back to top
Tuesday, June 25, 2024
HomePointsThe Award Booking Service Debut: Get Me Out of Mongolia!

The Award Booking Service Debut: Get Me Out of Mongolia!

Okay, contestants, your client comes to you today from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He needs a change of temperature yesterday. He has provided you with the following tools per his AwardWallet account. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to get him out of Mongolia before the end of October and back for the least amount of points and cash out-of-pocket. He wants to visit the following cities:

  • Hong Kong
  • Bangkok
  • Phuket

American Airlines: 235,000

Avianca: 23,000

British Airways: 54,000

United: 30,000 (manually entered)

US Airways: 158,000

Membership Rewards: 30,000

Ultimate Rewards: 137,000

Cash: $250

What do you do?

Today, there are so many award booking services provided by so many bloggers. Their fees range from $100 on up with more being charged for complex bookings. As I wrote in ThePointsOfLife Thank You, I appreciate the lessons learned from  fellow bloggers about how they not only obtained the points but also how they redeemed them.

After all, it’s pointless to have one without the other.

I consider myself an expert in points bookings and boast the following resume:

  • Booked a first class flight to Shanghai on Emirates and a return flight on Singapore Airlines A380 with a stopover in Bali.
  • Booked a round the world ticket on American Airlines in business that was 16 segments, totaling 50,000 miles to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America for $275.
  • Booked a flight to the Final 4 for next to nothing when tickets were going for over $1000.
  • Booked a free flight to Costa Rica on a moment’s notice.

Why am I so good at award bookings? Because I maintain a diverse portfolio of points and because I refuse, absolutely refuse, to let the airlines win.

This award challenge is being featured because contrary to what bloggers say in regards to the difficulty of booking a flight to Tahiti, New Zealand, and the Moon, the hardest redemption of my life (accounting for devaluations) is simply to get out of Mongolia on a reasonable points ticket.

So get creative, get clicking, and let’s see if you can come up with a more clever solution than I.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I booked, convincing me that I too should start an award redemption service.

Keep churning my friends,



Here’s a hint


  1. What about this:

    ULN-PEK 10/21 11:50-14:00
    PEK-BKK: 10/21 17:05-21:15
    BKK-HKT 10/22 18:15-19:35

    HKT-BKK-PEK-ULN on 10/24, arriving 10/25 back in ULN.

    This gives you 1 (possibly 2) ~20 hour layovers in Bangkok, along with 2-3 days in Phuket. You can also open jaw your return from Hong Kong – ULN if you wanted to see all 3 places on this trip.

    I searched on Air Canada – it’s 35,000 Aeroplan miles + $150. If you open jaw out of HKG, your fees drop down to about $76.

    Air Canada can transfer from Amex, but you don’t have enough. You could also book this on United, but you’ll also pay the $75 close-in booking fee there. Maybe Singapore or Lufthansa?

  2. In the end, I was duped by the phantom availability of United. I had my cc # inputted and then I got the error and error and error.

    It would’ve been:
    Lifemiles 17.5k to Hong Kong (1 Night)
    7500 + $35 British Avios to BKK (3 Nights)
    $50 Air Asia to Phuket (3 Nights)
    20,000 United Miles back to ULN
    Total: $100 in taxes

    In the end I settled for mediocrity:
    $350 Hunnu Air (don’t ask) to Hong Kong (1 night)
    20,000 + $36 in taxes on United to ULN (skipping Phuket for Pattaya because I’m boycotting aviation as much as possible). (3 Nights in each)

    Undoubtedly one of my worst redemptions ever.

Leave a Reply