Award Magic could change everything if you use airline miles to book travel. Every savvy traveler knows that the best way to travel for free (or close to it)—especially in international business or first class—is to use miles—and even more specifically, to go the credit card route to quickly accrue a boatload of miles (and because many don’t have blackout dates). But cashing in miles from an airline directly can be a chore, especially for those who aren’t travel savvy or flexible. It’s never as easy as it should be.
If you’re sick and tired of spending hours on the phone calling the airlines and listening to their annoying prompts and hold music and then dealing with an agent that barely understands what are trying to achieve then you might want to consider a mileage booking service. Award Magic is one of a number of people and companies that offer such a service. I recently met them while speaking at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show and they impressed me with their knowledge and friendliness. They also offered me a commission (full disclosure).
Mileage bookers aren’t for everyone. But basically, Award Magic helps you ensure you get the best possible value out of your miles and does all the work to ensure that. From finding the best routes to searching for award space, from calling the airlines on your behalf to booking the award seats themselves, they take care of it all. They can assist in anything and everything when it comes to redeeming your miles and will do everything in their power to ensure that you are maximizing the value of each and every one of your loyalty points.
Award Magic has an easy-to-use website and a hyper-intuitive submission form that asks you all the basic questions like your name, date of birth, dates of travels, the program you want to use, and the number of miles/points. You don’t need to give them your passwords or even account numbers until they are ready to put the ticket on hold.
Here’s a breakdown from Award Magic on how their service works:
- Customers fill out the form, which you can find on our site by clicking the main link in the clouds. There is no need for personal account info other than how many miles you have and what programs you have them in.
- We reply with a personal “check-in” within 24 hours (usually 3-5). This just reviews the request, ensures we understand it and gets the client to “approve” our costs and process.
- We communicate back and forth with the client trying to nail down the perfect itinerary.
- The client gives his/her approval.
- We collect the necessary info to put it on hold and/or ticket (some airlines don’t allow holds on awards).
- We call the airlines (when necessary) on their behalf and actually ticket the reservation for them – they never lift up a phone!
- We send an invoice which also has a full breakdown of all of the flights, numbers, dates, times, etc….
- At the bottom of the invoice there’s a link to our secure payment page.
Award Magic charges $139 per person, per booking for Standard Awards (one-way or round-trip tickets that may include one stopover along the way). Bookings that involve three or more destinations—like a Round The World (RTW) ticket or the American Airlines Explorer Award—will cost you $249 per person, per booking. What’s really nice about Award Magic is that you don’t pay unless you’re fully satisfied with your itinerary, simple as that. And they don’t charge a fee to help you upgrade to another class of service assuming you maintain the original routing.
Good to know: They don’t book paid tickets, only award tickets. And they do offer an expedited service for those leaving within seven days for an additional $25 per person.
Here’s the booking form to give it a try. Remember, it doesn’t cost any money until you confirm that you’d like to make the booking. (Also note that the submission button only appears when you check the “I agree to the Terms & Conditions” box.)