Summer 2016 Vacations to Book on Miles Now

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Time to book summer 2016 adventures!

Families that regularly travel using airline miles and hotel points know that advance planning isn’t a “nice to have” attribute, it is virtually a necessity if you want to be able to do truly amazing things with your accumulated rewards.  You can sometimes get lucky with good award availability at the last minute if you like to procrastinate, but generally speaking if you want to travel at peak times with multiple passengers you need to always be planning out into the future.

It is the middle of summer 2015 right now, but that actually means it is time to start not just planning, but start actually making family travel reservations for early summer 2016.  The major airlines have their booking schedules open roughly eleven months in advance, which brings us through mid-June 2016 as of now.  That means you can potentially lock in the flight award reservations you are after for right after the next school year ends.  This may seem like unnecessarily advance planning as you are still enjoying this year’s summer vacations, but trust me you will be so glad you put the effort in now once summer 2015 becomes just another (awesome) memory.

Hawaii Summer 2016 Awards

Some searches I did via United and American for the popular destinations of Hawaii, Orlando, and Europe for early June 2016 showed award availability in both economy and business class on various routes/dates, even when I was searching for a family of four.  In fact, award availability to Hawaii in business class on the 763 from Dallas was unusually good if you happen to be able to travel in very early June.  

Summer 2016 Travel

Obviously I didn’t check every route and every date, but there are multiple award tickets out there for families just waiting to be snagged if you are ready to pull the trigger and start piecing together your summer 2016 award trips.  Since most of the hotel reward programs allow you to book rooms on points 12 months or more in advance you can also go ahead and make many of those hotel award reservations to go along with your award flights.

Summer 2016 Award Flights

If you are planning to use cash or points worth a fixed cash amount for your summer 2016 travel then I don’t necessarily advise making your flight reservations quite yet unless you stumble on a price you are very happy with.  Booking flights very far in advance with cash doesn’t always work out to get you the best deal, though it certainly doesn’t hurt to start tracking airfare now and pounce when it hits a threshold you are happy with.

While you are always much better off when you have some flexibility mixed in with your advance planning, this sort of 11 months out booking is what makes many of us very happy with earning and using miles and points, and is the key that is missing for many others who say that miles are “worthless” because you can never use them to get the flights you want.

Will summer 2016 take you to the beach, mountains, city, or beyond?

Will summer 2016 take you to the beach, mountains, city, or beyond?

I see plenty of flights on miles that I want – the hard part is narrowing down which ones to actually book!  Where is your family headed in summer 2016?

Comments

  1. I usually plan my trip far ahead so I have been looking at June 2016 as well. I have two nights booked at the Radison New York before the Carlson devaluation, so my teenager daughter and I are heading to NYC and probably Boston as well to look at colleges (an excuse maybe). I have yet to figure out where to take the whole family during last week of June as I gave my friend my reserved two-bedroom in Cabo. We cannot take any big trips as we will be going to Hawaii for next Thanksgiving and Mexico for next Christmas (my hotel is reserved already but I will be booking flights as soon as schedule opens!) All my travel next year won’t take me to another continent.

  2. Very true! My trip with United this July 4th holiday (PHL – FRA – AAL (open jaw) CPH – LIS (stopover) LIS – EWR) was fantastic! Can’t wait United opens 2016 July 4th award flights 😉

  3. My wife and I are going to Ireland in March but still looking at mid to late Summer 2016. Not sure where to book. Maybe Hawaii or West Coast USA. I do love Europe though.

  4. My wife and I take our trip the week after school gets out while the kids go to Grandpa and Grandmas. Availability on AA to the Caribbean was great and we locked in Aruba for Memorial week 2016.

  5. Just booked Orlando to Hong Kong on American and Cathay Pacific (Chicago to Hong Kong) yesterday morning for June 12 next year. Actually tried for June 10 when it opened two days earlier, but by time I woke up at 7, someone else had already booked four of six available seats, so planning as early as possible when you want six seats in premium classes on Cathay Pacific is definitely a requirement!
    My wife and I and our four daughters (5 in business, 1 in first) will be flying to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Japan and Beijing (with a little help from Avios) next year for our summer vacation, all thanks to the AA executive card sign up bonuses last year.
    Now I just have to wait for the tickets home to open up!

