What do you do when you can’t find a way to use the miles you want at the particular time you want it. Airlines often black out popular travel dates. Or someone else may have nipped in and gotten the only mileage seats associated with a particular flight.
A recent article on Yahoo Travel discusses an issue arising from airlines giving out more and more bonus miles: they aren’t necessarily increasing the number of airline seats sufficient to absorb all these bonus flights.It can sometimes be difficult to use the very travel miles you’ve worked so hard to get, so here are some solutions Yahoo Travel offers:
- Rather than booking online, call the airline. An agent may know some insider tricks to get you a seat.
- Rather than use a free seat, use your miles to upgrade an economy seat to the business section. The article cites the example of buying a $300 ticket from New York to LA and then upgrading to business with your miles. You pay a fee, but end up with a $2,400 ticket. We encourage you to use these upgrades on very long or international flights, however. If you have a lot of miles, you’ll sometimes be automatically bumped up to a business class seat when traveling within the U.S.
- Use award maps to see where you can spend the miles and be flexible about your destination.
- Think about using alternate airports. If you can get a mileage ticket to near where you’re going, you can then rent a car or hop on a train to your final destination. Keep the convenience of getting to where you’re going in mind before you decide on doing this.
- Have a mileage guru help you out. (For a fee, of course.)
- Book your tickets far in advance or very quickly to avoid someone else getting your seat.
Have you found some travel hacks to using your travel miles? Share them with us or on our Facebook page.
- Here’s my strategy for securing the best seat on every flight (businessinsider.com)
- Fly in the Front of the Plane – on the Cheap, Maybe for Free (dailyfinance.com)