Subject: Best use of frequent flyer points
Hello Ziners,

I'm going to share my opinion on this but I'd also like to hear yours as well.

The absolute best use of frequent flyer points or miles (here-in-after referred to as miles) is for travel at the last minute. More people than you'd ever realize find themselves having to travel at the last minute due to attending a funeral or visiting a loved one in the hospital.

Even with a so-called Bereavement Discount or Compassion Fare the ticket is still, many times, anywhere from $600.00 to a thousand, per person, depending on where you're traveling. However with miles, it's practically nothing, even if you have to pay a last minute ticketing fee. And guess what? MOST people DON'T have a funeral in Hawaii, Orlando or Vegas and also don't have their funeral during Thanksgiving, Christmas or Spring Break. Those are, in order, the most popular destinations (by far) and the most popular times to ATTEMPT to use miles. Therefore, based on my experience, flying at the last minute to a non-resort city and usually not during a busy holiday also gives you the best chance of seats being available at the lowest number of miles required!

There is not a single work day that goes by that I don't personally encounter or hear about someone considering using 25k miles for something they could have purchased for under $300.00. The on-going record in the break-room is 50k for a $169.00 ticket. ALWAYS ask what the ticket would cost monetarily before you use the points. As a rule of thumb don't use 25k miles for anything under $300.00 or 50k miles for anything under $600.00 Then you could also accrue that many more points by purchasing the ticket and saving your points for something or someone else.

Lastly, try to avoid the dreaded buying one ticket and using miles for another for two people on the same flights. Usually it's difficult to match up the flights you want without either using more miles or paying more for the revenue ticket.

Hope that helps and looking forward to your opinions and experiences.

Gregory in Houston Reservations Supervisor - Continental Airlines