|A day trip to Neuschwanstein castle in Schwangau, Germany|
After I had a decent amount of transferable points on hand, I needed to select an airline/partner next. This is usually the step where I get overwhelmed because of the vast selection of airlines to choose from and my general lack of knowledge in this area so I used one of the many websites out there that can help with this. Here are just a few:
There are many others out there and they each have their pros and cons so play around with each and find the one you like the best. You can also look at each of the major airlines websites to search for award space as an option:
United Airlines Award Search
Delta Airlines Award Search
American Airlines Award Search
Air France Award Search
Singapore Airline Award Search
Korean Air Award Search
Aeroplan Award Search
The list goes on and on and I don't want to be redundant so these are just a few examples. After doing some research I had decided to try to book American Airlines Economy MileSAAver tickets at 40,000 points round trip each and had found two great itineraries that I had placed on hold which American Airlines allows you to do for 1 week. Then I realized I had made the rookie mistake that I didn't have any points that transferred to American Airlines. Currently, neither American Express, Chase, nor Citi allows transfers to American Airlines and only Starwood Preferred Guest does at a 1:1 ratio but I had not invested in collecting these points as of yet. This really bummed me out, mostly because I felt like an idiot so I moved on to plan B.
|Drinking some gluhwein in Nuremberg|
The next airline I ended up going with was United just because I was comfortable with them and they don't collect fuel surcharges for award travel. I found two round trip Saver Economy Award tickets for 60,000 points each and I transferred points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to my United MileagePlus account which occurs almost instantly and booked my new flight. As you can see there are still quite a few options available even into April and May.
While I could have gotten much more value from my points if I had booked business/first class given the exponential increase in price without the same increase in number of required miles, I am of the mindset that I would rather take 2 or 3 trips in economy instead of 1 trip in first class using the same number of miles which goes against the standard way of thinking I've noticed. I am not adverse to flying economy no matter how long the flight is and can usually sleep in any situation so it doesn't really bother me.