ExpertFlyer vs Award Booking Services

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by govtmule, May 31, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. govtmule

    govtmule Active Member

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    I'm new to the miles/points games, and I'm not sure if these are the right questions. I'll ask, and hope I learn something.

    To get good value, I think I'll need a tool or person to help me book my first few (complicated international) awards, until I learn more about the various award programs.

    How does a basic (or premium) paid membership to Expert Flyer compare to using an award booking service?

    Clearly, an award booking service is the easiest to use, since someone else takes care of almost everything. But with three travelers (wife, kid and me), it will be significantly more expensive.

    Does Expert Flyer provide enough tools to approximate an award booking service if I spend some time and effort?
     
  2. wombat18
    Original Member

    wombat18 Silver Member

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    Expert Flyer or the KVS Tool are both great (you only need one), as you learn the 'insides' of the award booking game. Both have good forums here at milepoint. And don't forget the Milepoint Premium Membership gets you 20% off Expert Flyer (and many other goodies!)

    But, nothing beats the experienced knowledge of an award booking service. Those folks often find routes that you'd never have thought of (eg. flying through Asia to get to Australia/New Zealand), or have a familiarity that you're not aware of (eg. which trans-ocean airlines don't have lie-flat beds in business class). And, to be frank, sometimes it is nice not to have to wait on hold to book an award ticket with the airlines, only to get an ill-informed airline person and have to hang-up and dial again.
     
  3. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    I am in agreement with Wombat. I think I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to using points/miles and if I do have a question both milepoint and flyertalk are great resources to get the answers you need... BUT... when it comes to some of the bookings and all of the ins and outs you really can't beat someone who is a professional at it. I wouldn't be surprised if I do use an award booking service at some point just for the ease of it.
     
    Singapore Flyer likes this.
  4. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I'm someone who likes to have control when I travel, so I would rather generally do it myself than take a package tour or use a booking service. I want to see my options rather than having someone tell me what they think is best for me. I'm also not sure about giving someone control of my FF account, especially since they are not travel agents, but OTOH, what's the point of paying if the service doesn't book the award for you too, so that you get the seats before they disappear. Finally, I have the impression that I know more about my FF programs as they apply to my situation than some of the people around here who have award booking services.
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Also keep in mind that, depending on where your miles/points are, the resources available for getting the exact same data are, in many cases available for free through other venues. Want *A award availability? Use the UA site in most cases or ANA or Aeroplan. Those are the same sources used by KVS and EF for the most part. That's just one example but there are others. Also, there are many other tools available online if all you want is award searches. AwardNexus and FliSea come to mind, as does my set of tools.

    If you choose a booking service insist on no charge if they don't find the itinerary which works for you. Most offer that approach but worth double-checking to be certain.
     

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