Travel start-up Points.io has launched a new tool to make it easier for consumers book flights and hotels while they’re on the go. The tool lets users search for award travel, then transfer points between airlines or hotel chains with one tap of their phone. It also offers real-time booking updates at certain times throughout the day as well as notifications when tickets are about to expire so that travelers can jump on deals before prices rise again later in the week.
The “juicy miles” is a new tool that searches for award tickets and walks you through point transfers and booking.
A new award search tool has been released that automates most of the tedious effort involved in putting up an award redemption, provides quite thorough results, and is reasonably priced. You may even test it for free with no strings attached if you use the coupon code VFTW. Although there is no profit to me if you do, I like the product.
Juicy Miles combined with One Mile at a Time’s booking service PointsPros to become point.me. They provide full service award booking, just as I do, but I like their self-service tools and explanations.
This has been offered to (some) American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders via a white label Amex site for some months. It’s officially out of beta, having received a $2 million seed round from a number of well-known investors (including founders of ITA Software, which is now Google Flights; the founder of Dropbox; Jeffrey Katzenberg; and Bethenny Frankel of Skinnygirl and Shark Tank). It’s also ready to use.
Putting A Sample Award Search To The Test
When I entered New York JFK to Tel Aviv in business class on a random day next month, they came up with 54 options, including some you’d never want, like 415,000 Delta SkyMiles or 1.4 million Aeromexico kilometers, but also some great options, like Lufthansa and the various ways to book it, El Al, and Turkish. Here are a few of the early results from my search for the amount of points necessary to book.
They show you that you may transfer Citibank or Capital One points 1:1 if you choose the Turkish option. They walk you through creating a Turkish account if necessary, transferring points, and booking (including if you may put the award on hold before transferring points to guarantee you receive the seats and don’t waste your points). They offer animated graphics that show you exactly how to complete these processes.
They discovered what I would have found myself in a matter of minutes. Nice.
What Does The Service Include?
They promote award availability on 108 airlines, but they don’t necessarily show you all of that program’s availability. If you have United Airlines elite status or a United Airlines co-branded credit card, you may book more United award space at reduced pricing and earn more Points. That’s something I’m not going to show you. They do allow you to transfer account funds from Award Wallet, but they are not signing in as you.
Point.me worked with American Express, so I’m guessing they were able to leverage that into strong direct ties with a number of American Express partners to get data access. Several programs benefit from bringing in high-end clients and exposing them to other airlines where they aren’t currently members. As a result, they should be allowed to continue to fly with a variety of airlines. They don’t seem to be doing anything that brought The Points Guy into issue with American Airlines, but only time will tell (they do show the American Airlines logo in flight results..).
Aside from scanning many reward programs at once and providing step-by-step directions on booking, there are several aspects of their presentation that I really appreciate.
They make it evident when an itinerary isn’t totally in your selected level of service, and they tell you how close you are to a match before you even click for further information. Here’s a search for flights from New York to Rome using Avianca LifeMiles, with the intra-European section plainly in coach.
They’ll show you Lufthansa on that trip via Air Canada Aeroplan, as well as all the other options to purchase the same flights, including the programs that transfer to Aeroplan.
Complex itineraries involving stopovers are currently not supported by the system. You’ll go through the components one by one. They also don’t have a ‘power search’ option that allows you to look at many itineraries and dates at once. Instead, you seek one day at a time for the time being. Most people’s demands are met by this, but not if you have a lot of flexibility and want to book certain flights or fly whenever the simplest itinerary is available.
Tiffany Funk, who has co-founded One Mile at a Time with Ben Schlappig and has handled the site for years, said they’re doing a “excellent job taking away phantom space and married-segment difficulties.” She is certain that the rewards you see will be bookable, and they go to great lengths to double- and triple-check availability and cost – to the point where if they can’t confirm availability, they won’t provide the choice.
There’s also the fact that airline data sources may be sluggish at times, and they’d rather time out queries after only a few minutes than leave you waiting. For the time being, they’re choosing assurance above fullness.
When you select a spot, they show you not just which miles to utilize, but also which credit card programs you can transfer from, and they lead you through the process using autoplay gifs. It’s the Million Mile Secrets technique (without the circles and arrows) in a convenient package for old-timers.
I simply had to offer you an example since it’s so wonderful, even if it means stealing their intellectual property. There are an endless number of walk-throughs available to them. They have an animation explaining how to look for an award after viewing an animation showing how to wake up in the morning and recognize it’s a new day on the Air France KLM Flying Blue website. Everything has been simplified.
Tiffany says I may anticipate account notifications in the future, in addition to multi-day searches. The site will continue to “improve over time.”
The fee of a day’s access (24 hours) is $5, which includes unlimited searches. A month costs $12, or $129 for the year.
They also offer a premium plan for $260 per year, which is unlikely to appeal to most frequent flyer blog readers. They offer five-day tickets to friends and family (to bring in new clients), a 10% discount on having them book prizes for you (usually $200 per person), and a yearly credit card checkup (use their referral links).
The yearly credit card checkup, on the other hand, is highly popular, and many readers contact me about it when free and reward booking customers ask about it. It frequently gives them comfort that they’re on the right road, or it nudges them in a more constructive direction. Personalized guidance from experts – even if it’s only basic information given out for free on a blog – may be quite beneficial.
It is completely free to use.
You don’t have to spend $5 to test it out. They provided me the discount code VFTW, which allows me to “buy” a free 24-hour ticket. If you do this, you will not get any compensation from me.
The code may only be used 5000 times in the first week after launch, and it can only be used 150 times every hour as they monitor how popular the service is on the first day.
For Whom Is This Appropriate?
Making self-service tools this simple is, in some ways, a letdown for the hardcore among us who put in the effort, since it means more people fighting for a limited number of seats. However, I believe that democratizing a process that airlines have made too opaque and that credit card issuers haven’t done a good enough job of demystifying for their consumers is a positive thing.
I also like services that compare airline outcomes. Airlines who don’t provide much in the way of saver award space and charge outrageous amounts for the finest rewards aren’t going to look good. They shouldn’t, after all. Consumers will benefit from the capacity to compare programs, as it will keep their devaluating inclinations under control!
Point. Although this site is a rival to my Book Your Award booking service, I wanted to share the automated tool because I believe it’s a cool idea to provide walk-throughs of which programs give the cheapest pricing for awards, how to transfer points from credit card programs, and how to make your booking.
Of course, you can do all of this for free, but even if you’re an expert, automating a lot of your time spent on numerous websites is beneficial. I like the easy Point.me tool for searching a month at a time, prefer the way-too-expensive AwardNexus for searching a month at a time, and still suggest BookYouAward.com for having someone not only locate the itinerary but but book it for you.
More From the Wing’s Perspective
- point me to the plane