According to this www. abc2news.com report, it might be difficult to book the award flights at the lower mileage levels. The report tells about a guy, Larry, who wants to cash in 30,000 frequent flier miles for a ticket to Maui. The trouble is the airline tells him that there are no 30,000 mile seats available, however he could book a seat with 60,000 miles. I can understand his frustration.
An investigation by the Wall Street Journal is referenced in this article and here is an interesting excerpt:
Now, a new investigation by the Wall Street Journal says this is the norm, not the exception.
The newspaper tried to book dozens of frequent flier seats on all the major airlines.
For Hawaii, the Journal found no seats at standard 35,000 mile level, but plenty for 70,000 miles.
The article goes on to conclude with this good advice:
Bottom line: If you’re trying to use miles to get to a popular vacation spot during a popular time, you may not be able to get seats at the lowest level of miles.
Be flexible in destinations and time of travel….so you Don’t Waste your Money.