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Award booking services - a list and some reviews

Award booking services - a list and some reviews

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Old Dec 23, 18, 3:41 am   -   Wikipost
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This list is not an endorsement of any particular award booking service.
Please do your research and read this thread.


See the FT Disclaimers for disclaimer of responsibility for use of these services, etc.
Please add other services and options you know about to this wiki.
Also, please post any personal experiences you may have with any of these services in this thread.


Award booking services (alphabetical):
  • Award Advocate - Domestic $100 p/p International $125 p/p, no additional charge for last minute. Changes $50. Also 10% discount for families traveling with children and active military
  • AwardBird - Economy: $39 for the 1st passenger and $19 for each additional; Business/First: $69 for the 1st passenger and $39 for each additional
  • Award Booking Service - $25 up front search fee plus $150/ticket & $49 per 30-minute skype consultations (ask anything!)
  • Award Butler - Award Search: $79 for up to two passengers; flight info provided but does not include booking. Booking starting at $149 for first two passengers.
  • Award Chaser - Search fee starting at $79. Itinerary only - no booking provided
  • Awarding Canada - Specializing in awards for Canadians, especially with Aeroplan, but with expertise available for anyone, worldwide. $150CAD for first passenger, $100CAD per passenger thereafter. Infants charged $25 instead. 2% discount if paid by Interace-Transfer.
  • Award Guru - $100 flat fee. Unlimited number of passengers. Website down as of 23-June-2018
  • Award Planners - One way $129, additional person $99; Round trip $199, additional person $99; Multi City $249 additional person $149
  • Award Travel Consulting - Award Search: $125/person; Booking ticket: $75/itinerary; changes: new trip
  • Awardmagic - $179 per person OW/RT plus one stop or $279 per person for three or more destinations
  • Awards & Travel - (iqbalt from FT) $100 for the first person; $50 for additional personnel. Explorer and RTW awards will be $200/ per person. Website down as of 23-June-2018
  • Book Your Award - (Gary Leff/View From The Wing): Booking: $185 per person; changes: $75 per person, each way
  • Boundless Miles - (Dominik Żmuda/Travelling the World): Booking: $50 USD per passenger, $25 change/cancellation fee per passenger
  • CabinChief - Bookings are $49 per pax
  • Cranky Concierge - $75 per person each way domestic; $95 per person each way international
  • First Class and Beyond - "Concierge-style" bookings. Fee is based on the value of the retail ticket, $250/person minimum.
  • Flightfox - Consultative flight searching; fees start at $100 (requires credit card authorization up front)
  • iflywithmiles.com - (Mike/Melissa): 150 USD first person, 85 for additional person on same itin. Change fees vary.
  • JJ Award Travel - $175 for the first person/$75 each additional. Complex awards more. Mention FT for 10% off. Exclusive only for FT members.
  • Juicy Miles - (Adam/Point Me to the Plane): $125 per person for the first two travelers. $100 per each additional traveler. For Round-the-World (RTW) awards, pricing will vary
  • Loophole Travel - Award Travel Coaching $150 for first passenger and $100 for each additional passenger. Points Earning and MS Coaching also available.
  • Luxury Travel Consulting - (Jasper2009 on Flyertalk): $150 per person per ticket
  • MilesConcierge - (callmedtop on FT) "High-touch" award bookings, emphasizing personalized engagement for every customer. $125 for first passenger, $100 for each additional. Not accepting new bookings as of 23-June-2018
  • MilesElite - $99 for award search and $149 for award search and booking. No such domain as of 23-June-2018
  • Miles Help - Domestic: $100 OW; $140 RT/complex. International: $150 OW; $200 RT/complex. $50 each additional person
  • Miles Momma Booking Services - Airline Booking: $200 up to 2 passengers. $75 additional passengers. $50 non-refundable up front. Changes $50
  • MileValue Award Booking Service - (Scott Grimmer): Booking: $125 per person per award; $15 up front. Full payment required for successful search even if not booked. Change fee not currently listed; previously $79
  • PMM Travel Consulting - (Miguel R. Quinones/AwardWallet Blog): Booking: $125 per passenger for the first two, $99 for each additional. Additional charges for complex itineraries. Credit card advice and travel planning services.
  • PointsPros - (Ben Schlappig/One Mile At A Time): Booking: $300 first passenger, changes: $100
  • Reward Flyer - Domestic: $50 first person; $25 each additional person. International: $100 first person; $50 each additional person
  • Shrewd Travel - (skyvanman on FT) Booking: $250 per person; changes: varies; Available via phone or e-mail or even FT PM. Website down as of 23-June-2018
  • SFO777.com - (SFO777 on FT) Booking: $200 first passenger, $100 each additional passenger; change fees vary
  • The Flying Mustache - $100 per ticket; additional fees for more than eight segments. Change fees vary
  • The Points Jet Setter - $150 for the first passenger and $75 per each additional passenger. Website down as of 23-June-2018
  • Upgrd Awards - (MatthewLAX on FT, Live and Let's Fly blog) $150 first passenger, $100 each additional passenger; $250 per person for RTW; changes $75 but can vary. $50/ticket booking fee
  • zainman - FT member since 2009. Booking: $200 first passenger, $100 each additional passenger; change fees vary, consultant services for $ as well
  • Zero Hassle Rewards - $100 per person. Discounts for domestic and one-way
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Old Nov 15, 13, 3:40 pm
  #196  
b8b
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SXSW
Programs: DL Plat; HH Diamond; SPG & Hyatt Plat
Posts: 966
Originally Posted by Retale_88 View Post
Obviously, there are a lot of factors to come into play....notably how "busy" one is when you contact them. ...
Looking back, I would have to agree with most of the statements made by Retale_88 had as I too experienced these in one form or another. His request-capturing/tracking system has some shortcomings and I apparently missed emails from him and him from me, so he put me on a later flight when I had specifically requested an earlier one.

