Sometimes spending your Avios or Virgin Points seems downright difficult. In fact, I know a lot of people who simply don’t bother because they anticipate it’s going to be hard and therefore don’t begin. It’s true, there can be an element of difficulty, but thousands of people use points for travel every day.
Probably the biggest trick to have up your sleeve, behind understanding the true value of points, is the willingness to be flexible with when and how they are used. Most people are quite locked into their leisure travel plans due to yearly holiday allowance, school holidays, work schedule – among other factors. But if you can break this cycle, the world of points redemption becomes so much easier.
Another secondary factor is understanding that points seats (also known as rewards or redemptions) are often readily available on ‘quiet’ flights. This can also be true on routes that have lots of capacity. An example of this is London to New York. Across all the main alliances, there are dozens of flights per day to New York from London. That means it’s very possible to find Business and First seats most times of the week.
There are some obvious peak times that are always hard to find these seats. For example, Sunday evening, Monday morning and Friday afternoon. Why? Because those times are like flight rush hour. Lot’s of business trips start or end at those times. Therefore lower flight capacity and less incentive for airlines to open any reward seats.
If I had a pound for everyone I met who thought they’d spend their Avios on a dream trip to the Maldives or Seychelles, i’d be a rich man. Those destinations are possible, but very difficult to get. That’s simply because they’re premium routes and there aren’t many flights to and from there. Since COVID a lot of these routes have dropped off the schedule entirely. Contrast that to a destination like Hong Kong, which like New York, is a business heavy route – there is a lot more capacity and thus, possibility for reward flight availability.
Next time you want to do a trip that involves spending your points, consider being as flexible as possible. If you want somebody to do all the legwork, you can give us a shout. Otherwise, be flexible, patient and willing to consider options beyond your first choice.