  6. Sharon, that all sounds really fun!
    me, won’t be long for July 4th travel!
    Dan, can’t ever go wrong with Hawaii in my book. In mid-summer northern Europe might also be a nice respite (depending on whether you are trying to escape heat or flock toward it).
    Lee, that sounds perfect!
    Farnorthtrader, exactly – perfect! Good luck with the returns!

  7. Got 4 nights at two hotels in London before the club Carlson deval for mid July next summer. Taking my wife and 2 year old to a star wars convention. Well, I’m going to the convention, they’ll play in town. Booking on AA with my Alaska miles this week.

  8. We usually take the family vacation in August right before school comes back into session, but yes, already thinking about and planning even though we have yet to go on this year’s August vacation! Also planning early gives you a great sense of the cost ahead of time, which lets us budget for it throughout the year. Usually by the time the vacation rolls around, we’ve already paid for the flights and hotel if necessary, and that makes the vacation that much better!

  9. Just booked my first international trip for next May-June to Paris, Rome and London. I too, booked 4 nights before the Club Carlson devaluation so I had to plan the other days around those days. All other hotels had award availability so now I can concentrate on the other details.

  10. I’ve been searching the United schedule for next summer. We (me, my husband and 2 young kids) plan to go some time in (mid) July so I’m still waiting for July to open up. I’m trying to get us from IAH-SEA (spend a few days there since we’ve never been)-OGG (for about 5-7 days) then back via SNA/SDO/LAX (Laguna Beach for a few days)-IAH. I’m still trying to work out exactly how stopovers work but I have to figure it out within the month. We will use both United miles and Ultimate Rewards miles to fly and hopefully we can use our Starwood points to stay at the St. Regis in Dana Point (Laguna).

    I wasn’t too excited over the Starwood hotels in Maui so I’ll be on the lookout for a really good deal on a hotel in Maui. I don’t have any other hotel points at the moment.

  11. I used Avios to book RT to Hawaii (Oahu & Kauai) from LAX for our family of 3 in late May. When it gets closer, I’ll book some Southwest flights to get us to & from DEN. I like using Avios not only for the points savings but for the ease of cancellations if necessary.

  12. How exciting! We have been looking to use our AA miles to go to Hawaii next summer. What is the best configured business/first class AA flight to Hawaii?

    • Jeff–Summer will have info about AA seats up front but everything I’ve read, there’s not amazing options on Hawaii routes. I have to be thrifty with our miles so 1st is not an option for us but I hope you find something that works! How many seats do you need? Which island(s) & what month? I love Alaska airlines if that is an option for your location. Fun trip!

      • Hi Michelle! Thanks for responding. I have saved up a very large amount of AA miles. We had originally planned to go to New Zealand last summer but my wife got pregnant with twins! With that trip on hold for a few years, we decided it would be fun to use the miles to go to Hawaii and relax with the twins. Would prefer first/biz as they will still be just under 2 and could fly as a lap child. We’ve never been to Hawaii but heard Kauiai was the best. We are in Denver as well, just saw your earlier post! Thanks!

        • twins–wow!! You guys definitely deserve a relaxing vacation! I haven’t been to Kauai yet but I think it would be a great option. We’re going to Oahu & Kauai next summer. I love Oahu but with young twins, I would go for total low key fun in the sun & I bet Kauai would fit the bill. We’ve been to Maui & it’s very “vacationy” & pretty & would be a nice choice, too. Really, you can’t go wrong. Here’s my 2 cents on your situation. If you don’t have to go in the middle of summer, don’t. It’s busy & hot. Late spring or late summer/fall would be great weather & not so many tourists. AA out of Denver is at least 2 flights & a long day. I personally think you would be more comfortable with 4 economy seats rather than 2 lap children. We rented a VRBO condo in Maui & absolutely loved it–perfect for families! You will LOVE Hawaii!! 🙂

          • Thanks for the tips Michelle! Relaxing is what we are going for. Not a fan of “vacationy & touristy” as we are both from Florida and can get that there 😉 We are not opposed to taking a Southwest flight somewhere in order to get a better (more comfortable) flight to Hawaii. We were looking at early May as we could then celebrate our anniversary there.

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