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One type of email I get regularly is from families looking for help booking award trips using the miles and points they have accumulated. I do my best to answer some basic redemption questions, and will sometimes turn those questions into post ideas if I think the answer might benefit a larger number of people, but I unfortunately don’t have the time to do detailed award searches, or run my own award booking service.
Thankfully, there are others who do run award booking services, which can be a good option to turn to if you don’t have the time or knowledge to book the type of award trip you are after. You can absolutely learn how to book any award you want on your own just by reading through posts and forums online, but for some busy folks that just isn’t worth the time and effort. While I have never used an award booking service myself (in part so I can build my own first-hand experience of booking trips), I do regularly provide lists of award booking services to others who are in the market. I purposefully have no affiliation or commissioned relationship with any booking service, but I do want to keep you in the loop on newer booking services from time to time as I learn about them.
We have been learning more about Award Advocate, an award booking service, that seems to really cater to finding their customers really special award trips . As they say on their site, they want to be “advocates for you and your miles.” They started their business after regularly booking trips for their friends and family members due to wanting them to have the best travel experience possible with their miles. Which I can totally relate to as I do the same thing!
Here is what co-founder, Kam, had to say about his business:
“My co-founder, Dan, and I have always enjoyed booking trips for friends and families in business and first class and staying at nice hotels. It was a way for family to get together when they otherwise wouldn’t because of cost restraints. We then decided to start our service and help others out as well. It is a business, but we do genuinely care that clients have a great trip, and try hard to get them the best that their miles will buy. I recently helped plan a trip for a couple that was going on a ten year anniversary trip and wanted something really special. They actually came to me after going to another service that had found them a plain united business class trip to Europe. He explained that they wanted something very special for the occasion and I thought, what can be better than sharing a Singapore Suites double bed?! I did a lot of searching and found dates that worked for them, and he was very pleased.”
Kam and Dan’s client has continued to rave about their services, and you can read about it in this Flyertalk forum. This thread is a really great tool for exploring the different booking sites available, comparing them, and reading reviews that have been posted. There are a few distinct positives about Award Advocate that you don’t always receive with other booking services, including that they don’t charge for last minute booking and they do assist in booking with paid tickets.
They charge $75 per person for domestic bookings and $100 per person for international bookings. If a change needs to be made after the ticket has been reserved, it is a $50 charge unless it is a scheduling change initiated by the airline. These prices are a bit more budget friendly than some of the other award booking sites, but it is pretty common in the award booking world for newer sites to start off with lower prices.
Their submission process (found by clicking their Services tab) seems pretty easy and allows you to get all your points and miles information to them at once instead of separately adding each program one by one.
Award Advocate will offer a 10% discount for families with children and for active duty military. This is advertised under the ‘Services’ section of their site.
This site and the founders seem to be very hands on right now, and having great customer service is important to them. They say they always call the prospective award booking clients, as they believe it is a more effective way of getting to know what type of trip they want, so they can provide better service. I appreciate that Award Advocate says they know the trips they book mean a lot to the people involved, and they want to relieve the clients’ anxiety and give them the peace of mind of the trip being booked.
In terms of why they are named Award Advocate…
“We like to help the client from start to finish which includes dealing with the airline on the phone. There are a lot of bookings that cannot be booked online, and rather than telling the client an itinerary and being done with it, I call the airlines for them and get it booked so they don’t have to worry. Also to be good at this we need to think outside of the box sometimes as far as using several types of miles and routings that the airline sites don’t provide. Airlines don’t make booking award travel that easy for people, so we want to be the consumers advocate, the Award Advocate.”
If you are looking for an award site I recommend giving Award Advocate a try. Like many other award sites I have written about, you only pay the fee once you are fully satisfied with the trip they find for you. Hopefully they can help make a dream vacation come true for you!
If you are interested in comparing some other award booking services, you can check out this post I wrote about Award Magic, and of course there are also the well established award booking services of PointsPros run by Lucky of One Mile at a Time, and Book Your Award, run by Gary Leff from View From the Wing.