is one time the early bird does get the worm :) Have fun.
     
  6. Tinkershelly

    Tinkershelly <font color=royalblue>DisneyWorld trip winner!<br>

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    Thanks everyone! The flights for October/November 2013 aren't available yet so I can't pull the trigger yet, but soon enough. :thumbsup2
     
  7. DisneyRookie2007

    DisneyRookie2007 DIS Veteran

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    Keep checking periodically to see what flights become released and when the departure times are acceptable - buy it! There's no guarantee that the next day the same flights will be available...that's been my experience.

    Also, the available flights seem to alternate from WJ and AC (from my departure city anyways).

    I checked out flights in early September for a planned Orlando vacation in February. Well, since that time, I haven't seen the same flights since - and sometimes nothing is available at all....so buy it when they are available - cause you can never tell if and when the same flights will be available again.
     
  8. mkmommy

    mkmommy DIS Veteran

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    I just came back from an Airmiles flight to Orlando. They seem to use Westjet now, and the fees are getting out of hand. It was $227 for taxes and fees, plus the 1800+ points from Toronto. I work close to Pearson so it was nice leaving after work and getting into Orlando by midnight, but the value is certainly not there when you can get a flight for almost the same price and save your points out of Buffalo. I booked in April for a Novermber trip and I could not get flights back on Sunday so I had to adjust my trip to return on Monday, so book early for the best times, if you are not flexible.


    If it was not for the good annual travel insurance plan they offer I would be done with Airmiles as the value for flights is not there anymore, fees are just too high.
     
  9. DisneyRookie2007

    DisneyRookie2007 DIS Veteran

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    Taxes and fees from Moncton is approx $190 - but not direct - always have to pass through Toronto or Montreal. I find that price acceptable - the issue I have is that the flights offered are never ideal...either I depart @ 530am or take a later flight and get in @ 1130 pm.
     
  10. CdnCarrie

    CdnCarrie DIS Veteran

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    Remember you can also use Airmiles for redeeming of WDW, Univeral and Sea World passes plus car rentals.

    Or you book a WDW package with Marlin Travel and redeem with vouchers from Air Miles.

    Price it all out first and see if it's best use of Air Miles for flights or other parts of the trip.
    With the taxes on the flights I sometimes find it better to get a seat sale or fly from the U.S. and pay for the package with Marlin then use the miles for flights.

    Either which way I Love Air Miles!
     
  11. Tinkershelly

    Tinkershelly <font color=royalblue>DisneyWorld trip winner!<br>

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    Aaah, I hoped someone would chime in about the taxes and fees. We booked with Continental/United points for flights in September and paid $50 each for the Halifax-Orlando flights but $5 each for the Orlando-Halifax flights. I'm not as keen to pay $200 each. :scratchin

    And can anyone confirm that I will have to use Westjet ro Air Canada? I'm not a fan of connecting through Montreal or Toronto, we prefer to utilize US customs pre-clearance here in Halifax, not needing to deal with that and reclearing security in the middle of our flights.

    Thanks for all your information, it really helps me think things through. :wave2:
     
  12. sechelt

    sechelt Mouseketeer

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    I'm on the opposite coast but when we went to book to DL, we were given options of WJ or United. AC wasn't even mentioned. The United fees and taxes were less by about half but weren't direct flights. We opted to pay the higher amounts to have a direct flight.

    To me, AM is still the way to go. I'm able to get the flights I want, when I want, without lurking on the airlines' websites, waiting for sales, hoping for seats. I've used AM for Hawaii, Orlando, and DL. Driving to the U.S. for flights isn't an option for us.
     
  13. mkmommy

    mkmommy DIS Veteran

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    As of right now I don't think Air Canada is an option for Airmiles flights.

    In 2011 I used Airmiles for a flight to Barcelona and got an Air Canada direct flight, so it was great. When I tried to book a flight last week to Barcelona, only Lufthansa flights were an option, so I used my miles to book flights to Vancouver and only Westjet was an option.
     
  14. tgropp

    tgropp DIS Veteran

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    I plan to book seven flights at Christmas time next year. It will cost 2350 airmiles each for that time of year (with the 25% discount) so the $225 in taxes fees are not bad considering that flights usually cost around $800.00.......but I know what you mean when you say that fees are getting out of hand as if you fly at other times of the year you can get flights out of the U.S. can be had for $275-$325.00 so I would never use airmiles for that
     
  15. mkmommy

    mkmommy DIS Veteran

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    Just remember every year they increase the points needed for rewards too. I always seem to have enough points and then when my booking window opens up the amount needed has gone up and I am short miles.
     
  16. DisneyRookie2007

    DisneyRookie2007 DIS Veteran

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    For my dates (Feb 24 - Mar 3), and from my departure airport (Moncton or Halifax), the only option I have is Air Canada.
     
  17. DisneyRookie2007

    DisneyRookie2007 DIS Veteran

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    I believe the only option for Airmiles is WJ or AC - and I have not ever seen a connection through the USA - but perhaps this depends on where you are flying from :confused3
     
  18. myzel

    myzel Mouseketeer

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    We always fly in and out of Saint John, via Toronto or Montreal on Air Canada. Its just easier but you do have to book early. There is also a code share option to book other Air Lines with Air Miles but the cost goes up quickly. I look at booking out of Bangor with Air Miles and it wasn't worth it, too many points.
     
  19. Tinkershelly

    Tinkershelly <font color=royalblue>DisneyWorld trip winner!<br>

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    Thanks for the good information in this discussion. I'll certainly check out the flights when the booking window opens but it looks more and more like I'll use the miles for other things and pay cash for the flights.

    Ironic that the best use for Air Miles is not booking flights. :rotfl2:
     
  20. SplashMom

    SplashMom I have a whole new perspective on life!

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    We've used airmiles several times to fly from Halifax-Orlando...sometimes on Westjet and sometimes on AC. Last year we flew AC and had a direct flight which was wonderful. We also had a direct flight from YHZ-MCO on Westjet a few years back. I usually start checking as soon as the flights become available and the direct flight was there. The taxes and fees are high but much lower than the cost of the flight, especially at March break which is when we usually travel.
     
  21. SunshineCruiser

    SunshineCruiser Mouseketeer

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    We have used them, but have only had luck when we booked almost a year in advance. This time we booked 4 months out and could only get one way flights. It is always difficult though because we need 5 seats for our family.

    Even with the fees, if you work out how much your miles are worth comparing the miles to dollars ratio you are way further ahead using your miles for flights as opposed to any other tickets or merchandise. Off hand I can't remember the exact dollar ratio, but what I mean is that say you need to use 1500 Air miles for an airline ticket that you would pay $500 for (before taxes and fees) directly from the airline, then you would need more than 1500 Air miles for say a camera that you would pay $500 for in a store.

    I'm sure Air miles would much rather if you used your miles for merchandise as opposed to flights as they are paying out less. They certainly make it easier to redeem them for merchandise. You really need to do the math - it is a big difference. I would never use miles for anything but flights.

    Also the fees you pay for the airline tickets are fees that you also have to pay if you buy your tickets directly from say west jet or air canada. They are fees for fuel surcharges and taxes - they are not fees that go the Air Miles company.

    I hope I explained clearly, but don't take my word for it do the math yourself. Do a google search there are websites that walk you through the calculations to figure out what your miles are worth depending on what you are cashing them in for. :teacher:
     

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