How to book AAdvantage award flights around a year in advance?

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Hi – I need some advice.  We are planning a trip to Europe next year (2016) – departing MEL or SYD in late April and returning in mid-June.  I’m looking at the current AA promotion and trying to decide if it is realistic to plan to book award flights (we only have around 1 week of flexibility in dates at the start and end of the trip).

Given that award seats are released by date (I think it is 330 days in advance) – how do I go about booking?  Should I book the first leg as soon as seats are released and then 6 weeks later book the return leg?  Or should I wait until I can be certain that there are seats available on both of the dates I want?

  • What’s your intended destination(s) in Europe? And are you looking to fly Business or First?
    Any other constraints in terms of how many seats, family friendly routings etc – basically how flexible are you overall?

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Personally, assuming you have some certainty that award seats will open up on the route and class you are looking for, I would book the outbound first on one ticket, then book the return on a separate ticket once they open up. Worst case scenario you’ll lose the cancellation fees on the first ticket if the return flights don’t open up.

  • thanks Keith – that’s very helpful. Our original destination is Florence – so I imagine we will fly to Paris or Rome and transfer from there (or anywhere with a direct flight that isn’t too long). We will fly home out of Istanbul. We would like to book Business, but would be happy with PE if that’s all that is available. We need 2 seats, which will add to the challenge.

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