An example of why points and miles diversification is a must

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It’s been long overdue for us to visit Morocco.  For years we’ve talked about it and yet somehow other places were prioritized.  No more!  We just booked our tickets to Morocco and we’re ecstatic!  Rich history, herbs and spices, mint tea, coffee, riads, the Sahara…  How can you argue against that?  Of course, we’d look into our points and miles bank to get us there and what I booked and why is the topic  of this post.  I fly Star Alliance almost 100% of the time for multiple reasons: convenience, personal experience, network, its airline members’ livery designs, you name it…  I preach that regardless of reputation and past years’ woes, at the present and into the future United is of great value to the frequent and non-frequent traveler equally.  All that being said, I looked elsewhere to book my tickets.

Don’t get me wrong, I did initially go to my Star Alliance ‘award search engines’ (United, Air Canada, ANA programs) to search for flights to Morocco.  Some routes are easier to book than others.  This one was one of the more difficult ones.  I knew I had several options for one-stops from ORD: via Zurich, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels or Lisbon with Star Alliance members.  None of the searches produced one-stops itineraries, so I began to search for one-way legs and see if I could make up my own itinerary with flights that I knew had award space in them and then call United to book through an agent.  I spent several hours looking through all possible connections, layovers, etc.

To make this happen I had to book each separate leg. This screenshot accounts for 2 one-ways ORD>MAD>CMN

While I searched though I took a glance at my Award Wallet app and noticed a remnant of Iberia Avios that had been sitting there for a little while, and to which I hadn’t given the second thought in almost a year.  Next thing I’m searching through Iberia’s website for possible award tickets from ORD to either CMN or RAK.  Scored two ORD>MAD>CMN business roundtrip tickets for just 154k avios!  The value one can get from Avios is amazing!  It’s just been difficult for me in the past to find the flights I needed without ridiculous taxes/fees.  Well, not this time.  This trip would cost me 280k+ miles through the other main frequent flyer programs.  A win in my book.

In conclusion, yes… we all probably have a favorite airline, alliance, color scheme, and so forth…  It’s only natural.  But we should remember that the point of points and miles is to arrive at the highest return value, in respect to your circumstances.  If I lived in Houston, for example, it would have been much more difficult to book this particular trip for this price.  Herein lies the need for diversifying in one’s points strategy.  Because everyone’s circumstances are different and can change at any point, being points FIT demands being in a good position points-wise whatever may come.  I strongly favor United Airlines and Star Alliance; but my main goal is to reap the highest value from my investment, and that’s what I did by booking with Iberia on this occasion.

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