Do you have frequent flier miles accumulating and don't know how or if you can use them? Some programs are confusing and frustrating. But the airlines give away millions of trips and upgrades every year, so someone is cashing in on those miles. Why is that?
The supply of seats is constantly changing according to supply and demand according to the airlines. It makes sense that these award seats should be more available in a recession, but in reality...it's just the opposite.
Planes ran about 86% full in July of this year, leaving only a few seats for award travelers. Plus, airlines wait until the very last minute to offer award seats. They want their planes to be full.
Best advice I have been given when using award miles...book about 330 days in advance (when airlines make those seats available) OR book late (within 2 weeks of travel when airlines may release unsold seats).
Do NOT try to book popular destinations at popular times AND use award miles. Just won't work! Hawaii at Christmas...nope not going to happen.
I call the airline's reservation center to book my award trips. Sure, it costs me a $25 booking fee...but that's not bad for a ticket to my destination.
More tips tomorrow...