Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

How to Find the Best Flight with your Frequent Flier Miles

Wendy Perrin | January 19, 2015

Question:

Wendy, is there someone you recommend to make airline reservations using frequent flier miles? I have a ton of United miles and American Express Membership Rewards points and am looking for someone to figure out the best way for me to use them. We want to fly to Europe this summer in business class.

Thanks,
Francis

Answer:

Francis, I get this question at least once a week. There are a few mileage-award redemption advisory services, but I’ve always sworn by Gary Leff, whose Book Your Award service, geared to travelers who want to fly in first or business class, has been put to the test by thousands of my readers over the years.

Gary is the blogger behind View From the Wing, a co-founder of the frequent-flier community MilePoint.com, and a one-time hilarious guest in a Colbert Report skit. His partner at BookYourAward.com is Steve Belkin, another mileage magician and the founder of Competitours, an Amazing Race–type travel company.

I’ve known Gary and Steve for years. Between them, they can figure out any first-class or business-class mileage ticket you need, taking into consideration your personal requirements (date range, maximum number of stops, etc.) and your available bank of miles, credit-card points, and other loyalty-program points. (And they’ll help you find more if you come up short).

They know which airlines offer the best award-seat value for which destinations. They come up with flights and routes that require fewer miles than you thought you were going to have to spend or that provide a few welcome layover days in a destination you thought you’d have to skip. And, if that’s not enough, once you’ve used your miles, they’ll teach you how to replenish your bank for your next trip. Their flat fee is $150 per ticket. They’re also insanely busy helping people like you so, if you do reach out to Gary and Steve, tell them I sent you.

Travel Tips

How to Avoid Food Poisoning When You Travel

Billie Cohen | January 22, 2016

Villa Rentals

How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental: Tips for Your First Time, or any Time

Brook Wilkinson | December 1, 2014

Family Travel

Florence Can Be Kid-Friendly: Just Follow These Tips

Eric Stoen | September 25, 2015

7 Comments

  1. Joseph Rothman

    Just concluded another international trip supported by Gary Leff and Steve Belkin at BookYourAward.
    They are the first people we contact when beginning the trip planning process….well, perhaps immediately
    after contacting Wendy for advice on the best travel agent. Thanks to these gentlemen and their outstanding staff we have managed to sit in the front of the plane for very reasonable frequent flyer miles/points. And, sitting up front to begin and end a trip makes a huge difference. Continued thanks and we look forward to our next “trip of a lifetime” experience.

  2. Tom Stegmann

    Last fall it took me weeks to ferret out 2 business class seats from Phoenix to Paris–incredibly frustrating. For this year’s trip to Australia and New Zealand I decided to use PointsPros. It took Ben less than 48 hours to find and book an open jaw R/T in Business Class. In the future I will always use a “mileage professional” to book our trips.

  3. A Brown

    I’ve used Ben as well. He came up with a great routing in first class for a colleague and myself when we had to get to Istanbul in a hurry. He used far less miles than anticipated. Plus he’s fast and a charm to deal with.

  4. Wayne Lerner

    Have used Gary a number of times traveling alone and with our friends Linda and Jim Friedman, with remarkably outstanding results. He is worth ever penny of his fee and is not only effective in gaining value for miles spent but quick, too. Wouldn’t think of using anyone else.
    Linda references Gary for all of her clients and colleagues.
    Thanks to both of you for great travels.

  5. Stuart Falk

    I have had excellent experience using Points Pros ( http://www.pointspros.com/ ). PointsPros is led by Ben Schlappig, author of what is probably considered to be the most respected blog about air travel and the accumulation and use of frequent flyer miles , “One Mile at a Time “and avid points collector. Ben has visited over 40 countries on six continents and loves sharing tricks about how others can use miles and points to do the same. Ben has been cited as a travel expert in many publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The Australian Business Journal.

    1. Wendy Perrin

      Thank you for this useful input, Stuart. I know Ben is a brilliant guy, so I’m glad to hear this feedback from someone who’s used his service.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>