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How to take my award bookings to the next level?

How to take my award bookings to the next level?

Old Mar 29, 2024, 5:43 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 10
Red face How to take my award bookings to the next level?

Hey all - I've been in the miles accumulation game for nearly a decade, but for most of those years I've used various award booking service recommended on flyertalk to actually redeem my points. There seems to be fewer people selling this service with each passing year and pricing is now 2-3x what it use to be. That was acceptable during my earning years, but as I head into retirement...not so much. My main airport is LAX and most of my points reside in AMEX MR, Chase UR or United/AA. I've been utilizing the low hanging fruit of Krisflyer for Asia and MileagePlus for Swiss metal to Europe...but that's drying up and I think I'm missing out on broader and more efficient award options. Is learning to use a tool like expertflyer the next step?...is that even still the best? I'd like to obtain a comprehensive view of award inventory between destinations and learn the ropes of booking that inventory (ie avoid pitfalls like phantom inventory) on my own. The blogs are all over the place, so I'm hoping to get some general guidance. Also happy to be redirected if I'm thinking about this incorrectly.
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Old Mar 30, 2024, 9:22 pm
  #2  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: WAS
Programs: Free Agent
Posts: 1,752
Unless your hourly rate is obscene, there is typically value in learning how to DIY. That said, the points economy is a scarcity economy - and the airlines pull all the levers. ExpertFlyer no longer has *A availability and the advent (~5 or so years ago) of dynamic pricing has made things more complicated. Sweet spots still exist, but only you can determine if it is worth your time (or you can be comfortable paying a premium for the dynamic price).
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