Decided not the wait for the confirmation of my visa and went ahead to take the plunge.
Tickets have been bought for my one way trip on 25 January 2010. And I used 25,000 miles to book a short ski trip to Denver from 27-31 January 2010.
If for some reason something occurs, the downside is minimal: $100 to change the airfare, and 25,000 miles foregone. I think I’d rather that now than wait and pay a potentially higher ticket to Chicago and then shell out an additional couple hundred bucks for the ticket to Denver in lieu of miles.