My award booking service is all about helping clients effectively use their points to realize their family vacations, romantic getaways, business trips, or anything in between. The goal is always to find a combination that best blends schedule, points required, and out-of-pocket spend to create the best itinerary available. Sometimes that itinerary is perfect, sometimes it is not, but after redeeming 1m+ miles each week for the last 2.5 years, I know this: award space waits for no man.
For several months I have highlighted the plentiful award space offered on Aer Lingus on flights between Boston and Dublin. Aer Lingus routinely released at least nine award seats on every flight (two daily flights to/from Dublin during the warmer months) and I have booked many family vacations that include these flights. Not only is Aer Lingus a very respectable airline, this route marks one of the best uses (if not the best use) of British Airways Avios, where a round-trip in economy class is only 25K Avios and business class (with much sparser availability) is 50K Avios round-trip. Aer Lingus is also bookable through United Airlines for 60K r/t for economy–not a great deal, but another option for those with only United points.
It just seemed so odd that while most carriers highly restricted space during the busy summer travel months, Aer Lingus made boatloads of seats available nearly every day of the week. Too good to be true indeed, as Aer Lingus has now pulled all space between May 01 and December 31. This is not a computer glitch, because the dates are precise and availability is plentiful once again for travel in 2014.
At least two of my clients who were deciding on dates will now have to fly on BA via London instead, for more miles and a hefty fuel surcharge (or just buy tickets on Aer Lingus). Both options are not ideal.
Award space is dynamic and often unpredictable. I did not see this coming, but it reinforces my longstanding advice–if something looks good, take it–do not wait for the “perfect” itinerary or you may find yourself with an even less ideal itinerary or nothing at all. The modest change fees for modifying or cancelling award tickets (as opposed to United revenue tickets) should not be a concern, but rather viewed as an insurance policy. I see it multiple times per week–when you wait, you will often find yourself disappointed.