Many well-travelled executives and savvy business owners collecting points on a company credit card do so with the future intent of using those points to have a family holiday. During school holidays which is traditionally the hardest time to find frequent flyer seats.
With some long-term planning and plenty of saved points, it is possible to grab an award seat, or three, during the school holiday period.
How far in advance depends on many factors; probably the first being ‘can all the family commit to the planned travel dates’? Getting time off work, the destination and itinerary are the next most important factors to decide.
The airlines generally open their flights for paid and points purchases 1 year in advance. So that is the time to start planning your trip.
At Points Bank, we have access to airline reservation systems to look up the availability of seats in all classes for every flight. This means we can tell where seats are available according to the airline computer, although they may not be showing as available on the airline website.
For long haul flights such as Australia to Europe, it can be smarter to pay for a short-haul flight to Singapore, Hong Kong or Bangkok, then use points out of that stopover city for the rest of the journey.
The main advantage of this strategy is the availability of points seats can be far better from the stopover city – especially if they are not in school holidays too. Depending on the airlines used for this type of journey, stopover deals are usually available that make it an economical way to see the city.
There’s also a peace if mind associated with having booked and paid for seats into and out of your home port during peak travel times.
As award seat availability is scarce during peak holiday periods, look for other ways to redeem your frequent flyer or credit card points. Hotel room bookings, car hire, even cruises, can all be purchased with points.
Another method is to convert program points to cash and then use the money to purchase a hotel room, car rental or any other travel service.
This is by far the riskiest option. School holidays can cause in a downturn in business travel, especially around Christmas and new year. So an airline may decide to release some points seats within a week or so of the travel date when they have a better idea of their loadings.
For flying Business or First Class this approach can work in your favour. It’s unlikely to succeed for Economy class bookings though.
Finding and booking award seats for travel in the school holidays is always hard. Points Bank makes it easier with specialist advisors able to scan airline reservation systems looking for unique solutions to meet each customer’s travel needs.