Wondering where to go with all those frequent flyer miles? If you know where to look, the airlines will help you choose flights with seats readily accessible to mileage program members.
In response to the outcry from mileage collectors frustrated by the lack of available award seats, the airlines are attempting to steer program members in the direction of flights which are good prospects for would-be award travelers, both by listing destinations with plenty of empty seats (hot spots) and by discounting award flights to lower-demand destinations.
Some of these flights are running just half-full for good reason: they're dogs. Winnipeg in February? Thanks, but no thanks.
But among the throwaways are some real gems. Following are five award destinations the airlines are promoting for the coming month that merit special attention and are well worth your miles.
(While not all airlines currently offer these lists, the suggestions of those that do should be a fairly good proxy for award availability on other airlines.)
The top five picks for February 2008:
1. Aspen, CO
For skiers and snowboarders, there are few cooler winter destinations than Aspen, where the snow is plentiful and the after-ski activities are hot, hot, hot.
If you crave time on the slopes, or around the lodge fireplace, United has award seats on its Aspen flights.
2. Savannah, GA
From the website of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau: "Hip and historic, robust and refined, Savannah is where you'll find amazing architecture, spooky cemeteries and rich history—along with global sophistication, funky nightlife and fabulous food."
If that sounds intriguing, both United and US Airways have award seats to the country's first planned city.
3. The Hawaiian Islands
Snowbound in the Midwest or Northeast? A trip to Hawaii may be just the ticket to fight the February chill.
American has award seats on its Honolulu flights. United is showing availability on flights to Kahului on the island of Maui, Kona on Hawaii, and Lihue on Kauai.
4. Dublin, Ireland
Already been to London? Want to try something similar, but decidedly different?
With its traditional pubs and vibrant music and arts scenes, Dublin, Ireland, is both slightly off the beaten track and eminently accessible.
American and US Airways are standing by to fly you there.
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina
And for those whose tastes run more to the Latin (think tango) than to the European, Buenos Aires is featured on American's hot list of award destinations.