I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Every day people come to my Award Booking Service with a few hundred thousand Lufthansa miles and want to fly a Business Class award to Europe. Or worse, they come with 20,000 Turkish miles, 20,000 Lufthansa miles, 20,000 United miles, and 20,000 Asiana miles.

The problem is that most people blindly credit the frequent flyer miles they are earning from paid flights to the airline they’re flying, racking up the wrong kind of miles for the redemptions they want to make. It seems to make sense to credit to the airline you’re flying, and of course the airline you’re flying pushes you to do this. But you shouldn’t blindly credit your miles to the airline you’re flying.

Instead, you should credit miles to the partner that gives you the most valuable miles for the flight.

For instance, today I am flying Turkish Airlines from Vilnius to Belgrade. It’s about 1,500 miles in the air.

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I could credit those miles to Turkish’s Miles & Smiles program, but that would be dumb because Turkish’s program has poor redemption values and because these would be my only Turkish miles, so they’d eventually expire unused.

Instead, I can credit the miles to the frequent flyer program of any Star Alliance carrier.

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I am active with several of these programs, namely United, Avianca, Lufthansa, Singapore, Air Canada, and Copa.

How to Credit to a Partner

You usually have five chances to credit to a partner program:

  1. At ticket purchase
  2. By phone before flying
  3. At check in
  4. At the gate
  5. After the flight

You just need to get your partner frequent flyer number onto the ticket one time at any of those stages. I hadn’t been able to input a frequent flyer number when I purchased this ticket through an online travel agency, but at check in, I was given a dropdown menu with all Turkish’s partners and a chance to input my frequent flyer number.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.10.41 PMOnce added, the miles from the flight should automatically credit to the account you selected some time after travel completes.

Choosing the Right Partner to Credit to

I mentioned that I am active with several Star Alliance programs. How did I choose where to credit the miles from today’s flights?

The miles maximizing answer is to look up how many miles your journey would earn with each program and multiply it by the value you place on miles in that program.

You can google “earn [mileage program] [airline you’re flying]” to get to a page like this United MileagePlus earning table for Turkish flights:

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.19.58 PM

The cheapest economy fares earn 0-75% of mileage flown if you credit to United. With LifeMiles, you earn a few more miles with C, D, K, E, Q, and T fares. (All these letters represent fare buckets.)Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.20.28 PM

Most of the time by looking at your emailed receipt, you can see the fare bucket, but I actually can’t find mine. I could call and ask, but I value my time too highly to make a phone call for an extra few hundred miles.

In the end, I tried to credit to United because I hadn’t even looked up these charts until writing this post, but the Turkish online check in and gate agent’s computer both rejected my United frequent flyer number. So I added my Avianca number. Hopefully I earn credit for the flight, though I suspect my sub-$100 fare might be in buckets W, G, or P and earn me zero mileage credit. (No big deal. I actually didn’t even have to pay for the ticket because it was covered by the $250 Air Travel Credit on my Citi Prestige® Card.)

Bottom Line

Don’t mindlessly collect miles that will be of low redemption value. Don’t collect miles in several different frequent flyer programs in the same alliance when you’d be better off collecting all your miles in one account.

Put a little thought into adding a partner frequent flyer number to your ticket to collect the most and most valuable miles.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.


I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

You can consistently buy one way Business Class tickets between the United States and Europe for around $1,000, even at the last minute. The tickets take a little bit of planning, and a little bit of know-how, but let me emphasize “little bit.” If you normally buy economy, Premium Economy, or Business Class tickets between the United States and Europe, read this article so you can save 75% or more off your next ticket.

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You can book this flat bed on the upper deck of a Lufthansa 747-8 for $1,000 one way

Of course, it is better to just open one of the top travel rewards cards and use the sign up bonus for a free one way trip to Europe (plus $5.60 and up in taxes), but some people travel too much to use open a credit card for all trips or cannot open American credit cards with their huge bonuses.

For those people, there is a way to buy Business Class tickets between the United States and Europe for about $1,000 each way.

Three Steps

  1. Sign up for an Avianca LifeMiles account and select a country of residence in Europe.
  2. Buy 26,400 LifeMiles during the next 120% bonus for $396.
  3. Book a Business Class trip to Europe, for 26,000 LifeMiles plus $587+.

