In Sunday’s New York Times travel section, Michelle Higgins writes about services that will help you get the most out of your miles.
ANY traveler who has tried to use frequent flier miles for a free ticket knows how frustrating that process can be. On top of the blackout dates and limited availability, there are fees for everything from fuel surcharges to last-minute bookings.
Spotting an opportunity, a handful of frequent flier fanatics are using their expertise to hunt down and book those award seats for you. “When you do this all day you begin to know which routes have availability, and the ins and outs of the computer systems,” said Gary Leff, a mileage hound who started BookYourAward.com about three years ago. Business has been so brisk he recently took on a partner.
The piece shares my advice to pay attention to your reward goals when accumulating miles, different programs do a better job getting you to different destinations on points.
Most people sign up for frequent flier programs and associated credit cards without a thought as to whether it is the best way to earn miles for a particular destination. But if you are willing to plan, Gary Leff, who co-founded the frequent flier site Milepoint.com, can guide you. “I like it when people ask me questions long before they are ready to book so I can steer them in the right direction,” he said, noting that some programs are better than others, depending on the destination. For example, American Airlines is best if you want to use miles to fly to South America, he said. Delta is a good choice for some of the most sought-after awards to places like Australia and Polynesia, thanks to the airline’s partnerships with Virgin Australia, Air France and Air Tahiti Nui, which all accept Delta miles.
Also today in Conde Nast Traveler‘s Perrin Postcard, Wendy Perrin writes about the service as well.
FINDING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO USE YOUR MILES?
I KNOW SOME MILEAGE MAGICIANS WHO CAN HELP
Having trouble redeeming your miles or points to fly where you want, on the dates you want, in the cabin you want, for the minimum possible number of miles/points? Gary Leff, Steve Belkin, and the rest of the team behind BookYourAward.com will find options you probably didn’t know existed and will book your award seats for a fee of $150 per person. I get at least a dozen e-mail messages each month from readers asking me to shoot them the names and contact info for “those guys” who work miracles with mileage-award redemption, so I thought I’d save you an e-mail.