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This flight search site simplifies the complex game of miles and points

Yet another travel site is now vying for your attention, and this one wants you to spend some of your money now to avoid spending a lot later.

Point.Me, created by the folks behind the One Mile at a Time travel blog, starts with the same origin-destination-date details as any travel search site, but rates flights in the currencies which are airline frequent flyer miles.

The results take a few minutes to show, because this site has to run individual queries on over 30 airline sites instead of routing them through one of the “Global Distribution System” backends that streamline most airline purchases. flights. Its results may reveal surprising bargains, and not just for those who want to connect instead of flying nonstop: better values ​​may come from booking a flight on one airline using miles from a partner airline. .

For example, searching for flights from Washington, D.C., to Belize revealed that the best deal for a first-class ticket involved booking a United Airlines one-stop itinerary using 25,000 miles from Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, a transfer partner of American Express, Capital One and Chase rewards cards, as the results page helpfully states, plus $36 in taxes and fees.

Point.Me does not handle actual bookings, but instead provides illustrated walkthroughs of the process, which in this case (assuming you are an Aeroplan newbie but have enough Amex, Capital One or Chase points ) involves opening an Aeroplan account, logging into your credit card account to transfer the points, then returning to the Air Canada site to book the flight.

This type of booking bank may be familiar to regular readers of One Mile at a Time and other travel blogs that refer to miles and points optimization as “the hobby”, but the developers of Point .Me have a different audience in mind.

“They’re usually overwhelmed with the number of transfer options,” Jordan Rozum, director of product development, said in a Zoom interview. “They have no idea you can transfer points from Amex to British Airways to book a flight to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines.”

Point.Me’s resource-intensive grip, much like booking travel with miles, comes with its own cost. A one-year subscription costs $129, which seems steep for people not looking to engage in the miles and points hobby; $12 per month or $5 per day, however, might work for people looking for special occasion trips.

The site benefits from a lack of competition. Another travel blog’s iPhone app, The Points Guy, has a rewards explorer that estimates the price of points and miles for particular routes, but it doesn’t check inventory. (Disclosure: I wrote a few stories for TPG.)

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On the other hand, Point.Me also runs the risk that airline sites will not appreciate its automated queries and resulting server load, not to mention how easy it can be to spend their currencies.

“If one of those carriers is a bit more aggressive and wants us to take them offline, we should take them offline,” Rozum said. He added that Point.Me does not store frequent flyer account credentials (the TPG app’s option to do so has led to an ongoing lawsuit from American Airlines), although it allows users who manage them through the third-party service AwardWallet to connect it to their Point.Me account.

Rozum noted that Point.Me already has a real-world airline relationship management practice in the form of a flight search tool he created for Amex that launched in September. He suggested the partnership had already helped elevate the site’s status with airlines, an important goal for any frequent traveler.

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