The Steps Broken Down

1. Sign Up for a LifeMiles Account

Sign up for a free LifeMiles account here. Do it now even if you don’t want your $1,000 ticket for months. Do it now even if there’s only a 10% chance you’ll ever book one of these tickets. Signing up before a sale (Step 2) starts is a prerequisite to be eligible to purchase miles during a sale.

When signing up, select a country of residence other than Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, United States, or Colombia. During the most recent sale (Step 2), accounts registered in these countries got a 100% bonus on miles purchased. Accounts from other countries got a 120% bonus.

Why sign up for LifeMiles? LifeMiles is the frequent flyer program of Avianca, a Colombian airline that is a member of the Star Alliance. You can use Avianca miles to book awards on all Star Alliance members including United, Lufthansa, Austrian, Brussels, TAP, Turkish, and other airlines with service to and within Europe.

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Of the many types of Star Alliance miles you can use for awards to Europe, LifeMiles stand out for how cheaply it sells miles, allowing for ~$1,000 one way Business Class tickets to Europe.

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Flat Beds on Lufthansa 747-8
2. Buy 26,400 LifeMiles during the next 120% bonus for $396

You can always buy LifeMiles for 3.3 cents each. Every few months, LifeMiles offers a bonus on the purchase of miles of at least 100%. The most recent bonus was from May 5 through May 29 and was a 100% bonus for the countries listed above and a 120% bonus for the rest of the world. That made the price 1.5 or 1.65 cents per mile total.

If the next sale is identical–I bet it will be–you can buy 12,000 miles with 14,400 bonus miles (26,400 total) for $396. Or if for some reason you’ve signed up with an American address, you can buy 13,000 miles with 13,000 bonus miles (26,000) for $429.

Why 26,000 or 26,400 miles? Because a one way Business Class award costs 63,000 LifeMiles but LifeMiles allows awards to be booked with 40% of the necessary miles–26,000 in this case–by putting up cash to pay for your miles discount (Step 3).

I will cover the next sale on MileValue, so check back daily or sign up to receive one free daily email with all of the day’s posts.

During the sale, you should purchase 26,000 miles for each one way Business Class ticket you think you’ll want to book in the next few months, since the sales only pop up every few months. There is a limit of 150,000 miles purchased per calendar year including bonus miles during sales, so you are limited to booking five Business Class one way tickets per account per calendar year. But you can always open multiple accounts, since LifeMiles accounts can always be used to book tickets in anyone’s name.

3. Book a Business Class trip to Europe, for 26,000 LifeMiles plus $587+

To book a LifeMiles ticket, sign into your account and click “Air Tickets” under “Enjoy.” Notice I bought 98,000 miles during the last sale.

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Search for your cities, date, number of passengers, and cabin.

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Ideally the search reveals award space on several options like this search for award space from Washington DC to Frankfurt for next Monday reveals.

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However, award space is far from guaranteed (as I’ll discuss below in the caveats section.) Not all flights have award space in all cabins.

Once you’ve decided on your flight, select it and at the bottom of the screen, toggle “More Money” to the maximum. This will change the price from 63,000 miles and $0 to 26,000 miles and $557.10.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.37.17 PM

Clicking “Continue” takes you to the screen that shows the total price, which will include all applicable government taxes and a $25 booking fee. One way flights from the United States to Europe with no connections in Europe have only $5.60 in taxes.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.37.56 PM

We paid $396 for the 26,000 miles in Step 2, so for a one way Business Class flight from the United States to Europe, the all in price of this method is $396 + $587.70 = $983.30! How else can you consistently get Business Class tickets to Europe for under $1,000?

Awards from Europe to the United States will have higher taxes. I was talking to a friend about an award from Tallinn, Estonia to Chicago.
Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.40.42 PM

That award has $59 in taxes, so the total price is $396 + $641.03 = $1,037.03. That’s an outrageously good deal for a flat bed, lounge access, and free food and drinks.

