How to Book a Flight Using Air Miles
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But, unless you’ve done it before, you might be wondering how.
You’ll need to know how many miles you need in order to reach your destination. And to do this, it’s best to check out award charts. As such, I’ve listed the main ones just below, to make things easier.
If you don’t see the award chat that applies to your needs, do a quick Google search along the lines of “[name of airline] award chart”
Don’t include the  in the search.
U.S. Airways (now merged with American Airlines – see below)
Booking Your Ticket
Use your travel search engine of choice so you get an idea about the airlines that travel from your starting point to your destination. Actually, if you use www.kayak.com for this, you’re able to sort the search according to airline alliance. See the image below:
Select airline alliance using the kayak.com search engine. Scroll down the page of your search results, then in the left sidebar, select “alliance” tab.
If you don’t see any availability of award seats when you’re booking your flight, don’t sweat it. Instead, go to the airline’s website and get their phone number, or check on the rear of your loyalty card for the frequent flyer phone number.
In advance of making your call, do some research to assess your alternatives. It’s wise to understand the partner airlines that service your desired route. And, if necessary, try to be somewhat flexible with respect to your travel dates.
You will likely have to pay a booking fee for placing your booking over the phone, but then, the flight is free, or hopefully it’s entirely free, in which case, the payment of a $25 booking fee – or whatever it amounts to – is a small price to pay.
If there’s nothing available, call again at a later date. Fact is, the closer to the date of the flight, the chances are that there will be more availability of seats. Having said that, the optimal time to book a flight using air miles is far in advance of the date of the flight.
When is the Optimal Time to Book a Flight Using Air Miles?
As just mentioned, optimally, you’d want to book your flight extremely well in advance of the date of the flight (though if that’s not possible, seat availability usually heightens closer to the date of departure).
How well in advance?
Like, around 330 days prior to the flight date. Or sometime around this point – usually the same week as the 330 day prior point.
This is the time that airlines generally open up their awards seating.
If you can’t achieve that, and not many people can, then simply keep trying if that becomes a necessity. And aim for some level of flexibility with respect to your flight dates and also your desired airport itinerary.