That said, compared to the others I've used, I've still had the best, most consistent experience with UPGRD, though I would give only four stars out of 5 for timely response (which can vary).

http://awardplanners.com/ seemed to be very responsive as well. Very nice website.

Last edited by b8b; Nov 25, 13 at 8:16 pm
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Old Nov 15, 13, 7:35 pm
  #197  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 38
I would appreciate if you add my site to the list of award booking services.

I run AwardAssist, an award booking service catering for both english and russian speaking customers.
Similar to the other sites, if we can't find what you are looking for there is no charge.

Thanks a lot.
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Old Nov 18, 13, 8:02 pm
  #198  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Agreed

Time is money , which makes it well worth it

Last edited by l'etoile; Nov 18, 13 at 9:30 pm
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Old Nov 19, 13, 2:16 pm
  #199  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Los Angeles / Basel
Posts: 24,634
Originally Posted by janewu77 View Post
I'm new to this booking service and have read the last 10 pages - seems like b8b is the only one who has posted over 10 positive reviews for UPRGD -

B8B must be smitten by UPRGDs service?

I'm been reading that for the most part people are unhappy about how long it takes for service providers to get back. How quick is UPRGD?
Hi janewu77,

I run the UPGRD Award Expert Service and appreciate your inquiry.

Our turnaround time is 24-48 hours and I personally respond to every client who contacts us. I will also be honest with you--if the space is not feasible or you do not have enough points, I will not waste your time.

A couple things--first, my agency differs from many others in that chances are (as is the case with almost every client), I or one of my team has been to the place where you are going. I have personally been to 110 countries and cannot only offer you advice on how best to use your points, but can help you out with any questions about your destinations--hotels, transportation, points of interest, visas, etc.

Second, I will be happy to pick up the phone and call you if you would rather talk on the phone. Miscommunication via e-mail can result in missing key award space and I make it an effort to immediately understand exactly what your expectations are for your trip.

Originally Posted by b8b View Post
10 reviews - really? Wow. Maybe he should comp me some bookings then for the advertising!

I've just booked a lot with him, found him responsive, really knowledgable, innovative, and able to book 4 of us on the same flights in J, which can be tough. Using the IMDB scale, I'd give him an 8.7 - not perfect, but we're all human and I'm not the easiest customer. I think he's booked around 16 tickets for me so far.

I've also tried a lot of others, I tend to stick to a service that works well. His responsiveness depends on if he's traveling, but I think he also has a team, but when I've needed him, he was there and reasonably responsive. I could only suggest you give him a try and see.
Thank you b8b. I have appreciated your business and enjoyed building some rather exotic trips for you and your family.

