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AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

California
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AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

Please advise! Has anyone used an award booking service such as AwardBookingService.com to fly business class using POINTS?

We are new to the game of flying business or first class using POINTS. My husband has accumulated a ton of points. Now it's time to see how we can book business or first class tickets for our trip. The process of flying using POINTS seems VERY confusing.

We want to fly from San Diego or LAX to Cape Town, South Africa, and flying via London seems like the best plan, with a possible overnight or 2 in London. We normally just fly coach, but this will be the furthest we've ever flown. I'm a poor flyer, suffering from claustrophobic anxiety, etc. So flying business or first class would help a lot.

We love to travel. I HATE HATE HATE airports, security lines, feeling trapped on a plane, etc. The more comfortable the flight, with distracting movies, meals, and roomy seats, the calmer I am able to fly. Don't need any advice about meds, please, I have my doc for that. (-;

British Airways seems like our top choice so far?

Sorry I'm confused about this process. My husband has been in charge of accumulating the points, mainly through credit card programs, etc.

This will be the furthest we've ever flown, and the first time we've ever tried to fly business or first class with points. Thanks for any help.

What do you think about using an award booking service?

UK
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11. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

A bit too Machiavellian for someone who has multiple hundred posts.

GIven the complications for someone who seems to get easily flustered this might be worthwhile, however I'd personally be exceptionally wary of giving all that was required such as ff scheme logins and so on, to a third party,.

First of all, start with hard facts, who are the points with (airlines and credit cards). Write it down.

Then, look at the credit card schemes. Which scheme can you transfer those points to - thats how it works, you'd transfer, say your Amex points to a frequent flyer scheme where you want to use them. Dont transfer any yet!

.

Next, what availability is there with the airlines with whom you might have points - you cannot usually just 'buy' any old flight it depends how many seats are available.

IF as said above you post the basic facts such as which schemes, how many miles or points, people can give you advice.

Boston...
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12. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

I'm not sure what credit card you have, but if it is not airline specific, like a Capital One Venture One or Chase Freedom, generally you book the tickets directly on the credit card website under the rewards section. I think both redemption sites are powered by Travelocity so it is pretty straight forward redeeeming the points actually. Don't pay anyone unless you are trying to rack up more points haha.

Seattle, Washington
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13. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

OP - I think since you have provided so very little information, even failing to name the alliance in which you have accumulated these points, that no one can really help you.

California
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14. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

Sorry about the confusion! I am NOT talking about FF miles. These are Rewards points. My husband has explained this process to me and I understand it better. Thanks for trying to help.

I'm great at trip planning...except that my math brain has died. I'm not good with figures. My husband is great with figures, however. So he will figure this out. I'll just let him book the flights, and I will take care of the accommodations and find out great places for food and wine! (-:

Santa Rosa Beach...
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15. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

Are you talking Amex Reward points, if so they will work on many airlines, ask your question at flyertalk.com or check with expertflyer.com, I have used a couple booking sites and they will give you several suggestions or routes and if you don't like them you say no thanks, you will only get charged if you let them book your flights using FF miles or points, I have always booked our own business flights using FF miles and have fun doing it but a couple times I had difficulty finding a certain flight and I consulted a booking site but in the end booked everything myself, they will charge around 200-300 to book your flight using your points.

Vancouver, Canada
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16. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

I wouldn't pay anyone to book flights for me using my Miles.

If you and Mr 5 have been using a Chase British Airways Visa card to accrue Avios then you'll need to become familiar with the Executive Club and its booking process.

Availability of award seats (in most programs) is flexible: there may be one seat in Club World today and three tomorrow, there are no hard and fast rules about booking. You will have to pay taxes and fees for booking award seats; that sum may look high but keep in mind that the cost you will pay will be a fraction of the cost of buying the seats.

If you cannot find availability (whether with BA Avios or Amex Reward points) for SAN-XXX-CPT then break down the flights and book them separately; making separate bookings will give you flexibility in case you need to change one of (eg) four sectors.

If there is minimal to zero availability from SAN to LHR then consider buying seats in World Traveller Plus (BA's Premium Economy cabin) for those flights. It's not Club World-light at all but certainly an improvement on World Traveller. You may also be offered an inexpensive paid for upgrade from WT+ to Club World after booking, depending on how full the flights are.

To that end, a one or two month subscription to ExpertFlyer may be the business. For $US5 a month you will be able to check loads (number of seats available in each fare bucket will never be shown with a number higher than nine, even if there are 20 seats available in that fare bucket) and - this is a big plus - up to date seat maps for your flights.

Using Miles, Points or Avios is easy; the difficult part is learning about the program(s) through which you will have earned the Miles.

If you plan to travel this summer you'll need to book sharpish. Give us an idea of the dates you plan to travel, preferred airlines and points of connection and we might be able to suggest how best to use the Points you have earned.

California
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17. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

TravellerPlus: Thanks so much for the detailed advice! I'll talk to my husband tonight about the "Executive Club" which you mention, and the ExpertFlyer subscription. We don't want to announce our specific credit cards and banks on-line, but these are rewards points, NOT FF miles. Below are my answers to your questions:

--Travel Dates: September/October 2013

--Preferred Airlines: British Airways (business or 1st class if we have enough rewards points. Also open to suggestions! We have other options.)

--Flights: SAN or LAX to LONDON to Cape Town, maybe with overnight in London. (Round Trip)

.....Prefer to fly out of SAN as we live in San Diego, but sometimes we drive up to LAX if necessary.

Vancouver, Canada
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18. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

You're welcome.

It's not a matter of saying 'my card number is .....', but (using myself as an example) more 'I use my RBC BA Visa and CIBC Aeroplan Visa to book and earn points in both programs.' If you have Amex Rewards then like other cards that can be used for multiple airline rewards (RBC Avion in Canada is one, Capital One another in the States) you'll have to adhere to the rules of the program in order to book.

If you're looking to fly nonstop and direct from LHR to CPT then those flights will be with BA. SAA fly to CPT with a change in Johannesburg; Emirates with a change at DXB (Dubai) and KLM with a change at AMS. The BA flights from LHR to CPT are on 747s, which have First as well as Club World (Business) cabins. BA fly three class 777s to and from SAN and LHR so no First cabin, but Club World is a treat none the less.

Garden Bay, Canada
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19. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

There are a couple of guys (reputable) that have posted in the UA Milepoint site for years that started an awards booking service. I'm not sure if this is them, but they seem to be able to maximize effect. I don't use them as it is dirt simple to book with miles. There are even occasional bonus transfer opportunities around that accommodate AMEX and hotel point transfers.

UK
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20. Re: AwardBookingService.com?! Flying Business with POINTS?!

Note that miles flights on BA out of SFO are notoriously difficult to get, and that BA have MUCH higher* charges on reward flights than US based airlines. As in, could be £500 to £1000 more, each than flying on a US carrier.

I would be looking at flying with American or United depending who your points are with.

*As an example,last year I flew American business class Hawaii to UK cost me £3 or so. On BA the charge, assuming there was availability, would have been at least £500 probably £750. But it's theoretical anyway, odds of getting two business class flights on BA out of SFO are minimal.

Edited: 4:40 am, February 13, 2013