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Do you ever use a travel agent? Maybe that’s a silly question to ask miles and points people, but maybe not! I came across a blog piece written by Christine over at Frugal Travel Guy. She points out that there are several situations where it’s “prudent and even beneficial” to use a professional. And I agree. I have two cousins who are long-time travel agents and are dedicated to their clients, but you know what I found out? Neither of them knew much at all about miles and points.
Christine’s reasoning for using travel agents got me thinking, and so much of what she said also pertained to using a miles and points award booking service like Juicy Miles (our affiliate link). So let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons and see if you should EVER use an award booking service.
1. An event that’s too important to leave to chance is a good reason to use an award booking service. Special occasions are, after all, special. I’d say getting to safari locations, big events where you need multiple seats, and honeymoons, certainly qualify. I’m not saying getting multiple awards seats is always easy, but I’d certainly suggest that a professional has a bird’s eye view into whether or not that’s even possible given your miles/points, destination, and dates.
2. Complicated itineraries as a good reason to enlist the help of a professional. Certainly that reason ranks HIGH on using an award booking service, as well. If you’ll need to use several airlines, be moving around a lot from city to city, concerned about open jaws, and getting the maximum value from your miles, having a professional set of eyes looking at all the options really makes sense. The award bookers know the best layover options and can often set alerts for itineraries you want.
3. One of the best benefits of using professional help is to have what I call “headache helpers” when something goes wrong. If you tell me you’ve never had something go wrong… well I just wouldn’t believe you. Here’s a recent example from my own travels. I had a United flight canceled for a long haul trip to Europe. I got the email a few months before the trip. United said to call them. I’ve had lots of travel headaches but had actually never had a flight canceled way ahead of time like this. I emailed my award booking team. I got an email back telling me when I call United exactly what flights to request. My award booking team found me an even better itinerary that came with a domestic leg in first class and I even received a miles rebate. To say I was pleased with this outcome would be an understatement! Many people have told me that traveling during rough weather periods creates quite a headache and how great it’s been to have their award booking team rebook flights and help them out.
4. Using a travel agent can come with perks when you don’t have status. Though in a different way, this is true using an award booking service, too. Here’s my thinking. Often I’ll rely on the expertise of my award booker to help me decide if using extra miles is worth it on certain itineraries. Maybe using extra miles for business class is worth it because it will come with lounge access and I’ll have a long airport layover. This was the case for me on a long airport layover I had in Santiago, Chile. My LAN flight came with access to the LAN lounge and it was one of my best airport lounge adventures ever.
You may be thinking, “But what about the booking fee?” It’s been my experience over and over again that the extensive knowledge that comes with using a professional to help book an award trip can often save money and save miles, which more than makes up for the booking fee!
Have you ever used an award booking service? If not, check out Juicy Miles (our affiliate link) and start planning your next big adventure today! I would love to hear your thoughts if you have used a travel agent or award booking service recently. Happy Easter everyone!