Last week Brett, from the Cranky Flier blog, told you about his concierge service to take care of changes and nagging problems when you are traveling.
This week I want to introduce you to Gary Leff and his award booking service. Gary is the Board President of Flyertalk.com and has been to as many high end hotels, restaurants and interesting places around the globe as anybody I know. He has often offered me the advice I need when I’m treading in new waters and does it with a sincere interest in helping a fellow traveler.
His award booking service can save you time, miles and money with all he knows about booking the correct award for your upcoming trip. This service is not for the basic domestic round trip, but wait, I’ll let him tell his own story:
“I’ve been sharing my tips and tricks on award booking for years on Flyertalk.com (where I’m a Senior moderator and Board President) and on my View from the Wing blog.
And I spent more time than I care to think about offering one-on-one help booking award trips to readers, posters, and commenters.
Help booking awards is a clear need. There are a great frequent flyer award seats out there, miles can take you almost anywhere and in any class of service, these points are really valuable but most people find them hard to use. And the thing that I discovered is that airline agents are usually helpless to assist, the computers they’re working with aren’t programmed to be all that useful and so often they’re beaten down from having to say “no” all day long.
But with enough experience and ingenuity, it’s possible to redeem almost any sort of miles for any kind of trip that you want. Sometimes flexibility is required, but mostly it’s a bit of know-how, the kind I’ve developed over several years and decided to put to use in a business venture: BookYourAward.com.
Award booking can be confusing. How many miles? What routes? And how can I get the agent on the phone to actually find seats that I can book? Do I really have to leave at 6 a.m., and why is it so hard to find tickets in business class?
In my new business, I take the hassle out of award booking for you. I present you with itineraries that match your preferences, and work with you to construct your perfect trip. I find the available award seats. I help coordinate transferring points from one account to another if that is necessary. And I talk to the airline for you and book your trip.
I’d venture a guess that I’ve been the one person in the world that has booked more award tickets in the last year than anyone else. As I result, I’m well practiced: I know the airline partnerships, the routing rules, the aircraft.. the best seats, the best food and amenities, the best service… I love making getting there half the fun.
Now, my service isn’t for everyone. I charge $250 for the first two passengers to book an award, and $100 for each additional passenger. It doesn’t make sense to pay me to book your coach award tickets to the Caribbean. But for an international business or first class trip, I can save you time, money, and hassle.
And I never accept payment of any kind until you’re completely satisfied. If I can’t get you what you’re looking for, you owe me nothing.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49