Please tell us how to find business class awards

21

Greg recently had great success booking his ANA round the world award. In response, a reader made a request that we get quite frequently — “PLEASE tell us how to find business class awards!”. There are a number of things to keep in mind and tools to use when searching for business class awards and given that Greg and I have been pulling out our hair over diving head first into award searches lately, it was a timely topic for this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air.

Elsewhere on the blog this week, I write about why I am becoming so enthusiastic about Aeroplan, Stephen shares some Marriott discounts you may be missing, Greg answers a  number of reader questions, and a lot more. Watch, listen, or read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.


00:28 Giant Mailbag
1:48 Mattress running the numbers: Daily Getaways Are any of these deals worth speculatively buying? Our analysis:
3:46 IHG points for half a cent each
4:35 Hilton points for half a cent each
4:47 Wyndham points for 1.17c each
5:30 Best Western at 0.55 cents per point
6:38 Choice points for 0.52 cents per point
8:35 Marriott gift cards for 20% off
11:31 #3Cards2Continents3Updates
23:34 Awards we booked this week
27:00 What crazy thing….did London Heathrow Airport do this week?
30:18 Main Event: PLEASE tell us how to find business class awards.
1:11:17 When is Ask Us Anything?

Subscribe to our podcast

We publish Frequent Miler on the Air each week in both video form (above) and as an audio podcast. People love listening to the podcast while driving, working-out, etc. Please check it out and subscribe. Our podcast is available on all popular podcast platforms, including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and many more.

Alternatively, you can listen to the podcast online here.

This week at Frequent Miler

Round the World Award Booked! Lessons learned.

Greg has done it — he booked a round the world award with ANA for an impressively low number of miles. More importantly, he learned some great information that will save us all time and help us find success when we try to book this incredible sweet spot. On the one hand, I think that the Aeroplan award chart has some definitely advantages over ANA here (and certainly their partnerships represent advantageous possibilities), but I envy the fact that Greg found the magic time to call ANA and an ability to put an award on hold. See this post for the gems he has dug up in the process of booking what I’m sure will be an impressive award.

Aeroplan: Nick’s ace in the hole for #3Cards3Continents

Gosh I’m loving the Air Canada Aeroplan award chart — or more specifically, it’s unique mix of partners and fairly flexible routing rules. To be fair, I have run into some frustrations since writing this post as I have attempted to bend and flex the rules and as a result I’ve run into some frustrating road blocks (and I have spent far more time on hold waiting to speak to an Air Canada Aeroplan agent than actually speaking to them — and I’ve had some long chats with agents). However, I’m learning as I go and should have some good tips to share soon. The bottom line is that with a sense of adventure and a willingness to fly out of your way, the Aeroplan chart makes it possible to build some incredible trips.

Marriott Rules for extending free nights

Who knew there were rules? The agent with whom Greg spoke on his latest call for an extension, that’s who. Greg got some excellent intel out of the agent that sounds like an actual set of (behind-the-scenes) rules. Keep in mind that none of this is written into program terms, so always be polite when asking for a favor — and if the first agent isn’t going to grant that favor, it is best practice to politely say thanks and end the call before hanging up and calling again. I’m glad to see this is back to business as usual.

Have A Marriott Business Credit Card Or Elite Status? You Might Get Special Room Rates.

Marriott seems to have launched a new discount rate for those with business credit cards that is now appearing in search results on certain properties when logged in. I have previously noticed an elite member rate now and then (both as a Platinum member and Titanium member), though I only see it come up in results on rare occasions — whereas this business card rate appears to be more widespread. This is a good reminder to both log in for your hotel searches and check all of the other rates for opportunities to save.

How To Transfer Citi ThankYou Points To United On 1,000:800 Basis

This is just a quick tip post, but it’s a nice trick for those flush with Citi points who would rather have United miles, albeit at a slight sacrifice. Keep in mind that this trick could also work from Amex, but you wouldn’t want to do it that way since the poorer transfer ratio means you’d get 800 United miles for 2,000 Membership Rewards points, which is a poor deal.

Miles & points questions answered, comments shared.

We get a lot of email at Frequent Miler and sometimes it takes us a while to get through the backlog — particularly as of late given the way that #3Cards3Continents has consumed our mental bandwidth during most hours of the day. In this post, Greg puts together a bunch of interesting and relevant reader comments and questions that have come in recently — responding and sharing for everyone.

Should this be allowed? #3Cards3Continents

Our first “rule clarification” post of the latest challenge — bust out your popcorn and head to the comments section! Seriously, this is reflective of many conversations we had in the time leading up to when we announced this thing. I found it surprising how many questions we came up with on our own before we even got started about what should or shouldn’t be allowed. Ultimately, readers will decide with their votes when you pick a winner.

