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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 Aug 15, 18, 12:52 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. Currently giving 10% discount when you mention FT. 20% off per referral.
  • 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 May 14, 18, 8:55 am
  #631  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Programs: AA Lifetime Platinum/Million Miler; Four Seasons; Fairmont; HH; etc.; "Retirees-In-Training"
Posts: 214
Originally Posted by 141park View Post
Which booking services have you used with success? Thanks!
We've been using "Jasper2009", who posts here on FT, and that's how we found his service.
His website is:

Award Bookings - Luxury Travel Consulting Luxury Travel Consulting

(I'm not sure why this isn't appearing as 'clickable' in the preview, but it should be if you hover on the above line.)

At the time we first started working with him, our only interest was in getting those precious (to us!) premium international tickets. We really wanted to try to get F, not just J, so that can be extra challenging. Fortunately, we are usually at least somewhat flexible on travel dates, which definitely helps.

We "started" our awards F experience by easily being able to get two F seats on JL for ourselves. Great start!

Then... we tried to get CX F seats for the return, and... well... that was going nowhere fast. He helped us get 1F and 1J, while we waited/hoped for another F, or for 2F's within a day or two. He was able to monitor for these while we were traveling in Japan, and it wouldn't have been easy for us to keep searching. Plus, we didn't really want to spend a lot of our precious travel time always fretting about trying to search again for those F seats, etc. At approximately that 2 week prior to flight date window, another F seat opened up

It turned out that he's also a travel agent, and can usually get us some perks that are similar to what we'd get from Amex Plat Travel. And we get terrific personalized service(which certainly is *not* the case these days with Amex).
Since then, he's helped us with several other trips, both the awards air travel, hotels, and now even some cruises with some extra perks that were worth a tidy sum.

GC
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Old May 14, 18, 9:30 am
  #632  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Florida
Programs: Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, SPG Platinum, Delta Diamond, Hyatt Platinum
Posts: 184
Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
We've been using "Jasper2009", who posts here on FT, and that's how we found his service.
His website is:

Award Bookings - Luxury Travel Consulting Luxury Travel Consulting

(I'm not sure why this isn't appearing as 'clickable' in the preview, but it should be if you hover on the above line.)

At the time we first started working with him, our only interest was in getting those precious (to us!) premium international tickets. We really wanted to try to get F, not just J, so that can be extra challenging. Fortunately, we are usually at least somewhat flexible on travel dates, which definitely helps.

We "started" our awards F experience by easily being able to get two F seats on JL for ourselves. Great start!

Then... we tried to get CX F seats for the return, and... well... that was going nowhere fast. He helped us get 1F and 1J, while we waited/hoped for another F, or for 2F's within a day or two. He was able to monitor for these while we were traveling in Japan, and it wouldn't have been easy for us to keep searching. Plus, we didn't really want to spend a lot of our precious travel time always fretting about trying to search again for those F seats, etc. At approximately that 2 week prior to flight date window, another F seat opened up

It turned out that he's also a travel agent, and can usually get us some perks that are similar to what we'd get from Amex Plat Travel. And we get terrific personalized service(which certainly is *not* the case these days with Amex).
Since then, he's helped us with several other trips, both the awards air travel, hotels, and now even some cruises with some extra perks that were worth a tidy sum.

GC
Thank you!
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Old May 23, 18, 7:16 pm
  #633  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Gold, Club Carlson Gold, National EE, *G
Posts: 384
Hello,

We would like to help you out with your award service needs, especially to help some folks who might not have the time to do the research, etc. themselves. Let us handle the hard part for you. Because airline award bookings is all we do, we are familiar with the various ins and outs of the various programs and really enjoy helping out our clients.

I've posted my info in the wiki and the direct link for more info is https://www.jjawardtravel.com

I've been on the forum since 2012 and I've also had a chance to fly all over the world and want to apply my experiences to helping you have great travels. A good majority of the awards booked we have traveled on those airlines ourselves.

Please feel to reach out to me here or directly through my website. Wiki has more info. Mention you're from Flyertalk and you'll get 10% off as a thank you. Also, 20% referral discount per person you refer. They'll receive the discount on their first award service and you'll receive it on any subsequent award service.

Also happy to have a general phone consultation to get your started with the points/miles arena. Price can be agreed upon.

Thanks

Last edited by PointsNmiles; Jul 18, 18 at 6:07 pm
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Old May 29, 18, 4:50 pm
  #634  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: DAY
Programs: Marriott Platinum, HHonors Diamond, AA ExPLT
Posts: 97
TLDR: I used Juicy Miles to help book a trip to New Zealand in premium cabins for the Mrs. and me. James was very helpful, and if I really needed assistance I would use Juicy Miles again.

I am taking my wife to New Zealand next March. I looked through this thread and also did some internet searches and made a few phone calls trying to pick a booking service. I settled on Juicy Miles because the price was reasonable compared to most other services I looked at, and I figured that since it is affiliated with a blog that they wouldnít want bad press since it would affect a couple of income streams (if they were awful the blog would likely lose sponsorships- maybe Iím wrong on that). Juicy Miles charged me $250 for the round trip service.

