Reader MR. D asks, “I would like to book a ticket to Bombay India from Miami in three months for Christmas. I have about 130K UR. Can you help me?”
I like helping people with their dream trip, but at the same time I like to be completely honest. You are probably too late. Christmas season is probably the hardest time of the year to book award tickets. You either have to book them around 330 days before or gamble and get lucky about 2 weeks out when some airlines release more availability. This is still a possibility but not guaranteed. Plus since he only has Ultimate Rewards, he can’t mix and match two different airline miles. Often I book one leg with AA miles and the other leg with United miles.
I’ve stated that Chase Ultimate Rewards is the best flexible program that can let you travel almost anywhere in the world. However, the problem that most people face is that once they get the points, it’s hard to find tickets for their ideal destination.
Flexibility, advanced planning, and diversity of points is the key to booking your ideal ticket. This reader did not meet any of those three criteria. He had to go to India during Christmas time, waited until the last minute, and only has one points currency to search for award tickets.
Sorry MR D! I hope you don’t become upset and think frequent flyer programs are scams. I like to be honest when it comes with points and miles. Just because you collect the points doesn’t mean you’ll be able to successfully travel when and where you want to without any planning. The doors don’t magically open(sometimes they do). That’s why I encourage people to have travel goals, plan continuously, diversify their miles, and be flexible.
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