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To figure out the taxes for your one way award from Europe to the United States, check this list of award taxes from Europe sorted by departure city. The worst departure point in Europe is Great Britain. A one way from London to the United States in Business Class has $309 in taxes, so the total cost is $396 + $891.46 = $1,287.46 for a one way in Business Class.
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And how about an economy ticket? LifeMiles charges 30,000 miles one way, so you can book them with 12,000 miles (40% of the price) plus a cash copay. A one way in economy from the United States to Europe costs 12,000 miles ($165) + $313.85 or $478.85. You can often find cash tickets for this price, so I wouldn’t bother buying LifeMiles to book economy tickets to Europe.Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.46.57 PM

I also wouldn’t buy LifeMiles for First Class tickets to Europe because LifeMiles cannot book Lufthansa or Swiss First Class, two excellent products. Your only option would be United First Class, which is really not much better than United Business Class.

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Sleeping soundly on the flat bed of a United 767-400 in Business Class


I hope you’re excited, but don’t rush off to Step 1 without reading these important caveats:

  1. These are the current prices from LifeMiles, but the only thing certain with miles is eventual devaluation. One day, LifeMiles will charge more than 63,000 miles one way in Business Class. When that happens, you don’t want to be stuck with a lot of miles in your account. That’s why you should go slowly and only buy enough miles to cover your very likely trips. Even then, you cannot completely eliminate devaluation risk.
  2. There is not award space on every flight in Business Class. You could buy the miles and then not be able to use them when you want to use them. However, I think this is only a minor concern because there is award space on most days from the United States to Europe with Avianca miles as long as you book within a few weeks of departure, which is when I assume most people who routinely book paid Business Class book their tickets. Here is award space from Washington DC to Frankfurt for the next five weeks. All green and blue days have Business Class award space for one passenger.
    Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.41.54 PMThis is peak time and space is almost perfect. Space is barely worse to other cities in Europe because intra-Europe space is a gimme. Space is a bit worse to the west coast of the United States and much worse if you need to book more than two seats on the same flight.
  3. Every flight of a LifeMiles award must be in the same cabin. If you want Business Class across the Atlantic, you must also fly Business Class intra-Europe and United First Class (considered a business class) within the United States. This isn’t much of a problem intra-Europe, since almost all planes have Business Class, but there are many one-cabin planes in the United States operating to small airports. These cannot be booked with LifeMiles on a Business Class award. To see if your route is affected by this silly rule, go to united.com and search your award. Any award with a “Mixed Cabin” icon is off limits.


Buy your LifeMiles in Step 2 and book your ticket in Step 3 with a Citi Prestige® Card for $250 off the first purchase and 3x points on all purchases. With the Citi Prestige® Card, the first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the LifeMiles miles purchases and award purchases.


The card also comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, international lounge access, and a host of other features.

Bottom Line

For most people, the best way to get transatlantic Business Class is to open credit cards and use the sign up bonuses for the free flights.

For businessmen who fly the routes too often to get all free tickets and ordinarily pay $4,000 to $8,000 for a roundtrip in Business Class, there is a back up plan. Buy LifeMiles and book Business Class awards for around $1,000 each way.

Nerdy Expansion of Search Techniques that You Can Skip

Further information on searching LifeMiles.com and picking the best plane:

Even when award space does exist, LifeMiles’ search engine may miss it if you select a “Smart Search” like I did in the screen shot of the search screen in the searching section. If your Smart Search reveals nothing, go to united.com to search for award space (here’s how), and return to search on lifemiles.com by specifying the airline you want to fly. LifeMiles should be able to book any awards on united.com that have a blue button in the Saver column other than space on Aer Lingus.

You may also want to use united.com to find the airplane operating each flight because certain Lufthansa aircraft are better than others. For instance, the 747-8 has flat beds in Business Class, while the 747-400 has angled beds.

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You can see whether your Lufthansa flight has the “new” flat beds or “old” angled beds in Business Class on this site. All United, Austrian, Swiss, and Air Canada Business Class has flat beds.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.



I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

I often use the ITA Software Matrix, which is one of the most useful tools to search for available flights and low fares.

First, go to matrix.itasoftware.com.

Type in your home airport and destination airport. You can use airport codes like JFK (New York-JFK) or even city codes like NYC (which includes JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark.)

For this example, let’s look at JFK to Honolulu.

ITA Matrix is awesome, in that you can type in all kinds of commands like which airline you want to fly. In the example above I wrote HA into the boxes, which means ITA Matrix will only return Hawaiian Airlines results. I did that because Hawaiian has a direct flight from JFK to Honolulu. If you leave that blank, all airlines will be returned.