I contacted them more than a year out and gave James my parameters, my various points balances, and tried to be flexible in my available departure airports (Iím on the East Coast in the mid-Atlantic region) and James got back with me fairly quickly with some ďmaskedĒ itineraries. East Coast City Ė Asian City (or middle East city) Ė Auckland, cost of XXX Chase/Amex points and approx. XXX dollars in taxes and fees. He had four options going each way. At that point I paid the fee and he got back with the unmasked data, showing airlines, itineraries, etc. A real jerk could probably figure out what the itineraries were based on the masked data, but if you have that kind of time just search for them yourself rather than trying to cheat someone whoís trying to make a living.

After some discussion based on the initial options, and some changes I made based on what James said was available once we could talk freely about the various options, we figured out that I would be able to fly onto the North Island and leave from the South Island, which was something I really wanted to do. I settled on a Korean Air outbound (in business) from IAD-ICN-AKL. I needed to pick up some additional Chase points to make that happen, so James put the itinerary on hold for 30 days (which he eventually extended to 60 while I waited for the points to post). This required 195k (97.5k each person) Chase points transferred to Korean Air, and a little over $600 in taxes/fees.

For the return Iím going with CHC-MEL (QF) in domestic first, then MEL-NRT (in J on a JAL 787), NRT-ORD (JAL F on 777), and then ORD-DCA on AA. The return was booked with AA points, which I had plenty of. This priced as two awards, but if it was all in J it wasnít that much more than a direct, which NEVER seems to open in sAAver (I had watched that a little on my own- thatís what led me to look for a booking service). This way Iíll get to try out JALís F, which Iím excited about. Itís ultimately going to be four legs when in a perfect world 2 or 3 might have been possible, but I went into this with my eyes open and Iím comfortable with it (and happy to try JALís F). This cost me 240k AA miles (South Pacific - Asia 1 in J, 40k each; Asia 1 - US 48 states in F, 80k each) a little over $200 in taxes.

Everything was done over email. James was very communicative- overall there were 38 emails back and forth (according to my iphone) and I rarely had to wait very long for a response. I asked a lot of questions about different options before deciding what was best for me. He walked me through setting up a Korean Air account and how to set up the family member stuff (you can only book tickets for direct family members on Korean), and worked with me extensively on getting my itinerary as close to ideal as we could. I recommend these people if you're looking for something out of your normal expertise; just understand that they arenít miracle workers.

Also the payment to Juicy Miles coded as travel, so I (unexpectedly) finished the last $80 of my CS Reserve travel credit on the transaction.
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Last edited by T. Sanderson; May 29, 18 at 8:00 pm Reason: Typos
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Old Jul 28, 18, 4:02 pm
  #635  
Moderator: Travel Safety/Security, Travel Tools, California, Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: VNY | BUR | LAX
Programs: AAdvantage | MileagePlus
Posts: 10,168
Exclamation Moderator's Action

A recent question about booking two saver award seats from Europe to the US using AS/AA/UA/LifeMiles was moved to the following thread in the Information Desk:
Looking for 2 One Way F/J Saver Awards on 10/11 from Europe to LAX/SFO/LAS/DFW
TWA884
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Old Aug 1, 18, 8:13 pm
  #636  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 2
Question Award Travel Confusion

I'm hoping to book award travel from EWR or JFK to KTM in late October. I have 100k United points, 120k Chase Sapphire points (or whatever they are called), plus various other points from hotels, credit cards. I'm completely befuddled by the booking process, and would like to use a booking service. But there is so much old, and sometimes conflicting, information in this thread that I am now befuddled x2. Has anyone had recent (like in the last 6 months, or year) experience with one of these services? Are certain services better for some tasks than others? Should I be cautious about anything?
All advice/information/recommendations very welcomed! (And apologies if I posted this in the wrong place--I'm new here.)
Thanks!
KP
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Old Aug 1, 18, 8:31 pm
  #637  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 12,185
Originally Posted by knitpunk View Post
I'm hoping to book award travel from EWR or JFK to KTM in late October. I have 100k United points, 120k Chase Sapphire points (or whatever they are called), plus various other points from hotels, credit cards.
For an award October is close. Awards can become available 355/330 days out depending on the ffp

Another thread ---> Help with BOS-KTM award ticket
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Old Aug 25, 18, 9:32 pm
  #638  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Programs: AA
Posts: 356
I have something of an etiquette question. I have a half million miles and points in a couple different currencies. I know I can redeem some of these at outrageous rates for the itineraries I'm looking to book. For example, I can transfer several hundred thousand UR points to United and fly in business class round trip to Europe. But I'm looking to engage an award booking service to find more creative ways to get saver or partner bookings that I can't do easily myself. Is it appropriate to engage an award booking service with this type of criteria? If you own such a service, do you welcome that constraint on the intake form? Or is it pretty much if you find a flight from A->B on the dates and class of service I want, that's a successful match regardless of how many miles it costs?
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Old Aug 25, 18, 9:37 pm
  #639  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Gold, Club Carlson Gold, National EE, *G
Posts: 384
In my view it's completely appropriate for the client to decide the parameters they want. However, the more restrictive the parameters are, the more difficult it will likely be for any award service to fully achieve what the client is trying to achieve.

