Links to Rewards Maps, Planning Tools, Points Calculators
Here’s a great place to find how many points it takes to reserve a flight or hotel in various programs.
Finding the best Rewards Program to get from Point A to Point B
There’s a new batch of very helpful flight-points calculators that are eager to help you plan your trip. While none of these can tell you in real time if your flight is available, they DO incorporate most of the obscure or hard to find Point Transfer rules that you might not be aware of. This is a great place to start your planning if you’re flying internationally. If you’re flying Domestically, (Excluding HI/AS) most programs do an Econ RT within the US for 25,000 Points. SouthWest, Delta, and British airways are among the more popular exceptions.
Far and away the best ‘Points for Flights‘ tool out there now, AwardAce gives you Econ and Biz Rates, aggregates the pricing in a color coded scheme, lets you break down the results by carrier OR Transfer Partner Program, and has a wonderful User Interface. Its also how I found out I could actually fly to Manila from Chicago in Lie-Flat ANA Business Seats with amazing food and drinks!*
*Certain itineraries that include more than 1 stopover complicate the process of accurately pricing fares, so for convenience use a ‘hub’ that the Airline flies into as a departure point, instead of your obscure small-town airport.
Miles.Biz has a pretty nice interface, and a slightly different presentation of the same data that AwardAce gets you. They get points for being able to break down the different rates if you travel in ‘Off Peak’ vs Peak Rates through various airlines that have such constraints. Their ‘Check Rates’ links (per program) will take you directly to the Search Engine of that airline, which is really nice. They also include additional information like hotel transfer partners and unusual caveats about each airline.
FlyerMiler by Economical Excursionists is a great resource, breaking down the 1 way fare in points for just about every airline that uses static numbers, and even includes the Off peak vs On peak rates for AA and other airlines. More impressive is their actual breakdown on how you get their, via their ‘Routes’ Tab.
Hotel Points Calculators
For Hotels, Award-O-Matic.com has the most user-friendly interface, with the most advanced search capabilities. They are also the only option that allows you to break down which specific ‘family’ in a hotel chain you want to stay at… And more importantly, what Level or Tier you wish to stay at. So you can easily break it down to ‘Show my what 15,000 UR Points Gets me in this area.’
By default it shows every level of every hotel in the city. Simply uncheck the boxes of programs you can’t use. If you’re trying to be frugal, slide the ‘Points’ slider to whatever daily rate you’re comfortable with. The only downside is I think their points are ‘static’ and not updated to live data. So if a new hotel pops up, it might not show up in your search. Plus they won’t take Devaluations into account.
Award Mapper is nice because it shows you ALL the options in a specific searched area immediately, along with their points per night / category rate. So you can easily compare without having to click on each option (ala AwardoMatic.) The site runs very clean but I have issues on mobile. A solid site overall.
Hotel Hustle is owned and operated by Wandering Armenian.
The ability to see the cash value and ‘Cash Per Point’ automatically is a cool feature. Other products don’t let you search by date or see LIVE availability, so that’s a nice touch. Though the others have a nicer UI and don’t start as ‘zoomed out’ when you start a new search. You also have to adjust the ‘Search Radius’ or else you see hotels 50 miles away. Another minus is you have to re ‘un-check’ all of the hotels you don’t want indexed every time you do a new search. If you leave the search dates blank, you’ll see the previous sale price per night, plus a range of points which can be useful.
For Airline Awards, our friends at TravelIsFree have already done the work for us:
These guys in my opinion put in the most amount of work for the Churning Community. They have guides for everything, such as how to best use your Free Nights from IGH/Hilton/Hyatt, How to use ‘Open Jaw or Stop Over Flights’ – and many other things that are above my pay grade.
Their ‘Cheapest Miles to ____’ is one of my favorites.
And lastly, if you came to this page looking for ALL of the best Credit Card offers at the moment, and were curious if they were the BEST offer for a given card or not… Fear not- that information can be found here:
This is a Shared Doc NOT owned by me, so use at your own risk… but you can easily find the information (card) you need, click on the link to see if the current best offer is active or not… Very helpful for those planning on applying for more than one card in 3 months, and for those who again want the best value for their dollar / credit pull.
Another useful piece of information if you’re planning which cards to get when, is this handy flow chart created by some folks on Reddit.