I did a post awhile back on Booking Award Flights – patience and flexibility.
Well I needed patience and flexibility this week as I planned our March break trip to Florida.
I learned many things looking up flights this week that will help me in the future booking these free flights.
These distances came up the most in looking up Avios usage.
DTW – PHL/CLT/DCA/NYC – 4500 Avios one way (Reads Detroit – Philadelphia or Charlotte or Washington,DC or New York City)
DTW – MIA – 10,000 Avios one way.
PHL or NYC or DCA or CLT – MIA – 7500 one way
So from this example if I want to fly directly to Miami from Detroit it will be 10,000 Avios x 4 flights = 40,000 Avios x both ways (2) = 80,000 Avios.
Those flights are hard to find, so I need a connecting flight out of PHL/CLT/DCA or NYC. So now I need to go DTW/CLT = 4500 then CLT/MIA = 7500 = 12,000 x 4 flights = 48,000 Avios x both ways (2) = 96,000 Avios.
That is a 16,000 Avios difference or almost 1 full round trip flight to Florida!
So I started to think of ways of reducing the number of Avios used to get to Florida.
Last year we flew out of Cleveland to Miami and that was 15,000 Avios x 4 = 60,000 Avios total – which is great but we don’t want to drive to Cleveland again.
Hmmm…can I possibly make my second flight shorter? Like can I make the flight from either Charlotte/Philly/NYC or Washington,DC to Florida shorter? YES. Will it make a difference? YES.
Here is the thing. We stay in the Tampa area. When we land in Miami, it is a 4+ hour drive to Tampa.
It’s not fun after a flight. trust me.
So then I think, “What about Northern Florida” If I am driving 4 hours anyway, why don’t I look up flights landing in Orlando or Daytona Beach or Jacksonville?
For the sake of keeping it brief I’ll use Jacksonville as the example.
NYC – JAX – 9000 Avios (need connecting flight from Charlotte)
PHL – JAX – 7500 Avios
Washington DC – JAX – 4500 Avios
Charlotte, NC – JAX – 4500 Avios
Part of the “trick” here is to get as far as you can on the least amount of Avios.
For us in the Detroit area, Charlotte, NC is the “sweet spot”
That is as far as we can go on one flight using 4500 Avios.
Charlotte – JAX is 4500, but also to Orlando is 4500, Tampa is 4500, West Palm Beach is 4500, Ft. Lauderdale is 4500 – Miami is 7500.
That little distance – Miami to Ft. Lauderdale – 30 miles makes a huge difference.
It is 3000 Avios one way for one person. Times that by a family of 4 both ways. That is 24,000 total Avios difference.
In short, you can save a free flight or two by looking at a map and having some patience and flexibility.
Scenario 1. Detroit – Charlotte – Ft. Lauderdale = 9000 Avios x 4 x 2 ways = 72,000 Avios used.
Scenario 2. Detroit – Charlotte – Miami = 12,000 Avios x 4 x 2 ways = 96,000 Avios used.
Saved 24,000 Avios.
Researching this took both PATIENCE and FLEXIBILITY.