Is time on my side?
January 19, 2010 3:09 AM   Subscribe

Planning on booking a flight from Honolulu to Philly (round-trip) for March 20-21 using United miles. What's the latest I can/should make reservations?
posted by the NATURAL to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
If you don't care too much about seat choice then 3 to 4 weeks seems to be about the sweet spot as far as getting the lowest price. But you can always set up a fare notification way in advance (e.g. using Bing travel or a comparable service) and it will notify you when your selected fare goes up or down.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:15 AM on January 19, 2010

Best answer: (He's looking to travel on miles, not dollars...)

This is the low season for travel to Hawaii, and it won't really pick back up until May. If you're not concerned about seat specifics, you'll probably still be able to get an award seat a week before. But if you're hard-wired to a particular date or REALLY need that aisle seat, 2-3 weeks is a safer bet.

IANATABIHFIH. (I am not a travel agent, but I have family in Hawaii.)
posted by somanyamys at 5:45 AM on January 19, 2010

Best answer: You can just call United and ask them what's available as of today. Specifically, ask how many seats using miles are available. That way, if there are 5 seats, then that tells you you need to book ASAP. If there are 10 seats, then you probably have a bit of leeway.

I don't have many United miles, but on AA, where most of my miles are, you can hold seats for a couple of days at no charge. If you don't confirm by then, the seats are released.

Another useful tip: if they first tell you no frequent flyer seats are available, ask them to check alternate routings (i.e. Philly, Denver, San Francisco, Hawaii, or Philly, Chicago, Hawaii, or Philly, Baltimore, San Francisco, Hawaii). I find that if I push the agent on the phone line a little harder, I can find a seat eventually even if they first say no. You have to be flexible though.
posted by HeyAllie at 8:44 AM on January 19, 2010

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