Podcast: Top 10 Tips for Last Minute Award Travel | Frequent Miler on the Air Ep259 | 6-14-24


Greg and Nick have been consumed with last-minute travel the last week and a half so it’s great timing for them to summarize 10 important tips for last-minute award travel.

Watch the full episode below, or listen on your favorite podcast platform. You can click the timestamps below to navigate directly to a specific part of the episode within YouTube.

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Main Event: Top 10 Tips for Last Minute Award Travel


(01:17) – Standing ovation for the annual challenge! (Mailbag)

Flying by the Seat of our Points… is done

(06:43) – Annual Challenge recap and overview

Watch the Stage 1 recap video here: https://youtu.be/bMt_NfuuINI?feature=shared

Watch the Stage 2 recap video here: https://youtu.be/gyJPtTZN1EE?feature=shared

Watch the Stage 3 recap video here: https://youtu.be/HTmEAicB3dw?feature=shared

Card Talk: Curve is Dead

(34:15) – Curve overview (Card Talk)

Find out more here: https://www.curve.com/en-us

Crazy Thing

Mattress Running the Numbers

Award Talk

(37:56) – Hilton SLH integrated testing phase (Award Talk)

(40:26) – Preferred Hotels / Choice devaluation (55K to 87K) (Award Talk)

(42:34) – Aero plan credit card & elite members status match to iPrefer Titanium (before June 28) (Award Talk)

(44:18) – Book Oman Air w/ Flying Blue miles (Award Talk)

(44:30) – Book El Al with Virgin points (Award Talk)

(44:51) – Points Path adds support for Air Canada & Alaska Airlines (Award Talk)

Main Event: Top 10 Tips for Last Minute Award Travel

(47:00) – General advice

(52:38) – Great awards often open last minute (ex: Lufthansa first)

(57:16) – Diversify. Having different types of points and miles helps.

(58:28) – Become adept at award search tools. Huge time saver.

(1:00:26) – Don’t rely entirely on award search tools. They don’t catch everything (no Virgin Atlantic on a couple, no BA / QR Avios, didn’t see LifeMiles for my redemption, etc)

(1:03:41) – Consider keeping stashes in programs you use often. This only applies if you have a lot of points and miles, but it could help avoid a failed transfer.

(1:05:27) – Watch out for transfer times

(1:08:10) – Get a good VPN. I wonder if some of my problems could have been averted if I’d used one all along.

(1:11:22) – Know that Aeroplan’s contact center isn’t 24/7. This can be a big pain when you’re overseas.

(1:12:37) – Beware the phantom menace. Tons of Swiss space that isn’t real.

(1:17:02) – Have some tricks up your sleeve. This could alternatively be called “persistence pays off”. Don’t give up right away. Examples include searching Avianca’s site multiple ways, forcing a stopover with Aeroplan to get a flight to show up, booking a refundable something as a backup, etc.

Question of the Week

(1:20:10) – How do you go about finding activities while you travel? (Question of the Week)

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Music Credit – “Ocean Deep” by Annie Yoder

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Using the United app seemed the best way to tell if Swiss is phantom. Clicking on a Swiss flight immediately showed no longer available and then greyed it out of the search. I didn’t have any miles in my account but could see this repeatedly.


I know Greg speculated this, but I’ve found pretty much universally that if you’re booking an AA longhaul award that is in their saver/partner bookable fare class (U for business, for example), adding a partner segment will price the whole itinerary at the partner price. The crazy part about this is that the 150k DFW-CDG price was likely bookable by partners.