A Neat Little Trick
One of my favorite uses of miles is to book last minute trips. While award availability is generally good at the last minute, there is often a better flight that is not available with miles.
Today is a good example of that. I am traveling last minute to Dallas so I can ride some roller coasters! Since my wife was my only ride to the airport, I had to get here at 8:45am. Unfortunately the earliest flight that I could book with miles departs at 1:40pm.
While the American Express Centurion Lounge here in McCarran is really really nice, I wouldn’t mind getting to Dallas a little earlier then scheduled.
I am using British Airways miles to travel on American Airlines. Dallas is an American Airlines hub and they have several flights a day to/from Las Vegas. When I arrived at the airport, I noticed a flight departing at 12:05pm. That flight has space but is not available with miles.
This whole situation reminded me of a trick I have used several times on American, United & US Airways. If you go to the gate agent or the agent at a lounge, often times they will simply switch you to the earlier flight.
Last year when flying back from Tokyo on United, I had a six hour layover in Los Angeles since only one LAX-LAS flight was available with miles. When I landed, I went right to the agent and was immediately switched to a flight that was already boarding. I did a similar thing in Philadelphia when flying US Airways earlier this year.
In today’s situation, it is unclear whether or not I will get the earlier flight since there isn’t an Admirals Club here. To make the change I have to wait until they open the gate for the flight. American can’t switch my reservation over the phone since I was booked with British Airways, so it will require a last minute change.
Have You Done It
Have you ever used a trick like this to get the better flight? Of course you have to be willing to fly on the later flight, but at least by knowing this information, you may have a shot of getting the flight that you want. Happy flying!