Consumer Reports, probably the leading consumer-advocacy magazine in the world, recently spent several weeks booking three hundred trips with frequent flyer miles. Bookings were made both online and over the phone.
The magazine discovered that they were able to book awards 93 percent of the time. In some cases, they had to use “double” the miles and travel times and dates had to be negotiated.
(We at InsideFlyer should, for the sake of fairness, point out that the current industry standard award of 25,000 miles is, in fact, a “saver” award; i.e., it is offered as a discount from higher-priced “standard” awards, at the cost of more restrictions.)
Consumer Reports recommends having a plan in advance. Travelers can find out which airline goes to their destination and fly it as often as they can.
The magazine offered the following tips, some of which are not new to mileage junkies, but bear repeating nonetheless (just in case you get tired of us saying it to you):
Editor’s note: We differ on the advice for booking online. If calling helps get the free ticket, pay it.