Amazing: Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa on Lake Como

This incredible Hyatt redemption on Lake Como nearly left me speechless. I didn’t include in this post that a recent Google review of this place had pondered the question “What is perfection?” waxing poetic about how the staff at Grand Hotel Victoria know what it is. I thought that all sounded a bit flowery and over-the-top — until I stayed. I can not wait to go back.


That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep your eye on this week’s last chance deals.

0 0 votes
Post Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

21 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Justmeha

Just wanted to say that between united and American, I feel American’s awsrd search calendar is significantly more buggy.

As well if you start your search with the “advanced search” button on United you can still get the legacy view with the more intuitive filtering et cetera

Arindam

Regarding country specific entry requirements: I have found the joinsherpa website (https://apply.joinsherpa.com/map) useful to keep track of the varying country/covid entry requirements. Kayak has a similar tool as well: https://www.kayak.com/travel-restrictions

BlueCat

The content on the podcasts has really improved in the last couple of months. Please keep it up!

Lea Tamarack

Listened to the new podcast today- it is playing a 2021 episode on apple podcasts, not the most recent episode

Harsh B.

Check out COVID Controls for COVID related restrictions and guidelines. https://covidcontrols.co/tourist-allowed/vaccinated/united-states

rick b

Flight Connections is not accurate. Tried it out after hearing this podcast and found one specific example of a flight I booked cheap, while it was showing much higher prices. This was involving a non-major carrier that’s not in an alliance, so it probably doesn’t pick up preferential pricing you can get by booking direct on their websites.

I’d cross-check it with kayak, skyscanner and google flights.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Good to know. I’ve never used it to look at prices. It’s great tool for seeing which airlines fly where

rick b

The map tool is very useful for sure, although the rest of the functionality seems to be pretty similar to google flights.

And I now realize it’s outsourcing price searches to Kayak, and that part is glitchy. On some searches, I get a calendar preview which shows prices way off from the final results (either too low or too high) and in a few cases kayak misses obvious best pricing by not even showing the option to book direct with airline.

On a few occasions, their results showed me purchase options from kiwi.com, which I’ve never heard of. Sometimes it would have significantly lower prices than anyone else on routes with mainstream airlines.

I guess the lesson is to just check all 5-6 major flight search engines. Never know who’ll come up with a unicorn.

Tim

The United Travel Ready center allows you to input departure and arrival airports (with connecting airports) and gives up to date covid requirements.

Nun

Try this for your travel restrictions question https://apply.joinsherpa.com You can enter travel plans, vac status, citizenship

MickiSue

I am subscribed to both points.me and awardnexus.com. But, after finding an amazing and refundable offer for Maldives during the pre-vax time of the pandemic, we needed award space. We’re too old for 12 hour flights in coach.

I started by searching who flies to MLE, then backwards to see what airports those airlines serve in the US.

Found one way flights there from ORD ON Qatar Airways, with AS miles, only 65K each, back in January.

But I’ve been checking the sites, over and over, for reasonably priced flights back home. I started checking code share carriers, on the off chance I’d missed something.

A Qatar rep told me to keep checking ISD, because it gets the most cancellations. That same day, I found seats through AA, not on Qatar, but BA.

70 K each. And only slightly more in fees to fly through LHR than any other airport.

Based on my experience, using search engines can get you less coveted award space. It’s how we ended up flying AF from our home airport to Bari. But nothing replaces looking regularly until you get what you need.

Htown Harry

When using the visual tool that shows the airlines serving a particular airport or city pair, I found an interesting back door to alliance data. It’s a workaround to the limitation that Nick mentions around 35:30: alliance searches not being a choice in the free version of the tool.

At the upper right of the screen in the free version, there is a menu tab that includes an alliance choice that bypasses the dead end of clicking on the alliance button seen on the main screen.

Scooch

Please make Stephen Pepper a permanent part of the podcast, I love that guy.

DaninMCI

Finding business award or any premium cabin award space isn’t really all that hard. It’s finding it at a good price in points or even a low cash price that is the real hard part. For example, I can find Delta TATL space all day long but sometimes it is 800,000 points. I can find AA space pretty easily but it may be for 120k each way on BA metal with $1k in fees. You get my point (pardon the pun :). Maybe you should sponsor a contest where people submit the worst award redemption search screenshots that they can find. Now that would be interesting.

anonymous

Maybe a sticky post “Wall of Shame” for the most ridiculous award prices as a counterpoint to all the “Fly for Free!” nonsense from the airlines.

MickiSue

Heh. I just looked for MSP-VCE in the late fall. KLM had round trips for north of 800000 points/person. Same flights with AS miles were a little over 100K points/person.

Aidan

Looks like an older episode got uploaded to the podcast feed instead of the correct one

LarryInNYC

Can confirm. Listening right now to Greg getting shut down by Capitol One. My app is Pocket casts. Episode title is this week’s, the actual podcast that downloaded is old.

Dugroz Reports

Same here. “Greg got shut down by Cap 1 AGAIN?!?!?” 🙂 🙂 🙂