Last edited by PointsNmiles; Aug 25, 18 at 10:10 pm
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Old Aug 25, 18, 9:46 pm
  #640  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Programs: AA
Posts: 356
Originally Posted by PointsNmiles View Post
I'm my view it's completely appropriate for the client to decide the parameters they want. However, the more restrictive the parameters are, the more difficult it will likely be for any award service to fully achieve what the client is trying to achieve.

Thanks and I understand that - how do you propose I word it? I don't necessarily have a firm limit; I just would use a service to find a redemption that I can't find easily myself. It's totally my intention to pay (I've used an award service twice before) but I want to be clear upfront that I've done basic work that yields pretty ridiculous redemption requirements.
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Old Aug 25, 18, 9:48 pm
  #641  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Gold, Club Carlson Gold, National EE, *G
Posts: 384
I would just be very up-front with whomever you go with and set out the parameters of exactly what you are looking for. Oftentimes this information can be typed in on the intake form. Some services charge a deposit fee that's not refundable (because of the time involved in searching,) others do not. I would go with what you are comfortable with.
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Last edited by PointsNmiles; Aug 25, 18 at 10:12 pm
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Old Oct 2, 18, 1:58 am
  #642  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: UA 1K/MM, CX Silver, LY TL, Marriot G
Posts: 643
Do any of these services offer bookings for GPU upgrades (for UA and LH) on international tickets?
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Old Oct 12, 18, 7:18 pm
  #643  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: AA Exec Plat, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 1
My experience with 2 booking services:

Book Your Award (Steve/Ceca), horrible experience for an urgent booking and trapping 100K+ MR points in a useless program since it took them over 3 days to book the award which had disappeared at that point. I provided access to all accounts and instantly transferred for 100k+ points from MR to the Air France within the hour. 24 hours pass and I didn't receive any notification so I asked for an update which they informed me they had not begun. At night I heard nothing back and asked for another update in which they informed me the 2 airlines could not be contacted via phone due to weather and that they would try tomorrow. At this point I started to suspect this was a bs excuse so I called AA and Air France that night, AA picked up in 2 min, Air France picked up in 13min. By the 3rd day, I had to ask again for an update in which they informed me the award flight had been lost. Now I have 100k+ stuck in Air France with no reversal possible. For a service that advertises award searching and booking all done on your behalf, I got the exact opposite. Should have just worked with the airline agents that I got on the 2nd day to hold the awards but hindsight is 20/20.

Luxury Travel Consulting (Jasper2009), very good experience, came recommended after reading this thread and finding out others had issues with BYA. Had to quickly find another option after BYA drained my MR account. Gave Jasper2009 my balances and in a few hours, he came up with better awards flights with less connections and the value of the award was 40% less points than the attempted BYA award for same class and an even better asian airline. I did have to book myself but I think after this experience, that is just the best way to go for urgent travel. I will definitely be using Jasper2009s services in the future especially since he can take care of hotels as well with similar benefits to amex fine hotels.

I'm usually quite busy in meetings all day so I would highly value a full booking service option in the future in case anyone has recommendations.

Last edited by TWA884; Oct 12, 18 at 8:50 pm
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Old Oct 12, 18, 8:04 pm
  #644  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 2
To add to this, I had a terrific experience with JJ Award Travel [jjawardtravel.com]. I contacted them pretty late for a hard-to-find itinerary and they delivered.They did an enormous amount of research, were incredibly responsive to all of my (many, many) questions no matter when I emailed, kept providing me with options until I was satisfied, and their fee was very fair, especially in light of the huge amount of work they did. I appreciated the fact that they were very protective of my award points so I did not park them somewhere irreversible, and they were very generous with sharing information. I booked the flight myself, but I used their step-by-step (idiot-proof) directions. I should also mention that I contacted several other consultants and they were either non-responsive, slow to respond (as in days), or just couldn't find anything and gave up. JJ Award is clearly a very experienced group with great customer service. Highly recommended, and I will use them again.
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Old Nov 1, 18, 8:46 pm
  #645  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: US Air, UA BA LH AI DELTA MARRIOTT CHOICE SGP
Posts: 8,328
A very pleasant experience. Contacted James at Juicy Miles. Gave him the parameters for two Business Class seats from South Asia to USA, ORD> He asked some more fact finding questions and went to work. He came back with three suggestions. (No BA was an edict!). Unfortunately for whatever reasons seats were almost impossible to acquire in Jan 5 to Jan 16 period. All the suggestions required extra stops or buying an extra ticket for cash for the final US Domestic sector. All this coupled with wife's reluctance worked against a positive decision.
James was gracious when I declined the offers and said I will pursue cash tickets such as MH or even wait a bit......(Missed a great SQ deal )
SO hats off to him and Juicy Miles for their work ethic. I will certainly look him up first when I need to.
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