[Disclosure: I receive nothing for the links to the award booking services in this post.]
Using An Award Booking Service
Earning miles and points is really easy.
But using the miles and points to book trips can be time consuming and tricky!
Not all airlines make it as easy as Southwest to redeem miles or points for award seats. Most airlines have different types of award seats which cost different amounts of miles, different award routing rules, and different alliance and non-alliance partners with whom you can book award seats.
There are ways to search for airline availability on partner airlines by using tools such as ExpertFlyer, AwardNexus, the ANA website, the KVS tool, or my guide to booking awards with American Airlines miles. But it takes time to figure out how to use them. And then you have to actually call the airline and feed them the flights segment by segment and have them book the award for you.
All this can take hours to complete.
I love the thrill of piecing together my awards, setting ExpertFlyer alerts and calling the airlines, but not everyone does! And it can be frustrating when you can’t use the miles to get to the places you want to go.
USING Award Booking Services
But you don’t always have to book your own award tickets!
An award booking service usually charges ~$100 to $150 per ticket when they successfully book for you. This fee includes presenting you with options and calling the airlines to book the flights.
And you DO NOT pay until you are satisfied with the flights which they find for you. So it never hurts to ask an award booking service for help since there is usually no cost to asking!
Paying a $100 to $150 fee is often worthwhile because an experienced award booker can save you:
- Time – Because they are familiar with the best routings and do the research for you
- Miles – Award bookers usually suggest seats at the lowest mileage level so you should always consider using an award booking service before paying double the mileage cost to get an award seat
- Money – If you’re frustrated using miles and willing to pay cash for a flight, an award booking service can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Award bookers can also save you the taxes and fees on certain awards, by proposing alternative flights.
Check out these 6 tips to get the most of your award booking service experience.
Award Booking Services
Readers often ask me if I will book award tickets for them for a fee, but I’ve never had the time to offer award booking services. I’d rather forgo the money than have an award booking service where quality suffers because I don’t have the time to devote to it.
I usually tell readers that since there is usually no cost to emailing an award booking service to ask for help, it doesn’t hurt to send them ALL an email with your request and choose the service which has the best customer service.
Always double check and confirm prices before choosing a service.
- The Book Your Award service is run by Gary who blogs at View From the Wing and his partner Steve Belkin. They charge $150 per passenger.
- The MileValue award booking service is run by Scott and he blogs extensively on award bookings at MileValue. He charges $125 per passenger, but the fee may be higher as awards like Explorer Awards costs more.
- The Points Pros award booking service is run by Ben (Lucky) who blogs at One Mile at a Time. They charge $200 for the 1st passenger and $100 for each additional passenger.
- The UPGRD award booking service is run by the bloggers at Upgrd and they charge $150 for the 1st passenger and $100 for each additional passenger.
- The Award Magic booking service charge $139 per person for one-way and domestic awards and $249 per person for complicated awards (3 or more destinations, RTW, or Explorer Awards)
- Other bloggers also offer award booking services such as Bryce from Point me to the Miles ($100 – discounts available for one ways and domestic awards) and Ari from First Class and Beyond ($250 per passenger)
- Justin from We Fly Free charges $149 for the first passenger
- Travis from Extra Pack of Peanuts charges $150 for the first passenger and $50 for each additional person.
I’ll post a reader’s experience in a few days, but there is a lot of variability in the service provided (even from the same service), likely because of time and other commitments.
Award booking services can save you time, miles, money, and frustration when it comes time to book your award tickets.
You usually don’t pay anything for asking an award booking service for a suggestion, so it doesn’t hurt to see if an award booking service can make it easier to book an award. If you do use an award booking service, check out these 6 tips from an anonymous reader to get the most value from your award booking service.
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 8,500+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!