Media Coverage for My Award Booking Service

In Sunday’s New York Times travel section, Michelle Higgins writes about services that will help you get the most out of your miles.

ANY traveler who has tried to use frequent flier miles for a free ticket knows how frustrating that process can be. On top of the blackout dates and limited availability, there are fees for everything from fuel surcharges to last-minute bookings.

Spotting an opportunity, a handful of frequent flier fanatics are using their expertise to hunt down and book those award seats for you. “When you do this all day you begin to know which routes have availability, and the ins and outs of the computer systems,” said Gary Leff, a mileage hound who started about three years ago. Business has been so brisk he recently took on a partner.

She writes about my award booking service as well as Matthew Klint’s and a third that I hadn’t heard of before.

The piece shares my advice to pay attention to your reward goals when accumulating miles, different programs do a better job getting you to different destinations on points.

Most people sign up for frequent flier programs and associated credit cards without a thought as to whether it is the best way to earn miles for a particular destination. But if you are willing to plan, Gary Leff, who co-founded the frequent flier site, can guide you. “I like it when people ask me questions long before they are ready to book so I can steer them in the right direction,” he said, noting that some programs are better than others, depending on the destination. For example, American Airlines is best if you want to use miles to fly to South America, he said. Delta is a good choice for some of the most sought-after awards to places like Australia and Polynesia, thanks to the airline’s partnerships with Virgin Australia, Air France and Air Tahiti Nui, which all accept Delta miles.

Also today in Conde Nast Traveler‘s Perrin Postcard, Wendy Perrin writes about the service as well.

Having trouble redeeming your miles or points to fly where you want, on the dates you want, in the cabin you want, for the minimum possible number of miles/points? Gary Leff, Steve Belkin, and the rest of the team behind will find options you probably didn’t know existed and will book your award seats for a fee of $150 per person. I get at least a dozen e-mail messages each month from readers asking me to shoot them the names and contact info for “those guys” who work miracles with mileage-award redemption, so I thought I’d save you an e-mail.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Gary – love your blog and follow you via Twitter. Referred a friend to your booking service and she got the auto response from you plus a one liner email from Steve on 6/20 that says “will reply in a day or two.” She’s heard nothing since. Shall I tell her to try another service?

  2. MICHELLE HIGGINS obviously isn’t the smartest cookie ..
    “For instance, he pointed out that I could use 35,000 American Airlines miles for a round-trip coach ticket to Ecuador on LAN Airlines, because both airlines belong to the Oneworld alliance, which allow travelers to redeem miles for flights on other member airlines. By comparison, I couldn’t find any tickets for fewer than 60,000 miles round trip for the dates I wanted on American’s Web site, which only shows availability on American, and three partners — Alaska, British Airways and Hawaiian.”

    Why would that be “by comparison”???? How can you compare if that option isn’t part of the search engine that you are using. A simple comparison would be do it “old-school”. PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL AA. That’s an old trick that has worked for the last ~30 years, before AA had an online site. That would be a proper comparison and probably more successful. Unlike Delta, AA is quite competent in that department.

  3. @Susan tell her to email me back ad we’ll figure out what’s what, hard to imagine we haven’t gotten things moving in a week, sounds strange indeed.

  4. Gary- I have been trying to research aspirational awards. I know Hyatt Maldives and Conrad Koh Samui rank towards the tops on your list. Would you mind letting me know what other locations that rank highly? Thank you

  5. Did you really have to wave big red flags about AMEX transfers to others’ accounts? Some discretion would be nice before another loophole gets closed.

  6. @PanAm (1) that has been WIDELY discussed. (2) I didn’t actually wave flags at it. I had explained — in doing an actual booking — how to use a father’s Amex points to top off an account. That made it into the piece.

  7. Sigh…congrats on the spotlight, but goodbye to the AMEX transfers to others. It may have been discussed elsewhere but never in the NYT. It will be impossible for them NOT to address that at this point.

  8. The Mint had been “widely discussed” too, but after a tipping point in the mainstream media, was killed.

  9. @Aaron I did not offer this explicitly as a tip, as in an interview, rather I was doing an award booking and explained how the author could top off her miles with her father’s American Express points.

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