I decided to head to Chicago for a quick trip this weekend, using miles and points of course. I booked this just a few days ago, so naturally I was looking to use miles and points that did not have close-in ticketing fees.
Airline Miles that do not have close-in ticketing fees on Awards:
- Aeroplan (Air Canada)
- Skymiles (Delta)
- Krisflyer (Singapore)
- Lifemiles (Avianca)
Lifemiles is great for mopping up any last minute award availability. You can purchase Lifemiles at 1.5 cents each during their 2×1 sale, which means at regular prices Lufthansa First Class to Europe is only around ~$1100 USD, if you ticket within 14 days when LH F space opens.
- Avios (British Airways)
Avios is probably the most commonly cited partner where last minute, short, direct, economy class flights for city pairs with high fares are a great deal. BA partners with Alaska, US Airways, and American, so miles can be redeemed on award seats on any of those airlines.
- MileagePlan (Alaska)
Alaska is the only major Emirates partner where award tickets do not incur fuel surcharges, and generally Emirates First Class last minute award space is quite reasonable.
Airline Miles that do have close-in ticketing fees on Awards:
- Dividend Miles (US Airways)
$75, waived for Gold, Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred members – applies to award tickets booked within 21 days of departure
- MileagePlus (United)
$75 for non-elites, $50 for Silver, $25 for Gold, waived for 1K and Platinum members – booking less than 21 days before departure
- AAdvantage (American)
$75 , waived for all AA elites – applies to award tickets booked within 21 days of departure.
The US programs all generally match each other when it comes to fees like this.
Anyways, I hope this article is a good aggregation of information when it comes to last minute award ticketing fees.