A good tip for finding airline seats with points in this crazy time

Booking flights with points and miles this summer is a challenge. I would say that it is probably the most challenging time in history to spend points to get what you want, when you want. It still happens every day, but it requires skill and luck.

I think it will get better soon. Airlines understandably test the limits for pricing with both cash and points for summer travel, but much longer and they may miss the target for a more bear winter to come.

Offers come back and points seats along with them. If you need to travel this year and have plans, this is a suboptimal but very useful tip for getting things done.

New routes for scoring success

The most logical way to think about travel is a straight line between the starting point and the desired destination. A to B, single. When you get bad options, going from A to C, to get to D, to place yourself near B may be the right solution.

For long trips, taking advantage of new scheduled launches or seasonal flights can be a great way to find points. New routes often face more pressure on airlines to fill seats, and it is one of the most likely times for seats to be released with points.

Sometimes a small detour is worth it, if it means ensuring the comfort of a long flight. I may want to visit Thailand, but if I can find points for lay-flat seats to Singapore, I would rather have comfort for the 15 hour flight, and then paint the economy directly to Thailand.

It may mean traveling from “nearby” places like Atlanta instead of Tampa, and landing in London instead of Paris, but sometimes savings or simple “yes or no” points may be worth it. If a trip is long enough, it may be worth it.

If I have the chance to fly flat bed business class over an ocean for 43,000 points, just by buying a $ 75 one-way ticket to a city where an airline has many seats, I can still win marginally. The higher the prices you would otherwise face in cash, or points, from your ideal starting point, the more diversion is worth.

Secondary cities and major aircraft

Airlines shrank during the pandemic. Between larger cities they flew less frequently, or smaller planes flew. Plans to connect the world with other “secondary” cities, such as a Pittsburgh, Portland or Austin in the United States, were put on hold.

The airlines did not like it, and they want to reverse these trends.

It’s worth paying attention to some of the nerdy news pieces from the airline, such as “Virgin goes to Los Angeles three times a day”, because even if it means nothing to you at the time, it really means that a whole third new flight will be put up for sale.

Where there is a new flight on sale, there are often vacated points seats. Dates that did not have points available will probably have a lot on the recently added flights.

So yes, the message is that reading some of the key-driven stories of the aviation industry can help uncover newly released point availability. Several daily flights are added to existing routes all the time, and new routes are also launched all the time.

The more you keep up with these quasi-nerdy elements, the further ahead you can be in the demand curve. Are you looking for a great resource? Airline Routes is definitely one of them.

If it changes, adds or gets bigger, you will know about it.