After using 97,000 long-hoarded Capital One miles to buy a $970 ticket out of Iowa to a much warmer place in February, I was pleased to read in a recent issue of Real Simple that the founder of Airfarewatchdog.com (whatever that is) says spending miles on top-dollar travel is “the smartest way” to spend your miles. It gets you a bigger bang for your miles than, say, buying an electronic gizmo, says the founder of Downtoearthfinance.com (“an independent financial education website”…whatever that is part 2.)
But what about using miles for a $350 ticket instead of saving for that $970 ticket?
The only time I’ve used miles for anything other than a plane ticket was when I had some that were soon expiring and were nowhere what I needed to get a ticket. So I donated some to charity and used some for a little self-indulgence – a six-month subscription to People magazine, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Buying a plane ticket from a travel website sounds like it will get more complicated now that some websites are squabbling with airlines whose fares they list. Word has it that Expedia won’t include American flights in its listings – and I’ve heard something else about problems with Delta and maybe Orbitz. Some also say this could somehow lead to higher prices for flights. I’ll mark it down as something to learn more details about….
I read with interest “10 Ways to Cut your Travel Costs This Year,” the NYT’s Practical Traveler column yesterday and of the many tips suggested, here are the ones I just may try:
– ITASoftware.com can tell you the least expensive fare during a given month. Then you have to go to another site to book.
– Yapta.com will track the price even after you buy the ticket so you may snag a refund voucher (minus a change fee) if the fare goes down after your purchas.e Yapta.com uses your confirmation number to automatically track the price of your ticket and sends you a heads up by email or Twitter if the price has dropped. Then you call the airline to see about that refund voucher/credit.
– Getaroom.com will tell you the name of the hotel and discounted price before booking it. (I’ve never been comfortable with the “roll the dice” approach offered by the likes of Priceline.com where you have to pay before you find out the hotel, airline or car rental agency that’s giving you some great discount.