Booking trips with miles and points has more benefits than just saving you money. Most award trips increase the amount of flexibility you have after booking, just in case you need to make any last-minute changes for any reason. With standard travel booking, you usually have to pay a hefty premium in order to get flexibility which can really add up. Whether it’s booking refundable airfare, a refundable hotel stay, or protecting everything with some form of travel insurance, there is almost always a surcharge if you need the flexibility. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious when you will need the flexibility!
Recently, we booked a trip in June to attend a specific event that I mentioned in my review of 2016. Exactly one day after publishing that article and less than a couple of weeks after booking both our flights and airfare, the entire event was moved to be a month earlier! Even booking everything with the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel protection didn’t cover an event date change like this, but luckily all of our award bookings happened to have varying degrees of flexibility and we were able to re-book everything without any extra costs being incurred.
Below, I’ll walk through how we were able to change the dates on our American Airlines flight, completely cancel and re-book our Alaska Airlines flight, and switch the dates on our IHG booking all completely free thanks to the flexibility of having booked with points and miles.