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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The Pre-Trip Wallet Shuffle

Before going on a trip, there’s a ritual I go through involving our wallets. I need to go through them, remove cards we won’t need when traveling and replace them with the cards we will or might need when we’re out of town. Unlike packing, where I have a list I’ve perfected over the last 20 years, when it comes to our wallets, I have to wing it and make choices for each trip because every time is different.

Here are some of the questions I ask. Did I use a certain card to book something during the trip and need the card for confirmation? Are we flying on an airline where using the card for onboard purchases will give me a discount? Do I need a specific card to get into an airline lounge? Will we be buying groceries during the trip or will we be eating out all the time? Will we be renting a car? If so, I’ll need to bring a card that has primary LDW coverage as well as one that earns a good return on gas purchases.

While I’ve read about making a dedicated travel wallet so you don’t forget to bring any of the cards you only need when traveling, I’m more afraid I’d forget to put something in the travel wallet like my drivers license or my insurance card. I don’t think I’d ever hear the end of it if that happened (Note from Sharon: No. No, you wouldn’t BWAHAHAHA!). As usual, I take two approaches to making our wallets because while I will bring a different card for each category, Sharon will only allow me to give her one to two cards at the most for her to use, hereby named the card in the front of the wallet she’ll use for everything and the card behind it for if the first one doesn’t work somewhere.

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Budget Car Rental Has Some Amazing Partners (Some Of Which Don’t Even Exist)

I’ll admit, Budget Car Rental isn’t a company I’ve paid much attention to before now. I looked into how to sign up for the Budget Fastbreak program when writing my article about signing up for car rental programs, and what each program will give you, but that was the extent of my research. They’re just not a company I’ll rent from very often, or at all.

That changed when I volunteered (well, was asked by my supervisor) to go on a week-long business trip. Travel is exciting but a week of work away from home, not so much. The only silver lining was when we were told that we are allowed to earn frequent flyer miles, hotel points and car rental credits for the trip. SCORE! However, I had no control over the booking, as it was handled by the corporate travel agent and my intermediate size rental car was reserved from Budget Car Rental.

Time to sign up for Budget’s Fastbreak service.

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How To Get Rid Of That Unwanted Holiday Gift & Earn 500 Points Or Miles In The Process

Every once in a while you’ll get that holiday gift where you wonder, “What was (s)he THINKING?” Or it’ll be from that co-worker who you know wasn’t thinking, period. But there you are, stuck with that apple shaped cigarette lighter or a green scarf with hand painted purple frogs on it. (BTW, the cigarette lighter was a 100% true story – my father [who still smoked at the time] bought my mom one of those for her birthday once. She had quit smoking 4 years previously. No lie! Boy, was she mad, LOL!)

So what can you do with it? It’s not like you can re-gift something as atrocious as that. And throwing it out makes you feel guilty. Well, what if I told you that you could trade that unwanted gift in for your choice of 500 frequent flyer miles or 500 hotel points? Because you can!

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Frontier Has A Great $20 Flash Sale Going On, AND A Triple Miles Sale, Too!

Frontier has an incredible flash same going on right now, with one-way fares as low as $20. And on top of that, you may be able to get triple miles, which is pretty awesome. Check this out…

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