For others--I specialize in family bookings, finding you several seats on the same flights. That ties back to my point above. If you are going on a family vacation and are choosing among multiple destinations, why don't you contact me and not only can I evaluate your options using credit card or airline points, but i can also guide your destination choice.

Originally Posted by Retale_88 View Post
Obviously, there are a lot of factors to come into play....notably how "busy" one is when you contact them. But I used UPGRD for a booking a while back and ultimately just feel "OK" about the service. First of all, we got off to a very slow start (barely one email reply per 24hr period) for the first week or so. It was just over 2 weeks from the time I requested service to the time it was booked, fwiw. Only during the last couple days did I feel that he was really working on the itinerary. Also, he wasn't proactive to inform me about taxes/fees/surcharges despite my specific inquiry along the way. Thus I ended up being a bit surprised with the $600 per ticket surcharge.

In the end, he found an acceptable routing - but not truly optimal. I ran out of segments and needed to come up with a domestic (positioning) segment. It was pointed out by another member here that I probably should have eliminated one of the very short (international) segments of the itinerary and just paid out of pocket for it. That would free up one segment for the domestic portion (which was much more costly). I pointed out this to him, obviously after the booking was made, but he never addressed it. At any rate, he did make the booking for me, which is one of the main reasons why I used a service to begin with.

Oh, some of these services advertise "service after the sale." If that's important to you, be sure and discuss that before hand. UPGRD.com doesn't provide it (and to be fair, they don't advertise that they do). But there was a slight change in flights on the itinerary he booked for me and I wrote with a few questions about my alternatives/options - I got no response. Just keep that in mind if important to you.

I don't doubt that there are folks who have had great experiences with UPGRD. But for whatever reason - maybe it was the itinerary I wanted, maybe the fact that I was using SM - it just wasn't an experience to write home about. I'll either use someone else or do it myself next time.
Retale_88, I do regret that you were not fully satisfied with our service and that you received no response regarding a schedule change. I am not sure when you booked with us, but we've gotten much better over the last year, so I do invite you to check back with us. To be fair, if the goal is saver/low award space, we must work with the space available and that often leads to routings that are less than "optimal" but will still get you where you need to go for half the miles of the more direct route.

Regarding post-booking support: we are indeed available to help with schedule changes or if one of your segments on a premium cabin redemption had to be booked in coach, we will monitor that space for you and call to move you up to business or first if the space later opens. Again, my personal apologies that I missed your note.

Originally Posted by b8b View Post
Looking back, I would have to agree with most of the statements made by Retale_88 had as I too experienced these in one form or another. His request-capturing/tracking system has some shortcomings and I apparently missed emails from him and him from me, so he put me on a later flight when I had specifically requested an earlier one.

That said, compared to the others I've used, I've still had the best, most consistent experience with UPGRD, though I would give only three stars out of 5 for timely response (which can vary wildly).
Again, I appreciate your return business and especially after what we are able to accomplish with your last US Airways booking, I hope you will return to UPGRD for your future award trips.
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Old Nov 24, 13, 4:36 am
  #200  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 164
I have used UPGRD now for about 5 or 6 bookings and have always been satisfied with the response time and routings. All my requests for changes were accommodated fast and the poster that said the follow up after the sale is lacking, this hasn't been my experience at all.

-Sunny
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Old Nov 25, 13, 7:14 pm
  #201  
b8b
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SXSW
Programs: DL Plat; HH Diamond; SPG & Hyatt Plat
Posts: 966
Originally Posted by extremeromance View Post
I have used UPGRD now for about 5 or 6 bookings and have always been satisfied with the response time and routings. All my requests for changes were accommodated fast ...
-Sunny
Just hit up UPGRD for another award booking. 4-minute response time!! Can hardly get faster than that!!

I also want to note that I am often booking for two adults in F and two kids in C, or all four in C, and it's tough to do these, yet UPGRD is able to make it happen.
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Old Nov 30, 13, 11:06 am
  #202  
b8b
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SXSW
Programs: DL Plat; HH Diamond; SPG & Hyatt Plat
Posts: 966
Originally Posted by b8b View Post
Just hit up UPGRD for another award booking. 4-minute response time!! Can hardly get faster than that!!

