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pointme explore

Award Search Tool point.me Levels Up with Flexible ‘Explore’ Feature

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A dozen or more award search tools have hit the market in the last few years, helping travelers zero in on the flights they can actually book using points and miles. But no tool demystifies the maddening world of redeeming points and miles nearly as well as point.me – and now it's getting even better.

Last month, point.me rolled out a long-awaited new “Explore” feature – and it's an apt name. Think of it like Google Flights Explore for your points: Pick your home airport, your travel dates (or an entire month), then select your destination – anything from a country like France or the entire continent of Europe … or absolutely anywhere. You'll quickly see some recent flights with award availability that you can click through to confirm, and then book within a matter of minutes.

And it's all built on point.me's clean and easy-to-understand interface, whether you're a seasoned pro at booking award travel or aiming for your first-ever trip overseas using points.


pointme explore


That solves one of the few pain points of the point.me platform: A lack of flexibility. While point.me will show you the flights you can book using miles and the best way to book for the fewer points possible, it hasn’t been able to show users what could happen if they shift their dates or destination. You search date-by-date, route-by-route. If you come up empty, try something else.

Want to give point.me a bigger shot? Sign up for a monthly subscription using promo code THRIFTYTRAVELER and you can get your first month of unlimited searches for just $1!

It's not perfect, but this Explore tool helps you find those other results you might otherwise miss. Here's how:

  • You can search by country, an entire continent, or anywhere.
  • Have points, will travel anywhere with a beach to lay on or wine to sip? Point.me also lets you filter by destination type, from beach and cultural escapes to wellness and winter sports destinations.
  • You can search for specific dates or flexible dates within a monthlong span, though only for about six months in advance, as of publication.
  • Unfortunately, you can't fine-tune that flexibility – for example, there's not currently an option to restrict your results to a one- or two-week period in June.



chicago to Europe explore


Critically, you're not seeing live award availability with one of these searches: It's pulling in previous results that other point.me users have found within the past 15 days. So while that flight from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Athens (ATH) might still be available, it also may not be. You'll need to click through and run your own search to be sure.

That also means your Explore search might come up empty-handed if other travelers haven't searched for it recently, like this search from Denver (DEN) to Zagreb (ZAG) in Croatia in June.


pointme denver croatia


Still, it could be invaluable. Finding award availability to use your points and miles can be like finding a needle in a haystack – especially if you're hoping to book business class. This could make that haystack seem much smaller.

Other award tools out there can be great, particularly for advanced travel hackers who just need a hand finding last-minute Lufthansa First Class seats from Europe back to the States or United Polaris business class saver award availability. But that's not what the average traveler is looking for – if they even know what those words mean.

For the rest of us – the crowd with a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points or American AAdvantage miles who just want to know the best way to use them for a trip abroad – point.me is second to none. And it doesn't just find the flights you can book with those miles. Point.me also walks you through the entire process, from confirming the seats you want to book are still available to transferring points from your credit card account to booking the actual flight.

Here's a closer look at point.me's latest feature.


 A Walkthrough of point.me & Explore

I'll keep a calendar feature on my wishlist for point.me in 2024 – there's still no way to scroll through several days (or weeks) worth of award availability while you're searching point.me.

But for now, this new feature fills an important gap. Consider the Explore tool your starting point when you're not quite sure where to begin your search to redeem points and miles for an upcoming trip. Explore will (pardon the pun) point you in the right direction. From there, the usual point.me search tools can help you get across the finish line.

To use the new Explore tool, just sign into a point.me account, scroll down on the homepage, and click “Start Exploring” to get started. All users get their first three searches for free.


pointme homepage


Want to give point.me a bigger shot? Sign up for a monthly subscription using promo code THRIFTYTRAVELER and you can get your first month of unlimited searches for just $1!

From there, just tap in your home airport and start searching, whether you want two business class seats from New York City (JFK) to anywhere in Europe this April or four economy seats from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to anywhere in the world on June 10. Hit “Explore,” and you should see results in a matter of seconds.


pointme explore search


But remember: This is not necessarily current award availability – it's a list of results cobbled together from other point.me members' searches from the last 15 days. You'll need to click through to each individual option to re-run a search and confirm those flights are still available.

Flying business class to Geneva (GVA) for about 40,000 points each way sounds nice, doesn't it? Let's check it out: Click “Search live availability” to have point.me re-run a current search.


jfk to geneva


The biggest knock against point.me is that these individual searches can feel a bit sluggish: two, maybe three minutes for a full list of results. But that pales in comparison to the hours upon hours of searching it'd require to find these flights on your own. Plus, the Explore feature helped surface this particularly excellent needle in the haystack – one you might have missed altogether without the ability to search all across Europe.

In this case, the Explore results were spot-on: Nonstop SWISS business class flights from New York to Geneva are bookable for as low as 40,000 points each way. You can sort the results based on points price and the quickest routing and even filter out results based on the airlines, departure times, and number of stops.


jfk to geneva results


But one of the standout features of point.me is the ability to tailor your results based on the points and miles you have. By manually entering your stashes of points or simply linking an AwardWallet account, point.me will point you to the flights you can actually book – not an award ticket using Asiana Airlines miles that are practically impossible to earn.

Just click “Match my card & airline loyalty programs” and poof: A clear path to booking your award tickets, showing which points you need and which airline transfer partner to send them to. Point.me even folds in ongoing transfer bonuses, like the 20% bonus from Chase to Aeroplan available as of publication, which means I'd need just 50,000 points per passenger for these flights.


jfk to geneva


Once you've picked your flight and how you want to book it, point.me walks you through the entire process: how to set up an airline loyalty account like one with Aeroplan (if necessary), instructions for how to triple-check your flights are still bookable via Air Canada, a walkthrough of transferring credit card points to the airline, and the final steps to get everything booked.


point.me walkthrough


Seasoned award travel veterans may not need all that help … but many travelers do. Point.me does that better than any other tool, period.


Getting Started with point.me

Looking to give point.me a shot? There are a handful of options:

  • All first-time users can get their first three searches free
  • After that, point.me also sells 24-hour pass for $5
  • But you can enter promo code THRIFTYTRAVELER and get a full month of unlimited searches for just $1 for the first month!
  • After that, point.me costs $129 a year for a Standard plan with unlimited searches – or $12 a month if you decide to pay monthly
  • Point.me also offers a Premium plan at $260 per year with some additional perks like five free passes to hand out to friends and family, discounts to their concierge service, and a “personalized points strategy consult call”
  • The site also offers some dedicated award travel booking and other, more hands-on services


Bottom Line

Power users and award travel experts might be better served by other tools. But for the rest of us, point.me is the closest thing you'll find to a silver bullet for using your points and miles wisely.

Point.me still isn't perfect – no tool is. But this new Explore feature makes it even easier to find a flight you want without doing all that legwork yourself.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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