Sign up: 24-hour Starter Pass, $5; Self-Serve annual membership, $129, point.me
Thanks to amazing credit card welcome offers, amassing points is easier than ever. Using those points to book award flights, though? That’s become drastically harder. In the past five years, most—but not all—airlines have switched from fixed charts for award flights to proprietary dynamic pricing models. At the same time, many more travelers have entered the world of points and miles, increasing competition for award seats at reasonable points pricing.
Though it often feels like the days of transferring 55,000 credit card points to jet from Miami to Paris in business class are over, they are not. Of course, the best deals command flexibility, but they also require looking beyond the search engine of a single airline’s loyalty program. Until now, even points pros like me had to piece together award availability and pricing through advanced tools like ExpertFlyer and searches over multiple frequent flier programs.
But with the debut of Point.me, the process has become far simpler.
Point.me, which launched in February 2022, is the first metasearch engine for award flights. Spanning 33 loyalty programs and 150 airlines, it’s easy to use, reasonably priced, and a smart tool for helping decide how to spend miles and how to best transfer credit card points into miles for desired tickets. Here is what you need to know about this exciting new tool.
How Point.me works
Point.me resembles familiar flight search engines like Google Flights, Kayak, and Expedia. First, enter your airports of departure and arrival, date of travel, and number of passengers. Then choose between one-way and round-trip, as well as business or economy.
Results are priced out in points across 33 different programs. You can then sort these results by quickest flights, lowest price, or Point.me picks (the site’s recommendation for the best overall option). You can also filter by the number of stops, and eliminate specific airlines and programs from the mix, if you wish.
What you’ll find
The first thing you’ll notice is that points pricing dramatically differs across programs, even airline programs within the same alliance. The second is that great deals are still out there.
For example, on June 5, 2022, we searched for a business-class ticket between New York (JFK) and Frankfurt (FRA) on August 17, 2022. Points pricing ranged from 57,500 miles using American Airlines AAdvantage (on a Royal Maroc partner flight) to 1,925,000 miles using Etihad Guest (on its own metal). We sorted by quickest flights among the 92 results and discovered two nonstops with ideal timing: one on Singapore Airlines for 85,000 points, another on Delta for 375,000 points. That’s a huge difference for the same eight-hour flight on comparable business products (and in fact, we find Singapore’s business-class offering superior on this route).
Now, with the prize in reach, we look to Point.me on how to obtain Singapore Airlines miles and membership in Singapore’s KrisFlyer program. Because Point.me search results include options for using credit card points to get those frequent flier miles, we see that we can get that Singapore ticket by transferring points from one or several credit card programs. Recall that points earned on most general travel cards, including introductory bonuses and credit card spending, are transferable to numerous airline frequent flier programs. Whether you are using American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, or Capital One points, you can convert them into miles of specific airline programs at the click of a button. In our case, we’ll be transferring a combination of Amex and Chase points to hit the 85,000 mark.
Point.me goes as far as guiding customers with a step-by-step process of transferring credit card points to miles and scoring a coveted award seat. After following the detailed instructions, we have secured our ticket from JFK to FRA on Singapore Airlines.
How much Point.me costs
The Point.me self-search tool isn’t free, but it’s not very pricey, either. You can get a day pass for $5 or pay $129 for an annual membership. If the process starts feeling more overwhelming than exciting but you still want to maximize your current points balance for primo award seats, Point.me also offers a full-service concierge booking service. A Point.me consultant will handle every aspect of your award booking (starting from $200).
At no extra cost, members can also sync their accounts between Point.me and AwardWallet. For those unfamiliar, AwardWallet is a site for keeping track of all your points and miles in one place. By syncing the two, Point.me can give a greater indication of which award seats are within reach, based on your balances.
Point.me is a game changer, but it’s not yet perfect
Searches can take up to two minutes (lengthy for search engine standards) and can be performed for specific dates only (versus, say, Google Flights, where you can search an entire calendar to find the best cash deals). As with all award availability, the situation can change quickly. In fact, in the process of writing this article, the lowest priced seat for our JFK to FRA example—57,500 miles using American Airlines AAdvantage on a Royal Maroc partner flight—disappeared. We’re guessing another savvy traveler grabbed it! Additionally, there are some days in which you simply won’t find a good deal. They’re out there but again may require flexibility with dates and carriers.
Point.me also clearly states on its site, “Availability and pricing is not guaranteed. Any points transferred cannot be reversed.” Point.me pulls from many search engines and not all are updated in real time. So be sure to follow the site’s step-by-step booking process to ensure that the award seat is still there before transferring credit card points to frequent flier programs.
For those who want to use their credit card points and frequent flier miles at maximum value, Point.me is a trailblazing, must-have award search tool. The $129 annual fee is a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds or thousands you can save by scoring the best points deal.