Bucket List Planner
This seems like such a simple question that should have a simple answer, but it really doesn't have just one answer. That is because of the natural ebbs and flows of air traffic demand.
Best bets for Getting Direct Flights
So, there will be entry price seats available at the very beginning of the window or milage availability. And there will always be a few direct flights available. The different airlines have different start dates for availability. Most are around 330 days. Your first step is to choose your travel dates and then mark your calendar and plan to look on day one. Many airlines allow you to hold your reservations for a day, a week or some as long as 30 days. If you know where and when you want to go, the earlier you reserve your flights though milage, the more likely you will get the itinerary that you want.
Best bets for Getting Low "cost" Flights with Miles
So, this is an interesting one. Sometimes there will be just a few low milage options available. This is a reality when it comes to air miles. Why do I say it's interesting? Because you can often get a first class flight for the same miles as most coach flights if you are aggressive about booking right away. Again, the trick on getting your cheapest milage flights is to get them early. There is no reason for the airline to add many of these into the mix. And there are not that many first class seats to begin with.
What if you don't get flights with miles early?
How and when to Adjust the Dates of Travel