I just bought my ticket!! I am paying the most I have ever paid - $1868.45 flying into Milan and out of Zurich. It was about $60.00 cheaper last weekend, but I missed that boat on that "great deal". I have a 24 hour window where I can still cancel my ticket. I am not good at making firm decisions and like to have my options open.
I have been try to get a ticket using my miles for months now, but only the higher rate mileage awards have been available, which means 60,000 miles each way and this is only for the back of the bus type of seat. It would be 120,000 miles each way for business first. Right now, I only have 99,000 miles.
A couple of hours after my ticket purchase, I went back onto the Continental website just for kicks to see what would happen if I tried to use my miles, wondering if I could purchase one way and use miles one way. I was surprised to find out that I can indeed purchase a ticket using my miles if I pay for the additional 21,000 miles I need. This would only cost me $733.70 in total including tax and fees. So now, new decision, and I only have less than 24 hours to decide. Keep my ticket and earn more miles or wipe out my miles completely and get a great rate.
I also thought of trying to upgrade to business first instead with a paid ticket, but the office to do this is not open on the weekend - risking that 24 hour window decision and it costs $300.00 each way plus miles to upgrade which is not helping with the cost. In addition, because I am not elite, I would not find out until the last minute if I even got any portions of my flight upgraded.
Then there's the whole talk of Continental and United merging, which makes me a little nervous. It also makes me wonder what the chances of using miles will be if they combine airlines. I am hoping that they do not merge. I (knock on wood) never have to wait in a long to check in when flying out of Honolulu but the lines for United are always a nightmare. I am going to check out FlyerTalk to see what the talk is on the merge.
Meanwhile I am thinking of all the advantages there are if I use my miles. Besides the low cost of the ticket, I would be able to rationalize better hotel rooms and perhaps a few days longer in Italy. I would not have the restriction of flying on a Saturday/Sunday for a higher cost. I could still buy that new Canon DSLR camera I have been dreaming about. It is like having $1134.75 extra free money to spend!
Italy...here I come!!!
**UPDATE: Decison made - I went the miles route and I still have 798 miles left!