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Using CC points to book low cost flights
Kind of a general question but I want to make sure I’m thinking about this right. I am planning some extended travel beginning in South East Asia and I’ve been disappointed with my options to redeem CC points on low-cost carriers on domestic flights and regional flights inside of South East Asia. I’m having similar results looking at redemption options within Europe on some of their low-cost carriers.
The two major problems are that 1) Cheap flights often don’t show up on redemption portals for AMEX and Chase(not all carriers are a part of their booking system), leaving only more expensive flights to redeem points with or 2) If I were to transfer points to an airline and redeem using their award availability, there don’t seem to be many good options for these shorter haul flights and there is a lot of leg work that goes into searching each airline out to determine cost in miles, availability, fees/taxes, etc.
My question is this: Am I better off in the long run just paying cash/avoiding the hassle of maximizing points for domestic/regional/short haul flights and saving my miles/points to redeem for long haul flights at a better redemption rate? Or should I be using another strategy to book low-cost flights using miles or points?
I think a lot of it depends on how much time you want to put into it and how much you value the points. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of research already and aren’t thrilled with the redemption rates and that award availability isn’t great. In that case – especially if there are cheap flights available – I’d just pay cash for the tickets. Better to be able to go where you want to go when you want to go. You could always use a card like the Barclay’s Arrival Plus or a Capital One card that will let you redeem points against a charge once it’s been made. With the A+ card you’ve got 120 days to accumulate points after the charge is made.