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Sunday Reader Question: What Award Booking Sites Do You Recommend?

by on February 12, 2012 · 19 comments

in Sunday Reader Questions

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TPG reader Mike writes:

“I have a question on behalf of my coworker.  She’s taking her family to Europe this summer and has a ton of AA and Avios miles and is having trouble using her miles to get her family over there using her miles and on business class.  I’ve seen or heard of people like yourself who help plan travel for her for a fee. Do you have any recommendations of people who can help her book her trip using her miles (or miles and $) to help her get the best deals?”

I originally started TPG  to advertise my award booking business, where I used to charge people $50 a ticket to help them use their miles and points to book their dream trips. This business was awesome because it allowed me to use years of knowledge of the frequent flyer world to help people  book trips that they never would be possible.

However, award booking is extremely time intensive and after word started to spread, the business became unmanageable. I quickly learned that building an audience and teaching everyone tips and tricks would be a better use of my time than trying to crank out as many award bookings I could do without falling asleep at the computer. So in April 2011 I closed my award booking business and instead have focused on bringing quality content to the site every day. It’s a difficult task since I post 2-5 times a day, 365 days a year. However, it has paid off since readership has quadrupled since I shifted to full-time blogging.

That being said, who can you hire to help you book an award if you need a little help maximizing your miles?

I can personally vouch for three services because I know the owners and know they do quality work. However, if you run an award booking service and want to advertise it, please feel free to provide a link in the comments section.

1) Matthew at upgrd.com. I actually enlisted his help last year to assist me with this site’s overflow award booking requests. Matthew always follows through and is very client-focused. Price: $150 per person for one way or round-trip award redemptions. In addition you are responsible for paying any taxes or other fees due to the airline.

2) Pointspros.com. Ben, the voice behind the popular One Mile at a Time blog also runs this boutique award booking business. Pricing: $150 for the first passenger on any type of award. $100 for each additional passenger on the same general trip.

3) Bookyouraward.com. Gary Leff, the man behind View From the Wing blog, also runs a popular award booking service. Pricing: $125 per person.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mstre123

    How did you handle booking award tickets for others when you had to do it over the phone. Did you pretend to be your customer to the airline?

  • Anonymous

    I’m currently offering my award booking services for free at my site http://www.extrapackofpeanuts.com. While free usually sets off bells of “low quality”, the reasoning for this is twofold:

    1. While I have alot of experience booking for myself, and therefore, on airlines that I normally fly (AA, United) I would like to become more familiar with all the options out there, and booking for others allows me that opportunity.

    2. As my site is fairly new, I’m to extending my services for free as a thank you to those readers who are there beginning.

    I don’t anticipate doing it for free for too much longer, seeing as I’ve already done it for a fair amount of client gratis in the past month, but if you are interested, pop over to the site and shoot me an email.

    @Mstre123- Typically the person you pay to book award tickets will do all the research finding the ticket and then the actual person who wants the tickets will call. However, sometimes you can simply call in and reserve the ticket, than have the client call in to confirm.

  • Sam

    I always thought that award booking was about saving money. I know people should value their time, but never quite understood the “thrill” of gathering all these points for an amazing trip, then paying someone else to book it. Pretty funny if you ask me.

  • RakSiam

    I was recently considering hiring some one to book my upcoming awards. But in the end I just took the plunge and did it myself. Turned out to be much simpler than I anticipated.

    Using tools like Award Nexus (which you can join for free) and Expert Flyer you can use free for a limited time (but I paid for a membership because I found it to be so useful) you can track down available awards. I don’t generally like talking to people on the phone, but overcame that to call AA to book the award I needed (because it involved CX I couldn’t just do it online with AA). BA’s website allows you to book more easily (once you find the right link on their website) and allows booking on partners.

    If you are looking to book several people to a popular destination (Europe) at a peak time (summer) your challenge will be high. You will need to be very flexible with dates and expect to not all travel together.

  • MileSavvy

    Unfortunately people just don’t have the knowledge or time to know how to book an award ticket that is outside the norm, especially people that do not follow travel blogs regularly (which is most travelers.) My website http://www.milesavvy.com has been used hundreds of times for people that tell me this exact thing and realize the benefits of such a service. You are talking about spending $99 to get a $15,000 trip for the hours and days it would take to find award space and routings. It is an amazing deal to those you are “confused” by the service.

  • Kalboz

    I have used Gary Leff’s Bookyouraward.com just last year with great results. They got us 3 RT biz class award tickets (and one paid INF) using US Airways miles LAX-ICN-BKK during peak season (departed 12/27/11 & returned 1/22/12). Total cost was less than $900 + 270K miles + $350 the booking fee for all four of us. Thank you Bookyouraward.com! :)

  • Mark

    Another site, http://www.awardconcierge.com , does the same thing as well, they will handle everything for you which can really be helpful. I do as much as I can myself, but as others have commented, with kids and work, its hard sometimes to book all of this yourself, helpful to have someone who knows the game.

  • http://fieldofburch.com/ Bryce

    I just started my own award booking service at http://fieldofburch.com/need-awardtravel-help/ and would love some business!

  • http://fieldofburch.com/ Bryce

    I will work hard expediently to make sure that your miles are put to good use, and that your experience is fantastic. Plus with my 0 Hassle Guarantee, there is no charge to you unless I am able to book your award.

  • Guest

    This is ridiculous, has this thread just turned into an advertisement for everyone’s own business?

  • Ari

    I have been running my award booking service for bout two years now. More information can be found at http://www.FirstClassAndBeyond.com. In short, I’ve booked trips to countries across five continents and always strive to deliver the best customer service possible. On top of that, of course, I always do my best to maximize my clients’ miles. Though I don’t know for certain, I’d guess I’ve booked somewhere around $750,000 worth of tickets since opening my services.

  • Dan

    There were reports within the past 6 months that some of the above services mentioned by TPG weren’t responding to e mail request. Of course, YMMV. Those reports were on the travel websites read by many of your readers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629815613 Shannon Anderson

    I don’t think Points Pros are in business any more. I emailed them before Christmas and am still waiting for their response.

  • David

    I run a site offering award booking services in case any TPG readers are interested. I specialize in figuring out how to get the best value for your miles on each itinerary, particularly if you have points in several programs.
    http://www.maximizingmiles.com/services

  • Bobby

    Lets not forget awardbookingservice.com also!

  • Alex @ easyawardbooking

    I have just set up my own Award Booking Service for Canadians. I will move mountains to get you the perfect award and maximize your Aeroplan points. http://www.easyawardbooking.com

  • Jeff

    Cute story about travel at bumpspot.com

  • Awardadvocate

    We have been running Awardadvocate.com for a while now and have booked our clients trips using the least amount of miles possible for some incredibly creative trips. We are also very competitively priced at an easy $100 per person international.

  • Calvin

    I travel quite a bit for work and end up having a lot of miles and it can be time consuming to figure out the best way to use them for my family vacations so I have worked with a few award booking services. One of them who claims to book billions of miles took too long to reply to my emails and had no good suggestions at all. I went to another one, http://www.awardadvocate.com/, and Chris over there actually found me a great flight routing that I would never think of. It was some crazy combination of different miles that I had but it worked and he charged less than the other guys. I usually use him for international stuff but I just do all the domestic myself since I can usually find those pretty easy. With the combination of my work miles and credit card offers it has been great in terms of the beautiful places I have been able to take my family for such a small cost.

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