With airfares soaring to new highs every week, that vacation getaway is getting more expensive all the time.
That's why so many people use credit cards that build up frequent flier miles. But unfortunately, that free trip is getting more and more out of reach.
Many destinations now $400
If you are trying to get away this spring or summer, you know that fares are higher than ever, with $250 flights now $400 to many destinations.
But if you try to use frequent flier miles, don't expect much help: The Wall Street Journal says standard 25,000 mile seats are all but impossible to find this year.
The Journal tested dozens of popular routes in popular cities like Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Los Angeles, and New York. It found Delta, United/Continental, and American all required either 37,000, 40,000 or 50,000 miles for a free basic coach seat. That used to get you a business or first class seat.
Doesn't that stink?
So from the "doesn't that stink" file, the one-two punch which explains why standard level frequent flier seats are all but gone.
Airlines have cut excess capacity in recent years, resulting in more packed planes. More packed planes mean fewer seats for mileage holders. Doesn't that stink?
On top of that, high fares mean hundreds of fliers are now competing for the same two or three free seats per flight.
One other option
What can you do? If you are planning a big vacation, try booking as far in advance as allowed, usually just under a year before your flight.
One other suggestion: If the only flight available with your miles is at a bad time or with stops, go ahead and book it, and put your name on a wait list for the flight you want.
That way there's a chance you'll get the nonstop, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Consumer Headlines
Microsoft says more than 2 million of its Xbox One consoles have been sold since the system's launch 18 days ago.