I also want to note that I am often booking for two adults in F and two kids in C, or all four in C, and it's tough to do these, yet UPGRD is able to make it happen.
Update: Just finished a successful booking with UPGRD. Response time was fantastic (within moments are at most within a couple hours) and thorough research, destination and stopover suggestions, even hotel suggestions. So easy to work with.

He was able to book a family of four with two in F and two in C (for 4 long hauls) for 9-segments on a US award and a routing that would be difficult even with a "good" agent and extra convincing (I would have likely spent hours trying to do this with the HUACB method, if I could have succeeded at all).

Having tried most the others and their cumbersome request process, less-than ideal broad range of expertise across all alliances and program, I can't recommend him highly enough! I have used his service for 20 successful bookings now (unless I forgot about a few, which I may have).

Looking forward to working with UPGRD again soon.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 8:48 pm
  #203  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: BUE, SFO, KTW, MCO
Programs: LANPASS, Aerolineas PLUS
Posts: 101
Anyone recommended for OneWorld out of BUE to Europe? Extra would be if via NYC or SFO (though it would be harder as I have LAN kms. that for OW partners run by distance)
Please PM about it so no one complaints about publicity :P
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Old Dec 2, 13, 1:18 pm
  #204  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 564
I wish this list was updated with pricing.
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Old Dec 3, 13, 12:20 pm
  #205  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Programs: Gold, plat, diamond and more
Posts: 3,360
Originally Posted by mrstraveler View Post
I wish this list was updated with pricing.
Good idea. If you or anyone have time, I can update OP with the info. Or rather start a wiki.
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Old Dec 8, 13, 9:06 pm
  #206  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Programs: AA,UA SLV, SPG GLD,Hyatt GP Plat.,National Exec., Hertz Platinum
Posts: 236
I'd like to ask to add Awardmagic to this list.
We charge $139 per person or $249 per person for RTW trips.
www.awardmagic.com
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Old Dec 8, 13, 10:03 pm
  #207  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: LAX
Programs: SW CP, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Explorist, Sixt Diamond, National EE, Hertz 5*
Posts: 593
Originally Posted by travelkid View Post
Good idea. If you or anyone have time, I can update OP with the info. Or rather start a wiki.
For Shrewd Travel we charge $250 per award ticket.

Last edited by skyvanman; Feb 8, 15 at 11:49 pm Reason: We have changed our pricing
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Old Jan 17, 14, 10:22 am
  #208  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SE coast USA
Programs: US, AA, AM, BA, HH, SPG, PC, Carlson, Marriott, Choice
Posts: 306
Thumbs up Thanks, Award Magic!

Just wanted to add our recent experience with Award Magic. Their service was first class from beginning to end in more ways than one! Kevin was exceedingly responsive to our requests and questions, often sending a reply within moments. He was able to book an incredible multiple-stop itinerary for us -First Class on Cathay Pacific, First Class American, First Class USAir, and Business Class on flights that did not have a first class cabin! Award Magic delivered the trip of a lifetime for less than we expected in terms of award miles redeemed, great travel advice for the area and suggestions as how to best use our hotel award nights and points, and very reasonable fees! Oh, and did I mention incredible service? We could not be happier; Award Magic is is aptly named!
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Old Jan 17, 14, 1:52 pm
  #209  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 244
Originally Posted by tahsir21 View Post
I'd like to ask to add Awardmagic to this list.
We charge $139 per person or $249 per person for RTW trips.
www.awardmagic.com
Why do you request each passenger's name and DOB even before you even start to look for award space? I'm not giving up my kids' names and DOBs
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Old Jan 20, 14, 3:05 pm
  #210  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 3,317
I'll add my 2 cents.

Had nothing but positive experiences w/ AwardWallet's booking service (their name is escaping me right now...think it's called Book Your Award).

Easy to work with and down to earth. I'm 3 for 4 with them (the 4th they literally couldn't find a TPAC in biz without including a 12-24 hour layover in Seoul or NRT...probably Delta's fault though!)

I will say this: with so many new companies popping up, I'm not sure how long they can justify $150 per passenger.
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