After the cities, you can search the standard way by typing in departure and return dates or the way I prefer. I prefer to search certain length trips one month at a time for the lowest fares by selecting “See calendar of lowest fares.” I’ve asked the ITA Matrix to search for 3-8 night itineraries leaving in the month of January.

After you click “Search” you will be taken to a calendar displaying the lowest fare departing each day. You can ignore fares in light blue (though $447 is still a great price). You are targeting the cheapest days, which are in bold orange.

Clicking on a particular date will bring up the lowest prices departing on that date and returning 3-8 days later. Once you have found a comfortable length of time, click to display the flight.

Unfortunately the ITA Matrix is only for finding airfares. You don’t have the ability to book directly through this site. Write down the dates and flight numbers that work for you, and book directly through the airline site or online travel agency you prefer.

I use ITA Matrix because a quick one-minute search can show me a month at a time on a specific airline or all airlines. Then I can go the airline’s site, select seats, and purchase easily.

Best Card to Purchase Airfare?

Instead of using cash, you can use credit card points to book free flights. Buy the cheapest flights you find on ITA Matrix with credit card points you got for free for opening a card and meeting its minimum spending requirement.

The best one is the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which has a sign up bonus worth $625 in free flights on any airline with no blackouts.

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My Review of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card


I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

A reader writes that he used 8,010 Arrival miles to avoid paying the annual fee on his Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®, which comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in the first 90 days.

Arrival miles are completely unlike airline miles. Arrival miles are:
  • worth a fixed amount toward any travel redemption (1.11 to 1.14 cents) unlike regular miles which are redeemed according to a region-based award chart
  • equally good for hotel, car, flight, and cruise (and more) redemptions unlike regular miles which are only good for flights
  • able to be redeemed retroactively for up to 120 days unlike regular miles which you need to have in your account before booking your flight

In my last post about redeeming Arrival miles to buy American Airlines miles for zero cash, a ton of people were confused, so I suggest everyone read How to Redeem Barclaycard Arrival Miles.

Beside the obvious flights and hotels, I’ve shown that Arrival miles can be redeemed for:

A longtime reader just emailed me about a new use for Arrival miles that I didn’t know. His annual fee showed up on the page where travel purchases are listed.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 1.10.33 PMHe selected to remove his $89 annual fee for 8,900 miles. Like all other travel redemptions, he was immediately credited his 10% rebate on redeemed miles, which was 890 miles. That meant the net cost for not paying his annual fee was 8,010 Arrival miles.

Is this a good use of his Arrival miles?

Arrival miles are worth a fixed value, so all uses are good uses of Arrival miles as long as the thing for which you are redeeming is a good deal with cash.

The ability to redeem Arrival miles for the annual fee is good news for people with the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®.

I can basically count my Arrival miles as cash as long as I have enough purchases counted as “travel purchases” to redeem all my miles for them. Adding to the list of things that count helps. Of course, the definition of travel purchases is already so broad, and I travel so much that this is not a problem for me. Just the other day, I made two redemptions to knock $75 off my statement balance and reduce my mileage balance to 300 Arrival miles.

The Arrival Plus is one of three cards I travel abroad.

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 1.43.46 PMHere’s my full review of the card and why I got the Arrival Plus, which has a sign up bonus worth $500 in free travel.

Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in the first 90 days

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 40,000 bonus miles equates to $400 off your next trip!
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary subscription to TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer – a $49 annual value!
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Aeroplan is Air Canada’s spun-off loyalty program. Aeroplan.com is an awesome search engine that displays award availability on almost all Star Alliance flights.

You should know how to use aeroplan.com whether or not you ever plan to redeem Aeroplan miles because you shouldn’t necessarily search the website of the miles you’re using. You should just search the website that is easiest and best at displaying award availability. Any award availability shown at aeroplan.com will be bookable with Aeroplan, United, Singapore, ANA, Lufthansa, and Avianca miles.

Aeroplan.com is usually my backup search engine. I start my searches for Star Alliance award space at united.com because you can search without signing in, its two-month calendar is useful, it shows most partners, and it’s pretty good at finding available space.

I also use the ANA search tool to if I want to be sure whether there is space on an award segment or not because it is the most accurate Star Alliance search engine. Complete guides on how to perform those searches can be found here:

There are a few instances, however, when it makes sense to search for Star Alliance award availability on aeroplan.com:

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Star Alliance members courtesy of staralliance.com

Aeroplan.com is better for those airlines simply because united.com doesn’t display their award space at all.

