Redeeming Miles Introduction
Video Time: 06:16
In this video I’m going to discuss how many miles you need (in general), the value of a mile/point, partner airlines, the booking process, and how to call an airlines reward booking centre.
You made it to the fun part – Redeeming miles for trips all over the world!
In this section, you’re going to learn everything about redeeming miles, including how to book online, how to book via phone, how many miles you need, how to get maximum value and so much more.
Before we get started, I just wanted to give you a quick introduction into mile redemption and your travel goals.
WHEN TO FLY
When you pay for a flight, the cheapest days to fly (generally) are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. With domestic flights, this sometimes changes to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The cheapest season is always off-season and don’t let that put you off. Some of my best trips have been in the off-season because it means fewer people, a much more local experience and low prices.
When it comes to paying for a flight, the above info is good to know. However, it’s also good to keep in mind when using points because often times there is more reward availability at these times as well.
This doesn’t mean you have to go in the off-season or on those particular days, it just means that you might have higher chances.
If you’re trying to fly somewhere during the extreme high season or a holiday such as thanksgiving or Christmas, you might have more difficulty finding a flight. Plan this in advance.
Maximum flexibility will give you maximum chances.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE TO BOOK AN AWARD
It does help to plan ahead but it isn’t always necessary. Award seats usually become available up to 330 days in advance. About 11 months.
At the same time, airlines don’t release all their seats in advance but hold on to some and release them closer to the actual date.
If a particular trip and date is important, check as far in advance as possible. If that doesn’t work, try six months before departure. If that doesn’t work, try again one to three months before departure if you still haven’t booked it. Airlines tend to release more flights when they realize they haven’t sold them all yet.
The value of your miles/points depends on what you redeem them for. At their absolute lowest value, 1 cent per point should suffice. But this is a crappy valuation. For example, a trip to Mexico with Aeroplan is 40,000 points plus taxes. If the flight would cost you $800 plus taxes normally, then you are getting 2 cents of value per mile/point. Not a bad valuation! A trip from one side of Canada to the other is often $800 as well but only 25,000 points, so you get even more value.
For even better valuation, you can include free stopovers, open-jaws or just book a first-class flight overseas. Often times, a first class ticket can be had for as little as 100,000 points. These tickets often cost $5000, so in this case you would be getting 5 cents per mile, probably the maximum value you can get.
Ultimately, go where you want to go. That’s why you earned your points. This is just a good example for valuing points and why many travel hackers don’t use them for short-haul flights or products.
Also, if the flight is on sale, better to buy the flight and use the miles for a later, more expensive trip.
DISCOUNT AWARD FLIGHTS
Every now and then, a reward flight may actually be discounted. A friend of mine once booked one of these trips from San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan. He was able to get business class for just 50,000 points instead of the normal 100,000 required. Even the 25,000 point flight from Canada to SF would be worth it for this – if you want to go to Japan of course.
These things aren’t too common but if one comes up, I’ll be sure to let all members know.
TIP: If you have a lot of rewards cards and tend to forget them, consider downloading the Key Ring Reward application for smart phones. You can store all your reward cards on the app so you never forget them again…unless you forget your smart phone that is.
This PDF will give you a brief guideline for booking award flights.