Today’s post will explore the four key tips to help you find reward flight availability. I am constantly looking out for these things. They apply to full reward flights and upgrades on existing flights.
New routes can often throw up opportunities for reward tickets or just nicely priced cash tickets. Airlines have to launch a new route in advance and run it for a while to see how it does. Often, when a route launches, it’ll be fairly quiet for the first few months while the demand builds. This means cheaper tickets and higher chances of a reward ticket being available.
Keep an eye out for your airline launching a new route. Reward seats are unlikely to be available on the day it is announced, but when the tickets go on sale, watch out for deals over the following weeks.
High capacity routes
This isn’t immediately obvious, but think about how many flights per day an airline runs to a specific destination. Take New York, for example, pre-COVID there were somewhere in the region of 40+ flights per day from London Heathrow across multiple carriers. Airlines like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic would run at least 6 flights per day, meaning a lot of reward availability. Compare that to somewhere very niche that has a flight maybe thrice per week, and you see why it’s easier to find availability on these high capacity routes.
It’s simple – there are more seats on the routes that have more flights per day.
Leisure vs business routes
One of the common issues I see is people wanting to use their points for unrealistic trips. They dream of going to the Maldives or the Caribbean. Those destinations are absolutely possible. But the problem is, you’re competing with potentially thousands of other people who have points that want to spend them on those destinations too. Reward ticket availability can come where you least expect it. You need to do everything you can to optimise your chances, so avoiding leisure routes on summer holidays or during high season, will greatly help your cause.
Likewise with business routes, if you want to find reward flights – look during the quieter periods. I.e. avoid Monday mornings and Friday evenings when business travellers are starting or ending a trip.
Flexibility & timing
I’ve talked about flexibility before in my post about why flexibility is important for travellers looking to spend points. The reality is, that your ability to build a trip around what’s available will define how successful you are with your points spend. The real trick that savvy travellers know, is that reward flight availability is what drives your trip. Rather than picking dates for your getaway and then trying to find reward availability to fit, flip that on its head. Find reward flights, then book your trip around them.
Don’t want to do the legwork on your next trip? Let us know, we’ll do it for you!