How To Combine Points From Two Banks To Book An Award

Since we started writing Your Mileage May Vary, several of our friends have started collecting points and miles. I feel a level of satisfaction when they’re able to go on that first award trip, partially because of our help. Just like any mentor, occasionally we’ll get a question about a topic where we don’t know the answer. While I could just say that I really don’t know about that, I like to use these situations to learn about things I hadn’t focused on before. Such was a question about how to combine points from two different bank programs.

While the answer may seem obvious if you’ve been collecting points and miles for a while, for someone just starting out this can be very confusing.

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How I Got Flying Blue To Open Up Phantom Award Space

I’ve been looking at flights from Germany to the U.S. for our trip this winter. I already booked our flights to Germany on Singapore business class from New York but I figured I’d book the return later. Problem is that I can’t figure out our itinerary for the trip until I know which city we’re flying home from. That was incentive enough to have me look into finding flights, preferably award flights in business class.

My flight preference would be the non-stop flight on Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Orlando but since award seats tend not to open up until last minute, that won’t work with our plans. We won’t fly on United so options including their planes is a non-starter.

I started looking into flights on KLM or Air France. Both of them use the Flying Blue loyalty program and even though they have variable pricing on award tickets, they still have reasonable rates for many of their flights.

Much to my surprise, besides finding several options flying through either Paris or Amsterdam, a flight from Frankfurt-Detroit-Orlando was showing up. This flight was on two Delta planes and had decent times for arrival and departure and reasonable connection time.

I decided to try and book it.

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I Booked My Dad On The EVA Air Hello Kitty Plane And Didn’t Tell Him

I love helping book flights for my dad and his wife. Being retired, they get to take trips that I’m just not able to do. For one of these trips, he called me and said the two of them wanted to re-visit Southeast Asia. The trip was originally supposed to be to Thailand, with visits to Bangkok and Phuket but the trip soon expanded when they decided to visit Bali and seemingly the rest of Indonesia.

Planning the trip was difficult but I loved every minute of helping them use their miles to visit these exotic locations. I don’t want to do this for a living, so no award booking service here, but for my dad, I made an exception. By far, this was the best award trip I’ve ever planned. I got them from Seattle to Taipei to Bali on EVA Airways using ANA miles. That’s about as direct of a trip from the East Coast to Bali that you’ll find and all they needed to do was get to Seattle (they paid for a non-stop flight on Alaska Airlines, who runs a direct flight between the two cities).

The one thing that tickled me the most was that the flight from Taipei to Bali was on an EVA Airways Hello Kitty plane. I “forgot” to mention this to my dad and his wife 🙂

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Award Ticket Guide: Who You Gonna Call? (Or Which Airline’s Website Should You Use)

Using your miles to book airline tickets seems like a straightforward process. You earn miles and then redeem miles, a process points and miles people call “earn and burn.” Hopefully you’ve learned that by taking advantage of airline alliances and partnerships, it’s possible to redeem miles for flights on airlines other than the one you earned them from. In other words, you can book flights on Lufthansa with United MileagePlus or you can fly on Cathay Pacific by redeeming American Advantage miles. This knowledge opens up an entire world of possibilities.

There’s one part of this process that confuses people new to miles and points the most. Which airline should be contacted for each step of the booking process, up to and including getting on the plane?

Here’s a simplified list of who to contact for each step of traveling on an award ticket booking for an airline partner (alliance or non-alliance):

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American Airlines Mucking Up Saver Awards & Bathrooms, Sneak Peek at Galaxy’s Edge, & More

Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.

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