One of my favorite things about our hobby is being able to share amazing travel experiences with friends and family.
Booking travel for others using your miles and points can be a wonderful gift! And it’s a great way to help your loved ones enjoy Big Travel they might not otherwise be able to afford.
It’s Easy to Book Travel for Friends and Family!
That’s better than transferring miles or points to your loved ones’ accounts, because airlines and hotels usually charge a fee to do this.
That said, when you book award travel for friends and family (especially folks who don’t travel often), there are a few extra details to keep in mind!
Booking Travel for Others Checklist
1. It’s All in the Details
Before you book award tickets or rooms for your friends and family, make sure you have their personal details (such as full names, dates of birth, passport numbers, etc) correct.
Sometimes when I plan travel for friends or family, I’ll ask them to send me a photo or scan of their passport. That way, I’m sure to have their exact details and proper spelling of their name.
It’s always best to get information in writing!
2. Set Expectations
Your family and friends are probably delighted that you’re booking a trip for them. Maybe you’re sending your parents on an anniversary trip. Or flying in an old friend for a reunion.
But whether they’re seasoned travelers or haven’t flown in years, it’s important to let them know what to expect.
For example, sometimes award flights aren’t the most direct or at the most convenient times. So be sure to make it clear from the beginning (before you book!) that they may not have exactly their pick of dates, times, or even airlines.
And remind your friends that because they’re traveling on award tickets or hotel points, they don’t have identical privileges to those who pay cash for their travel.
For example, let them know that even though they’re traveling, they won’t earn miles or points for their ticket or hotel stay.
3. Lend a Helping Hand
Folks who haven’t flown in years (or ever) might not be used to the idea of e-tickets or online seat selection and check-in. Some of our parents might not have flown since the airlines stopped issuing paper tickets!
It’s a good idea to give them a printed itinerary and instructions for checking-in, printing boarding passes, or checking baggage.
You may have to help your friends with seat selection. And remind the folks you’ve booked for that (most) airlines charge for checked luggage so they’re not surprised at the airport.
4. Be Extra Careful With International Travel
Planning trips abroad can be a little trickier. Consider visa and passport requirements before you suggest an international trip for your friends and family.
Check out my World Travel 101 series for more international travel tips!
5. Follow Up
Once you’ve made travel arrangements for your loved ones, be sure to stay in contact with them before and after the trip.
While frequent travelers take these things for granted, you might want to remind your friends of:
- When to check-in (online) or which terminal they’re flying out of
- How long ahead of time to arrive at the airport
- Baggage restrictions, fees, and prohibited items
- Hotel check-in and check-out times
- Transportation between airport and hotel
- If you have elite status with the hotel chain, whether to expect perks (and what kind)
And it’s always a good idea to make sure you can be reached by phone or email while they’re traveling, in case anything goes wrong.
And after my friends or family have finished a trip, I always follow up with them to see how things went and if there were any issues. I love hearing about their experiences and adventures!
6. Be Ready for More!
Your friends and family have probably heard about your travel adventures and obsession with reward programs (again, and again!).
But they may be so excited about getting Big Travel with Small Money that they’ll want to start collecting miles and points themselves!
This is a great way to introduce others to our hobby. When your friends and family participate it’s more fun and easier to earn miles!
Folks new to miles and points can check out my post on how to start out.
You can help ensure their travels are smooth by:
- Paying attention to details (name spelling, date of birth etc) when you book for them
- Setting expectations
- Helping infrequent travelers with things we take for granted, like online check-in or seat selection
- Paying close attention to international travel requirements
- Following up with your friends and family before and after their trip
I’d love to hear your experiences using miles and points to book travel for others!