Are Award Booking Services Worth the Price?
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TPG reader Todd tweeted me to ask:
@thepointsguy -“Are award booking services worthwhile? If so, do you have any recommendations?”
The Points Guy website actually started out as an award booking service, so before I ever wrote my first blog post, I was helping people book awards. The website had a form for people to explain where they wanted to go and provide all the relevant information (like point balances and elite status). For a $50 fee per ticket, I would help them plan and book their award travel by calling airlines, searching for partner awards, etc. It was a fun start, but the The Points Guy grew in another direction and I eventually shut down the award booking service.
However, there are several other award booking websites out there that can potentially save you hundreds of thousands of miles and a ton of time. TPG reader Todd is wondering whether those award booking sites provide enough value to justify their cost. In general I would say yes, they can. If you’re ever in a situation where you can’t find award availability, even if you’ve done your research, you may want to enlist the help of one of these professional services.
One option is the new TPG partner Award Magic, which you can access from the Award Booking Page. Award Magic charges $149 per person for basic itineraries, or $259 for complex itineraries. They’ll do the research for you and come up with the best options.
I would also recommend Points Pros run by Ben Schlappig. This site charges $200 for the first person, and $100 for each additional traveler (this could be slightly more if the itinerary is highly complex).
Another option is Book Your Award, which is run by fellow bloggers Gary Leff and Steve Belkin. They charge a flat rate of $150 per person no matter how complex the itinerary is.
Depending on your situation, whom you’re traveling with and how complex your itinerary is, you can choose the site and price point that works best for you. If they can save you even 25,000 miles and the time it takes to book the award, then you’re probably coming out ahead. I know that in the past these sites have been quite popular and there have even been waiting lists, but I’m not sure how busy they are at the moment. If you need help soon, best to get in touch with them early rather than wait until the last minute.
If you’ve used the an award booking site like the ones listed above or any others, please share your experiences in the comments section.
If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at email@example.com.