Aeroplan’s search engine has also been programmed better than United’s to find itineraries with multiple connections. I frequently find award space on aeroplan.com for two or three layover itineraries that I did not find on united.com. That’s why I always search aeroplan.com before moving on to more complicated segment-by-segment searching.

  • How do you go about searching for award availability on Aeroplan.com?
  • Are there any limitations when using Aeroplan.com?
  • If United.com is flawed, why shouldn’t you just use Aeroplan.com for all Star Alliance searches?


I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

When you get deeper into the world of opening rewards cards to get free or luxury travel, there is an inevitable amount of bookkeeping that comes with managing your credit cards.

You have to track:

  • when you opened each card
  • when the annual fee is due on each card
  • how much you’ve spent toward the minimum spending requirement associated with the sign up bonus
  • when each statement closes
  • when payments are due on each card
  • category bonuses

While that looks like a lot to track, and may seem daunting, I estimate that I spend about 30 minutes per month on everything credit card related.

I think about a credit card’s life cycle as having four stages:

  1. Application
  2. Getting the bonus (minimum spending)
  3. Regular use (category bonuses)
  4. Renewal/Cancellation

Here’s what I do at each step to keep track of my cards and minimize my headaches.

What are the steps you need to take to put your credit card tracking on auto-pilot?

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

With this week’s United devaluation, the most popular award that the MileValue Award Booking Service books–premium cabin awards to Europe with United miles–went up in price as much as 63%.

Last week, one passenger flying one way from the continental US to Europe in business class would pay 50k United miles for the privilege, whether the flights on the award were operated by United or one of its many European partners like Lufthansa and Swiss. In first class, the price was 67.5k miles.

Today, a business class award to Europe on United flights costs 57.5k miles, while partner business class like TAP or Austrian costs 70k miles. For first class, the United-metal price is 80k miles, while the partner price is 110k miles.

Partner business class space now prices out 22% higher than United business, and partner first is 38% more than United first. Those are premiums I don’t want to pay because United business and United first are both nice products that I’ve reviewed:

This post will show how to most quickly find United-metal award space on united.com to book awards with United miles on the cheaper United-metal chart.


I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

TheBarclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® is a tool every frequent flyer should have in their wallet, especially big spenders and families. In essence, the card earns 2.28% back toward travel on all purchases. (Not to mention the sign up bonus worth $456 toward travel after spending $1k in the first three months on the card.)

With Arrival miles, you can book any flight on any airline with no blackouts and no need to search for award availability. You can even use the rewards to pay for the taxes and fees on other airlines’ award redemptions.

For Scott’s complete breakdown and analysis of the Arrival Plus, make sure to check out his comprehensive review here, and his ways to leverage the lucrative signup bonus here.

This post is a simple walk through of how to redeem your Arrival miles for travel purchases, as well as some pitfalls to avoid when doing so.

How do you redeem Barclaycard Arrival Miles on travel? When do you receive your 10% rebate? Can you use Arrival miles as partial payment towards a charge? Is the redemption process simple? How do you avoid lower value redemptions?

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Here’s how I got United to “manually sell” me award seats for an itinerary. While this technique is not possible in most circumstances, in my case, it turned no award into my dream award!

I was in the midst of constructing a simple roundtrip itinerary from the US to Europe when I ran into some big trouble.

United’s online award calendar displayed Austrian award space on the only day I could return to the States. Unfortunately, when I clicked to select those flights, I was met with a message saying the seats were no longer available.

Rapid Partner Availability

I used other Star Alliance search tools to discover that the seats were actually available to all partners, but United agents simply couldn’t see them.

The only thing left to do was request that United ask Austrian for the seats directly, often called a manual sell. Agents are extremely hesitant to do this, and often cite the company rule book in declining to do so. It usually takes some serious convincing to pull it off, but if you are calm, confident, and polite, it can be done. It’s critical to know how to pull this off, especially if you think your preferred flights have award space while a phone agent insists they don’t.

After a lengthy call, I finally convinced a United agent to manually request the unavailable seats. By requesting the manual sell, the flight I wanted instantly became bookable with my United miles. The segment was added to my itinerary, and I got the perfect set of flights for a summer trip to Europe.

