If you follow my blog at all, you’ll know that I’m a miles and points junkie. I’ve written numerous times about how our family uses points and miles to get expensive flights and hotels for very little money out of pocket.
As a points and miles junkie, I’m pretty familiar with how to book awards and travel. I’ve always been able to find flights for our family of four to go back and forth to the US, but it helps that we tend to have a lot of flexibility with our schedule. When you’re looking for very specific dates, it can sometimes be harder to use your miles to book award travel.
This is when an award booking service can come in extremely handy. What they do is take a look at all the miles and points that you have and then piece together a complex itinerary to get you where you want to go for the miles you want to spend. For this, they take a booking fee that usually ranges from about $125 – $200. If they cannot find flights or you are not happy with the schedule, you owe nothing.
In my case, I had to book a flight to the United States on short notice and with relatively specific dates. I went to all the airline sites to check for direct flight options in business class (how I prefer to spend my miles for the better value) and nothing came up for the dates I wanted. The return flight was the most problematic with no seats in business or even coach for the dates I needed. After spending the better part of a day searching, I turned to the MileValue Award booking service whom I had read about before.
I filled out their online form – specifying my date ranges, preferred travel class, points balances and other preferences. I also specified that I preferred to use some of my 600,000+ US Airways miles over the lower balance miles I had on other airlines and that the bookings should be at the low-level award requirements. Within 8 hours I had a response and by the next morning I had an itinerary:
- Buenos Aires to Miami: first class on American Airlines (my first international first class!)
- Miami to Charlotte: first class on US Airways
- Charlotte to Boston: first class on US Airways
- Boston to Washington: first class on US Airways
- Washington to Miami: first class on US Airways
- Miami to São Paulo: business class on TAM
- São Paulo to Buenos Aires: business class on Qatar
Tariq at MileValue confirmed that the dates worked, let me know about an 8 hour layover in São Paulo and asked for my approval to book. I confirmed and by that evening I had my tickets! I then sent my payment for their services via PayPal.
That is an itinerary that I would never have been able to piece together myself! And, the best part is it only cost 125,000 US Airways miles plus $255 in taxes and fees (including a $75 fee for booking less than 21 days in advance).
I’d estimate that this is a $6,000 – $7,000 flight that I got for 125,000 miles and $380. That gives me a value of almost 5 cents per mile – an extremely high redemption value considering I only paid 1.13 cents for the miles during a US Airways share miles promotion.
I could not have been happier with their service, and I’d highly recommend them!