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Maximizing Your Rewards: A Guide to Finding and Booking Award Flights

A Comprehensive Guide to Finding and Booking Award Flights

Are you tired of browsing through flight websites and being disappointed by the lack of award availability? Booking flights with credit card points and frequent flyer miles can save you thousands of dollars, but it can also be a frustrating and confusing process.

Fear not, as this article will guide you through the different approaches and tools to find the best award availability for your desired destinations.

Understanding Award Availability

Before we dive into the tips and tricks, let us first understand the importance of airline alliances and partnerships for booking award flights. In the world of travel rewards, airlines form alliances and partnerships to provide their customers with a wider range of destinations and options when redeeming their miles or points.

For example, United, Delta, and American Airlines are known as the “Big Three” North American airlines, and they are part of different airline alliances. By understanding which airlines belong to the same alliance or partnerships, you can expand your options for award flights and maximize your rewards.

It is also essential to note that each airline has its own award chart and seat availability. This can make it difficult to compare and find the best option for your booking.

However, there are various online tools and websites that can help you search for award availability, such as Award Nexus, Expert Flyer, and KVS Tool. These websites aggregate data and help you save time and effort in finding the best award flight option.

Searching for Award Availability on North American Airlines

If you plan to fly within the United States or Canada, it is best to look at the “Big Three” airlines- United, Delta, and American. These airlines offer domestic and international flights, and their frequent flyer programs are known to be among the most flexible and comprehensive.

When searching for award availability, it is best to check each airline’s website and their respective partners. These airlines have different award charts and requirements, so it is essential to compare and see which one suits your needs.

Searching for Award Availability on European Airlines

If you plan to visit Europe, there are several airlines you can consider. Some of the most popular European airlines include Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, and Lufthansa.

These airlines have extensive route networks and often offer excellent award availability. It is crucial to check each airline’s website and their partners when searching for award availability.

Some popular airline alliances in Europe are Star Alliance and One World, which have a broad range of airlines in their networks.

Searching for Award Availability on Asian Airlines

If you plan to visit Asia, you can choose from various Asian airlines, such as Air China, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and more. These airlines offer top-notch services, and their frequent flyer programs are equally comprehensive and flexible.

When searching for award availability, it is best to check each airline’s website and their respective partners. Some popular airline alliances in Asia include Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and One World.

Other Airlines and Options for Booking Award Flights

Apart from European and Asian airlines, several airlines worldwide offer great award availability and services. Some popular Middle Eastern airlines include Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, while Avianca is a growing airline in South America.

It is essential to research these different options and see which award chart and requirements suit your needs. Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Finding the Best Award Availability

Now that we have discussed the different airlines and alliance options let us dive into the tips, tricks, and tools to find the best award availability.

Using Award Hacker to Find Possible Options

Award Hacker is a website that helps you find possible options for booking an award flight by searching through the loyalty account options for Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Marriott Bonvoy. This website can save you a lot of time by aggregating data and searching for available options.

Expert Flyer as a Powerful Tool for Award Searches

Expert Flyer is a powerful tool that can help you search inventory, airline schedules, and even receive seat alerts. This tool is highly recommended for those who are serious about finding the best award availability as it allows you to track changes and get alerts for seat availability.

Using Wikipedia for Segment by Segment Searches and Positioning Flights

Wikipedia can be a handy tool when searching for award flights that require segment by segment searches or positioning flights. By using Wikipedia, you can check the airline’s route map and see which airports they fly to and from.

When to Book and Different Approaches

Finally, it is crucial to understand when to book and the different approaches that can help you find the best award availability. If you plan to book in advance, it is best to book as soon as possible, as award availability can quickly disappear.

However, if you are flexible with your travel dates and destination, you can use Expert Flyer alerts to notify you when seats become available. If you are traveling with family or require multiple seats, it is best to book in advance to ensure that you get the seats you need.

Additionally, booking business class can be tricky, so it is best to be flexible with your dates and explore different airline options.

Conclusion

Booking award flights can be a frustrating experience, but by understanding airline alliances, partnerships, award charts, and seat availability, you can expand your options and maximize your rewards. Utilizing online tools, such as Award Hacker and Expert Flyer, can help you search for possible options and track changes in seat availability.

Finally, being flexible with your dates and destination and booking in advance or using seat alerts can also increase your chances of finding the best award availability. Booking award flights can be a daunting task, but understanding airline alliances, partnerships, award charts, and seat availability can help expand your options and maximize your rewards.

By using online tools like Award Hacker and Expert Flyer and being flexible with your dates and destination, you can increase your chances of finding the best award availability. Remember to check each airline’s website and their respective partners and be aware of the different approaches to booking award flights.

By following these tips and tricks, you can book your dream trip without breaking the bank.

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