If you're sitting on a collection of frequent flyer points, but aren't sure how to get what you want from them, the answer is finally here.
So, you've got frequent flying points banked up and you're ready for a holiday - all you need now is to secure your flight and you're set!
Point Hacks’ spokesperson and frequent flyer expert, Daniel Sciberras, details that securing that flight you want with points is all down to good old fashioned research and patience.
“No matter what award flight you’re aiming to redeem your points on, securing award seats takes patience, planning, knowledge and some creativity," he explains. "It’s about taking the time to do the research, knowing which rewards programs to book through and being flexible not just with your dates but with your flight routes as well.”
Here, Daniel shares his top tips for getting the most out of your frequent flyer points:
Daniel suggests making use of your frequent flyer provider's award calendar.
"Generally, you will find more reward seats on airlines the further in advance you start looking, particularly when their award calendar opens up," he says. "Most programs allow you to book award flights around 350 days before departure. The Qantas award calendar opens 353 days in advance, while Velocity opens 330 days in advance."
Sign up to independent award search platforms
"Sites such as ExpertFlyer.com, AwardNexus.com and KVSTool.com are platforms that allow you to search for specific upgrades or award spaces on flights," Daniel tells.
He adds that you can also set alerts through these platforms to let you know when award flights are released.
Don’t limit your flight search to one airline
Daniel says it's important to remember to look at airline partners when you're searchin gfor flights.
"If you’re looking to redeem Velocity Points, look into redemptions on its partner airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Delta," he details. "When searching for award flights on Velocity’s website, partner flights will show up automatically. For example, a Sydney to LA flight doesn’t have to be a direct one on Qantas. Consider going via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific or Nadi on Fiji Airways, for example – a Qantas Partner – to redeem your points."
Call your airline booking platform
Despite what we think, not every available flight is within reach from our keyboard, so Daniel advises to make a phone call to your airline booking platform to double check.
"When searching award flights on the booking platform, not all partner airline award flights will appear," he says. "Calling to ask if they can find additional flights may come at a small fee, but it is worth it if you can find the suitable flight for you. The Membership Contact Centre fee range from $40 to $70 or from 5,200 to 8,800 points, depending on route."
Keep it in check
Even if you've gotten in nice and early, Daniel says it doesn't hurt to keep checking for a redemption until the last minute - especially in the five days right before your departure date.
"As the findings from Point Hacks’ analysis shows, certain routes on an airline and class still have availability when booking two days out," he reveals. "Cancellations also happen the closer you get to a flight, so it is worth checking the calendar regularly."