…. this “Travel + Leisure” travel “expert” that is offering advice on CNN. You’d think it would be hard to get advice wrong in a one minute clip, but I guess I’m wrong.
Let’s go through some of the advice that this “expert” offers CNN viewers:
They’re actually being a little more flexible. They’re allowing you to maybe even book one leg or trying to let you use your miles before you’ve accrued them.
First of all, I have no clue what the first part of that means. “They’re allowing you to maybe even book one leg.” Huh? Second, with only a few exceptions (like Lufthansa), airlines don’t allow you to “use your miles before you’ve accrued them.” I can’t think of any US airline that allows this off the top of my head. Furthermore, the miles have to be paid back or else you pay a hefty fee, so no one will be getting away with a fast one here.
Call the airline directly. The supply of seats is constantly changing and you’re going to get the best answer from someone on the phone.
While this might have been the case in 1999, I disagree with this advice for the most part. The best results will come from doing your own research online, using online award availability search tools, either on the site of the airline you have miles with or on the site of partner airlines with better award tools. Agents are notoriously uncreative and will often only look at direct routings, while you can find more creative routings online. Furthermore, you avoid fees by booking online.
The best return on your miles is often an upgrade and the math substantiates it. Is it better to spend 50,000 miles on an inexpensive seat or on a great seat?
Neither. The best use of your miles is for a premium award ticket, in my opinion. I’m not sure what math you’re using, but my math certainly doesn’t substantiate your conclusion. It’s better to spend 100,000 miles on a business class international award ticket than pay $1,000 for a ticket, pay $1,000 in co-pays, and then use 60,000 miles to upgrade roundtrip, in my book.
(Thanks to FlyerTalker blueone for bringing this to my attention)