Award Booking Services

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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 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)
  • Travis from Extra Pack of Peanuts charges $150 for the first passenger and $50 for each additional person.
  • Award Advocate charges $75 per person for domestic awards, $100 for international award tickets including multiple stop and open jaws, and $125 for complex itineraries including 3 or more destinations.

Here’s a link to a FlyerTalk & MilePoint thread discussing award booking services and candid experiences using the services.

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.

Bottom Line

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.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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1 year ago

I’m posting this because I have seen a number of responses on different blogs and sites where the results were less than spectacular, and for those people who really want to feel comfortable with their choice, the more info the better. My results were better than I ever expected!

I had a last minute window open up at work so my wife and I could get over to Thailand for my brother’s 60th birthday celebration.

I have a paid ExpertFlyer account and thought it might have been fairly easy to do myself, but after looking for 2-3 hours a day for 3 days ,I was getting frustrated. I’m president of a software and payments company, super busy right now with the new year on us, and with just a couple of weeks to put it all together I decided to reach out to a service rather than do it myself. So I started searching for info about booking services and found this post.

I have read, envied, and admired ‘Lucky’ for a few years now as I have been learning more about points, miles and award travel, and so it’s that familiarity and confidence in Ben’s experience, along with this TPG mention that helped me decide to go with PointsPros.

I signed up as a member on the PointsPros website (not required, but I will definitely maintain it) and was contacted almost immediately by Tiffany to review my itinerary and goals. Tiffany then sent me an introductory email to me and Jordan, my PointsPros rep, and within 24 hours Jordan already had several options in front of me.

I was initially thinking I had no choice other than a JFK departure which would mean another segment for us to get from Maryland to JFK the night before travel. But Jordan was able to put together an amazing Business Class itinerary for us leaving from BWI which is just a 20 min drive from my home in Columbia MD. That alone saved us about $800 in flights/meals/hotel had we been forced to leave from JFK!

Jordan guided me through several points transfers and even booked the tickets for us. I know some of the sites just find the availability for you and then you still have to do all the booking, but what I got from Jordan and PointsPros was really concierge-class service, with end-to-end bookings, and tickets in hand within a couple of days.

My brother is blown away that we will be able to join him and his friends and family in Thailand, and it’s thanks to Tiffany, Ben, Jordan especially, and the whole PointsPros team that we will be riding in the front of the bus the whole trip! #frontofthebus 🙂