When Mileage Award Booking Is Too Hard to Handle

Reader sarah asked,

Is there a service which can assist in arranging a multi-city vacation in Europe using [American Express Membership Rewards points] and American miles… air and hotel. Appears to be too complex for my computer skills.

Funny Sarah should ask this!

I happen to have an award booking service. Lest you think I’m about to get all commercial on you, it’s probably worth mentioning that I do not write about it very often although there’s a link to it on the left hand side of the blog.

Working to help folks redeem literally billions of miles is one major source of knowledge and experience I use in writing this blog.

My approach is that you don’t ever pay unless we’re able to secure an award that meets agreed-upon parameters for the trip. We only like to happy happy customers, and love to help folks navigate the world of miles and points.

But I give away most of my knowledge here on the blog (which is to say that there’s no charge to read the blog, though at a bare minimum unless you’re using ad blocking software I do make money on the ads). Frankly most of the business has come from media attention, such as being named one of Conde’ Nast Traveler‘s world’s top travel specialists (2010 – Present) plus writeups in the New York Times as well as USA Today and elsewhere.

We’re happy to have a look at pretty much any award challenge, the way to get started is to fill out the booking request form linked on the BookYourAward.com website.

Now, Sarah asks about hotels. I’m always happy to provide advice, but we aren’t a full service travel agency and only consult on airline awards. Hotels just aren’t difficult to reserve for the most part the way that airline tickets can be. (Most hotel programs have adopted a ‘no capacity controls’ approach to reward nights, meaning that if a standard room is available at the hotel you can get that on points.)

I’m not sure whether the other services deal with hotel bookings, it’s certainly not a part of their standard offerings. Book Your Award isn’t the only service out there, and I much respect the products that Points Pros (Lucky of One Mile at a Time‘s service) and Matthew Klint offer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. How might someone get involved in award booking? I enjoy the puzzle aspect of putting awards together, but I have more awards in my head than I have vacation time to take. Since getting involved with this hobby, I’ve thought that it might be an entertaining side job.

  2. hmmmm. “Lest you think I’m about to get all commercial on you”. Really. This was all commercial. Sell out

  3. @SAaaa – do share what you mean by my being a sell out? I’m (1) answering a reader question (2) rarely mentioning my own award booking service, and (3) only doing so in the context of mentioning others’ services as well. On my own freakin’ blog. Geez. 😉

  4. Regarding the award booking of hotels, no one ever seems to mention the useful site of useaamiles.com. Here you can book hotels and car rentals all over the world with your AAdvantage miles. Logging in will show you the best prices (in miles).

    I realize it won’t be the very best value for cashing in miles, but if you have the extra miles and not the extra cash it can be useful. I just used it for two rooms in Paris for our first night there since my flat rental couldn’t easily accommodate my late evening arrival on the Eurostar.

  5. hi Gary, I did use your service but ended the service after booking our outbound flight. I learn so much from your blog but the representative is not as seasoned. In addition, the representative has given me a big problem by entered a wrong (not misspelled) last name for one of my traveling companion using Avios to book on CX. I was told by the representative that the change was initiated but it has been 2 days shy of two months and change has not taken place yet. Any ideas or suggestions? Would we be forced to purchase a new ticket if the last name is not corrected by travel date? I am quite worried, please help.

  6. Any good services that put together both flights and hotels?

    We’ve got a specific window to vacation (Christmas break), want to make it to Asia but don’t have a specific destination in mind, have plenty of points, but don’t want to put together a bunch of possible itineraries.

  7. @Sandy as long as name is close, what matters is that the secure flight information is entered correctly. Agents make errors when typing in a name no matter how careful you are spelling out names and verifying. And with partner tickets (other than AA-issued oneworld tickets) that usually cannot be changed. But it’s fine for travel. That’s without looking at your issue specifically but happy to do so if you’d like.

  8. @Gary, Is the secure flight information something I need to contact BA to have it entered? Here’s a little background on the name situation. My children’s last is my husband’s last hyphen my last name. Instead of just using my husband’s name for his ticket, my children’s last name was used for his ticket. So on his ticket, his full name is on it but followed by my last name. I’d greatly appreciate it if you can take a look at my issue. I will compose an email to you so
    I don’t have to disclose our full names in the bloc arena.

  9. @Gary, thank you for your offer in looking at my situation! How do I ensure the correct name is in the secure flight information? The agent used my daughter’s last name for my husband’s name on his ticket. I will compose an email and send it to your viewfromthewing.com address. Thank you!!

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