The Holidays Are a Time To… Book Award Travel: the Deadlines and Opportunities You Need to Know About

Take the next few days with family. But while you’re together with your family, talk to the people you travel with and plot out what sorts of award redemptions you may want to make in the coming year. Making your bookings soon could save you a whole lot of points.

  1. United MileagePlus awards go up, up, up in price on February 1, especially for international business and first class partner awards where some redemptions increase by more than 80%.

  2. The price of Hyatt Gold Passport awards is going up January 7, and it’s worth booking now especially for the 13 hotels most affected by price increases (and if you want to redeem your points for suites whether on paid nights or awards).

  3. US Airways leaves Star Alliance March 30 and joins oneworld the next day.

    • If you want Star Alliance awards with US Airways miles, you’ll want to book before then.
    • I also wouldn’t be surprised to see adjustments to the US Airways award chart in the near-term (even before the merger with American) as it’s hard to imagine Cathay Pacific business class awards for 90,000 miles roundtrip between the US and Hong Kong.

I have designs on stays at the Park Hyatts in Paris and Sydney on points, so I am going to make bookings before January 7. Hyatt generously gives members another month to tweak reservations at the old points price (including adding additional nights to existing reservations at the old price, as well as shifting dates) after that. So at the very least it’s worth making a speculative – and fully cancellable – booking and changing later.

United and US Airways, of course, will hit you with change fees and fees to cancel an award and redeposit miles unless your elite status exempts you from that. Still, it could be worth making speculative bookings if your plans are likely enough.

So Ho Ho Ho, Santa’s bringing trips to all of the good little girls and boys out there — because so many loyalty programs brought us black coal!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Now if I could find some international award space on United I could burn those miles pare Feb1. Err…

  2. Luckily I burned my UA miles earlier this year for business class on LH and TK. Only have 3k left, though I do have about 60k Chase UR. Need to figure out where to transfer those….

  3. Any link about Hyatt allowing members to tweak dates at old points rate? Is this an official policy?

  4. I’m doing the same —

    Just booked SYD- MEL-LAX in F on the A380 for 72.5K AA Miles and now trying to finding an UA ticket to Sydney with my soon-to-be-devalued 75K AA miles.

    Slim pickings as of now. My options are EVA AIR IN BIZ : 67.5K UA Miles LAX-SFO-TPE (15 hours in Taipei)-BNE and then I’d have to book a separate revenue flight BNE-SYD.

    Gary, would you book this or would you wait for something better to open up — like Asiana in J LAX-ICN-SYD before February 7th?

    The reason I ask is the idea of spending 15 hours in Taipei sounds cool (if I don’t need a visa) and allows me to see a city I’d normally not stop in.

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