You probably read a lot about earning miles and points, but the other half of the equation is effectively redeeming those miles and points. Some people really enjoy spending hours looking for the best redemption, but others want the options laid out in front of them in a more time efficient manner. I have written before about MileWise.com since that site does some of the thinking and comparing of the various miles and points (and cash) options for you. I really like any sites and tools that help folks earn, track, or redeem miles and points, so I am a big fan of MileWise.com.
As a brief review, MileWise supports the following programs for rewards searches:
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Virgin America
- United Airlines
- US Airways
- American Express
- Capital One
- Starwood Preferred Guest
For cash fare inventory, they support all of the major domestic and international airlines, except for American and Southwest. Since my first post on them, they lost the ability to display Delta rewards due to Delta joining American and Southwest in not allowing other websites to display their data. So, keep in mind that without those airlines, the info you are getting from MileWise is a bit limited. However, it is still a good starting off point for searches.
MileWise has now partnered with Google’s ITA to introduce “combo fares” which combine cash, miles, and points options simultaneously. As an example, I searched for a ticket from Houston to Chicago and back this weekend. The first option to come up was actually a Combo Fare. However, to see the options you have to click on the Combo Fare.
Once you do you will see that in this case the potential best option is a combo of a Spirit Airlines fare on the outbound, and a US Airways fare on the return. By booking two one-ways you would potentially save over $100 (though yes, one way would be on Spirit, so I know some people would avoid that at all costs). You also are presented with a decent option of flying one-way on United miles and home on a US Airways fare.
Often the best deal from Houston to Chicago is 7,500 British Airways Avios each way on an American Airlines direct flight, but that option isn’t presented due to American not allowing their information to be used. Thumbs down to all airlines not allowing their info to be used!
You can read more about the new combo fare features here and here. I would not personally rely solely on MileWise for my award searches, but I do think it is a great tool for those who want a quick overview of some available awards and cash options. I have found myself using it for that exact purpose several times in recent weeks. I like to see that they continue to improve their service and offerings. If only Delta, American, and Southwest would play nicely with these types of services!
Have you used their new “Combo Fares” option? What do you think of this addition to MileWise?