With an unknown departure date, we're going to roll the dice and fly on stand-by to get to Bolivia. There's one flight a day on American from Miami to La Paz, so we'll cross our fingers and hope they have two extra seats for us. If we can't get on we can always try the other daily flight to Lima.
We were able to book a flight using miles, from Lima Peru to San Francisco for both of us and for a total of only 35,000 miles and $80! This booking wasn't without incident however...took us three calls to find a competent enough agent to help us. Booking an international ticket on miles is often tricky if you are trying to use one of the airline's alliance partners - for some reason (maybe to make it more difficult to use your miles?) call center agents can't do a search for mileage ticket availability across multiple partner carriers at once. We often find ourselves in these situations since the partner carriers often have better flight options for our destinations. If we hadn't explicitly asked the agent to book us on LAN from Lima to Los Angeles and American from Los Angeles to San Francisco, we would have ended up on American all the way and gone from Lima to Miami to San Francisco...a nice 8+ hour detour.
Although it can take a lot of work on your end, you can make mileage tickets go very far for international travel...get to it if you want to use them!
We continue to "negotiate" the itinerary...Juli wants to visit the Amazon, Todd wants to visit the silver mines of Bolivia...and unfortunately we have a very small time window for this trip...we'll each be doing some reading on Bolivia and Peru and return to negotiation table soon.