How did this problem occur? Is this a phantom award space issue, or something completely different? What is a “manual sell”? How do you get a United agent to manually sell partner award seats?

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

I just booked myself a roundtrip First Class award from Honolulu to Sao Paulo, Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I also booked myself five nights at a hotel in Sao Paulo.

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Rooting for the Home Team (Poland) at the 2012 UEFA Euro Cup!

The cost?

  • 125,000 US Airways miles
  • 100,000 IHG Rewards points
  • $109

If you want to go see the biggest sporting event in the world in the world’s best footballing (soccer) country, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t let the cost of the flights and hotels hold you back, when you can book them with miles and points.

This two-part series will cover:

  • The flight award possibilities including my three best recommendations for the exact routes to book
  • The hotel award possibility (singular) that I’ve found
  • Intra-Brazil flight options with miles and with cash
  • How to get tickets to the games


I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Update: My transfer took two days. I made the transfer on December 18 and received the miles on December 20. Yours may take more or less time.

Starpoints (or SPG points) are the points earned from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.

Starpoints are the most valuable mile or point in my opinion–worth about 2.5 cents each.

They can be used for free hotel nights, complete vacations, discounted hotel nights, or transferred to airline miles with over 30 airlines. It’s not uncommon for hotel points to be usable for hotel stays and airline tickets. What’s unusual is to get a good value for your points doing both things. That’s true versatility.

Some of the airline transfer partners are some of my favorite mileage programs like:

  • American Airlines
  • US Airways
  • Delta
  • British Airways
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Alaska
  • Hawaiian
  • Japan Airlines
  • Lufthansa (Miles & More)
  • Singapore
  • Virgin Atlantic

All the airlines listed have miles that are ideal for certain awards, so to be able to transfer Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio to all those airlines is a huge boon! Even better, for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you receive 25,000 miles in your airline account, a tidy 5k mile bonus.

I recently opened both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express on the same day, so I am sitting on 70k Starpoints, mulling my redemption options.

Yesterday, I decided to transfer 20k Starpoints to my US Airways Dividend Miles account to receive 25k US Airways miles. My US Airways account had 100k miles in it (from a recent Share Miles promotion), and the award I want–roundtrip first class to South America–costs 125k US Airways miles.

How did I transfer the Starpoints (with screenshots)? What tips do I have for miles transfers?


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Our Award Booking Service has been rocking and rolling lately. Busy frequent flyers love the personal attention we give each itinerary, as well as our expert knowledge of award programs.

The MileValue crew has a battle-tested recipe for award booking success. By following a few easy tips, doing your homework, and being flexible, you too can be an expert award booker–and get yourself your dream trip.

Emirates First Class Suite

What are MileValue’s eight tried-and-true tips? How can you book an award like the pros do?

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By using the principles of free oneways and an incredible sweet spot on the US Airways award chart, you can save up to 70,000 miles on your next US Airways award booking to Asia.

I’m flying Turkish Airlines Business Class on My Next US Airways Award

US Airways charges ordinarily charges 120k miles roundtrip in business class to India or Thailand and 160k in first. We can cut that to 90k miles roundtrip in business class to South or Southeast Asia and 120k miles in first!

What is this awesome sweet spot on the US Airways chart? How do we take advantage of it? Can I really save up to 70,000 Dividend Miles per person by taking advantage?


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American Airlines’ website is a great place to search for oneworld award space, especially on oneworld partners such as airberlin, Qantas, and Finnair. American’s site is also useful for searching award space on non-oneworld partners like Hawaiian and Alaska. Scott wrote up a good introductory post on AA.com earlier this month.

This brief post will show you a quick tip on how to search for nonstop award segments on AA.com.

How do you manipulate aa.com to show only non-stop results? When would you want to do this?

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This post will explain how a couple can get 10 nights for free at a top-tier hotel in Hawaii plus First Class roundtrip flights all for about $150 per person total. Similar techniques could achieve:

  • 10 free hotel nights and economy class tickets to anywhere in the world that the Star Alliance flies including: Buenos Aires, Madrid, London, Krakow, Berlin, Tokyo, New Delhi, or Beijing
  • one person getting 5 free hotel nights and economy class tickets to the same places and many others
Do you want to be here? (Sheraton Kona)

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