With fuel prices higher and airlines cutting back service during the winter, a recent WSJ article shows that finding saver award seats for the customary 25,000 miles is becoming harder to find. I absolutely agree with this article. I’ve been trying to find an award seat for my annual Napa wine tasting weekend in early April, and I haven’t been able to find a single saver award seat on any airline for that weekend. It seems I can find availability on the Friday flight out to SFO, but not a single seat is open on United or American, not to mention Southwest is charging an absurdly high award price on that day. I was still able to get my saver award, so to say by using Citi Thank You points, for just 14,000 points round trip on Virgin America (a 30% discount because I have the Citi Thank You Premier Card), but with fewer saver awards available, it’s becoming paramount that one get creative when trying to use miles for air travel.
As such, here is a quick primer on my method for finding cheap award seats.
1. Search on the airline’s website and be creative. If you are flying to Los Angeles (LAX), can you fly to Orange County (SNA), Long Beach (LGB), or even Ontario (ONT)?