Last week, there were almost 500,000 travelers that went through security screening at US airports. No question – people are starting to travel more. Many may be doing it to see family, for essential reasons, work, etc. Others may be doing it for vacation. Whatever the reason, travel is looking up.
Why Booking with Miles Can Be Much Better Than Cash for International Travel – Right Now
However, it gets a little tricky when you are booking for international travel! For one thing, countries are changing entry requirements often (this is where this great travel tool can come in handy). For another, airlines are cutting flights and schedules all the time on international routes. This could be due to entry policies or also due to lack of interest in a route.
While airlines have to refund you when they cancel the flight, most are not in any hurry to give your money back to you. In some cases, you could be waiting months before you get your money back.
The airlines are offering various alternatives – like Turkish with their options for Open Tickets, miles, and even a 15% bonus on getting a voucher instead. While these can be some great options, they require you to travel with that airline to take advantage of the offers.
That is where the problem is for international trips. If you had to shell out $600 for an international trip with one airline and the flight gets canceled and pushed out a week or more, you may not get that $600 back for quite a while! What if you need to book with another airline? What if they cancel? You could find yourself in the position where you have given interest free, short-term “loans” to multiple international airlines!
Using Miles Can Be a Huge Advantage with Canceled/Changed Flights
When you use miles, many airlines have waived change/cancellation fees for award tickets. This makes it incredibly easy to just get your miles back and rebook with a different partner airline or sit on the miles and use another program! You are not out any money and the miles go right back to you!
My Situation – Aeroplan for the Win!
I have an essential trip coming up soon that has been put off for 3 weeks now and faced 11 itinerary cancellations. I knew when I planned this trip that I would not be using cash/credit card for this trip due to the uncertainty of the schedules actually holding.
Instead, I used my Aeroplan miles. I have to say – Aeroplan has been pretty good! All award flights booked until the end of June 30 can be redeposited with no fee that is a good thing if you need to cancel due to country border issues.
It has also helped me because I have been booked with multiple airlines that have changed their schedules up so much that flying with them will simply not work anymore. Had I booked with cash, I would have thousands out there with several airlines – a couple of which I never fly with! Sure, I would have gotten my money back but I would not have been happy to let it sit out there for possibly months.
There is one little downside and that has to do with award availability. With fewer flights flying now than a few months ago, the award options can be slim. In the past, if a flight canceled, I could have the issuing airline put me on a new flight – even if there were fuel surcharges and/or no award availability.
But, since many airlines are redepositing for free, they had just been telling me to cancel and rebook – that they would not change me to those kinds of flights anymore.
Having airline miles has always been a great way to save on travel but now it can also save on huge headaches! If you need to travel internationally in the next month or so, definitely consider using miles before using your cash – unless you like having your cash in the airline’s hands for a while!