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When I speak to my friends about booking trips using their credit card points or frequent flyer points - they always seem to leave it to the last minute. Even booking a holiday with cash which majority of people do - they do the same thing - book last minute. Why?

I believe it is because they fail to plan early. By giving yourself plenty of time to book ahead – I personally like to do it 12 months ahead – the opportunities and award seats available are much greater than the last few weeks before departure.

Booking with points or miles for award seats are best done months away before you decide you want to fly. Yes you need to be flexible especially in terms of booking the award seat – but there are many more options available and if you know the airlines which have a good number of seats available – then you can time it just about right.

For example I was able to book my family of four to go to the Maldives in January on Singapore Airlines Business Class flying out of Sydney. It was quite easy because I knew Singapore Airlines released seats about 350 days out. Knowing the routing rules always helps – booking in advance lets you research your options that the frequent flyer program you wish to fly on with a better chance of securing the seat. I’ll bet you now there is no chance you can get 4 Business class seats all on the same flights because the time I booked it was peak time and the award seats would have been picked up already.

Flexibility is your friend but also being pro-active and putting a bit of research does amazing things. I’ve seen so many people book award seats in the last few months – what happens is they end up booking an economy ticket or they are paying double or even triple the number of points an award seat costs because the frequent flyer program can charge that much. If you learn not to get yourself in that situation – then you will have a much better flying experience.

I view this in the same manner for your finances. So many people are in credit card debt. I believe more than 90% of the population do not pay off their credit card in full each month which incurs high interest of more than 20%!!!! If you are one of them – then I’m sorry to say the points and miles game isn’t for you.

But if you are in the 10% of the population that does pay off their credit card – then booking award seats by first earning points efficiently is the best way forward in terms of saving money and having a luxurious travel experience.

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