What do I do When I’m Stumped Booking an Award Ticket?

Do you ever get frustrated when you’re booking an award ticket? Or trying to use points for hotel rooms? Or are those the stupidest questions ever? Of course you do. I do, we all do.  Even Grant gets his knickers in a twist every now and again when booking his travels!

A few months ago, Jennifer at Jetsetter’s Homestead wrote about what to do when your seat assignment sucks, as well as other travel mistakes she’s made. I like her writing style because she’s honest about when things go wrong and when she forgets to use her own best practices, but she’s also proactive about fixing situations as best she can. She talks about screwing up seat assignments, having to sometimes switch flights, and other costly mistakes she has made, and it got me thinking about the cost of travel, especially travel using miles and points, that goes beyond the fees we pay that are tacked onto award tickets or hotels booked with points. There’s a cost to the time we spend researching and actually booking our flights. The cost time ratio is one we all have to figure out.

I’m busy, both professionally and personally, as I’m sure you are too. And while I take enormous pleasure in the awesome privilege of traveling, it’s the travel and the planning of what to see and explore that actually brings me pleasure, not booking the trips. I know for some, it’s the game of accruing miles and points that’s the most fun. And for others, it’s the hunt for the perfect award space or crazy routing that’s possible on award trips. But I’m in neither of those camps. My camp is called Camp Get Me There In Business Class With A Lie Flat Seat. I have a feeling (due to the lack of business class award seats), that my camp is full of people just like me :)

Lufthansa A380 Lie Flat First Class Seat.
Image source: https://www.businesstraveller.com/news/2015/01/11/lufthansa-a380-what-you-need-to-know/

Given my camp “philosophy,” the cost in terms of my time is simply too high for me to book all my trips. It’s just something I’m not good at. So being honest about this makes me a firm believer in asking for help. When I write lists like Jennifer does about the travel mistakes I’ve made, the first one that comes to mind is that I used to spend way too much time trying to piece together award tickets.

Most recently, I was trying to piece together a vacation to Europe for later this year using one stash of miles going there and another stash coming back. Actually, I wasn’t even sure which were the best miles to use from my stash. Phantom availability, which is when flight award space LOOKS available but in reality it isn’t available, kept showing up. I’d start and then stop the task of booking the trip each time my frustration level got too high, and I realized if I didn’t get some help, I’d be staying home rather than enjoying Europe.

As I’ve often done, I let Juicy Miles handle the award ticket for me. I had already spent way more than their fee in that cost to time ratio I mentioned, and within a few days of reaching out to Juicy Miles, my trip was booked. They knew which miles were the best to use for my travels. They know my “camp motto” from all the previous trips I’ve booked using their service, so Europe in Business Class With Lie Flat Seats here I come.

Have you given Adam and his team at Juicy Miles a chance yet? They are up for the task, I can promise you that. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment. And have a great time, wherever your miles and points take you next!

8 thoughts on “What do I do When I’m Stumped Booking an Award Ticket?

  1. Dan

    I have never needed an award booking service but could certainly see a time for it if I need to book a trip on shorter notice and am busy at work. The time vs. expense ratio is always important to remember in this hobby.

    That said, this does seem like coming real close to an ad for Juicy Miles versus an article.

    1. shelli

      HI Dan, and thanks for stopping by. I think many people in this hobby, whether on the accumulating end of miles/points or on the spending end of miles and points, forget about the time vs expense ratio. It’s easy to get carried away on both ends. I’ve been using Juicy Miles since 2013, so it’s true, I’m a very enthusiastic fan of their services. And I still use them.

  2. James

    I feel you, bro! Trying to get to Caribbean islands when AA owns the routes I want to take with next to no reasonable awards… c’mon, SW, expand quickly!

    1. shelli

      Hi James, Shelli here. Don’t get me started on trying to use my stash of AA miles! I think a lot of people are in the “c’mon, SW, expand quickly” camp with you. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Chris W.

    Using a service like this can make sense for a single person, cost-wise, but I book for my family of three and can’t justify the cost no matter what.

    1. shelli

      HI Chris, Have you checked with Juicy Miles about the costs for multiple bookings? Just curious, because I’ve booked tickets for more than one person and the second booking is always less than the first. Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply.


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