There are many “tricks” to booking award flights — and flights in general. Whether it is transferring to certain partners, or booking over the phone to find “hidden” fares, there are tons of different avenues you can go down to land that perfect deal. Fortunately, as technology increases, and the knowledge around points and miles follows, it is becoming easier and more affordable to book with miles.
As I look ahead to some award travel, I wanted to share the one website that you must use if you intend to book with points. That website is awardhacker.com. This website is a commonplace for all points and miles enthusiasts.
AwardHacker is the go-to site to determine where best to redeem your points. AwardHacker has accumulated airline award chart data (with the exception of Delta) to provide the lowest possible point redemption across all points and miles currencies. It is worth noting that this is particularly useful when you have a bank of one of the 4 transferable points currencies — Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You Points, or SPG StarPoints. While certain airline miles can be redeemed for travel on other partner airlines, you won’t have many other options than that airline’s website when it comes to booking those flights. So if you are sitting on a stack of Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards, the only place to start is AwardHacker. If nothing else, this gives you an idea of where to focus your spending — or what cards to sign up for.
Where to start:
The landing page shows just how simple this tool is. I won’t go step by step here because I think you can figure it out — trial and error. But for the purposes of a quick demonstration, let’s say that I am looking to book a flight with points from Houston, TX to Tokyo, Japan, round-trip in business class…
The categories of selection are pretty straightforward. Because Houston and Tokyo are major markets and airline hubs, 1-stop is plenty, but some markets may not be so easy depending on where you’re routing takes you. That option is something to consider to potentially see a lower price. Depending on your travel time I’d mark “Hide Off-Peak Award,” as you’d hate to be expecting a price that isn’t available.
Based on my selections, the lowest possible price is 85,000 miles on ANA or JAL. I think it is safe to assume most people would have 85,000 Membership Rewards versus 85,000 StarPoints, so we will take a look at the ANA option.
As you can see, AwardHacker will also walk you through exactly how to use your MR points to book on ANA.
Way too many people improperly use their points. Yes, finding these saver level award tickets can be tricky, and take some patience, but there is no reason why everyone can’t do it. The one thing that makes people most successful in points and miles is their knowledge of where those points can take them. AwardHacker makes that process virtually seemless.
If you’ve found yourself reading this article without any travel in mind, I’d recommend just playing around on the site. Start with your “home” airport, and just begin searching cities that you’d like to travel. That “far off” destination might not be so far after all…