How to Search Availability on Miles & More Mileage Bargains

How to Search Availability on Miles & More Mileage Bargains

In my last post I introduced Mileage Bargains from the Miles & More program and the sweet spot of redeeming 55,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket to Europe in business class. I also mentioned that the only way to search for availability was through a Miles & More account with a minimum balance of 7000 miles. Well thanks to reader Mojic’s comment I have discovered some other methods to search for space on these bargain awards.

The comment asked whether bargain awards were visible via ExpertFlyer. I had no clue but to find out, I had to uncover the booking classes that Mileage Bargain flights were ticketed in.

Mileage Bargain Booking Class

After searching through my inbox, I found the ticket details from my last Mileage Bargain which was a business class trip on Lufthansa in 2016.

Conveniently the ticket was booked in class “I” which is the standard booking class for business class award tickets on Star Alliance. Trivia: Class “X”, “I” and “O” represents Star Alliance award inventory for Economy, Business, First class respectably.

So assuming Mileage Bargains book in “X” class for economy and still book in “I” class for business, we can search for bargain award availability just as we would with any other Star Alliance award space via AwardFlights, ExpertFlyer, Aeroplan etc.

Search with AwardFlights

In the series Tools I Use, Jayce outlines how to use AwardFlights to search award space efficiently with multiple dates, cities, and search engines from different points programs.

When checking Star Alliance availability on AwardFlights, I always tick off the boxes for both NH (ANA) and AC (Aeroplan) to get a strong coverage of the possible routes. Eg. ANA shows LOT Polish Airlines award flights when Aeroplan currently does not. Here are the results for 4 passengers on LOT Economy between Toronto to Warsaw during the mileage bargain period.

 

And here are the Mileage Bargain search results on Miles & More which reflects the same availability on the same dates for 4 passengers as searched on AwardFlights.

Search with United MileagePlus

Thanks to AwardFlights I can search for Star Alliance award without having to directly visit a search engine like Aeroplan and click through the award calendar to notate which dates have certain routes. But one of the few search engines I will still visit is United.com because you can search with a filter option that shows nonstop flights only and then almost instantly open a calendar view with the lowest price per day in miles and fees. These calendar displays are the best because if you see the date squares populated with the same miles and fees, you know the cheapest nonstop flight is available. And like almost all frequent flyer programs in the US, United does not require an account to run award searches.

United award search results also matches the availability on M&M Mileage Bargains!

Mileage Bargains on Lufthansa

Although the standard award availability and the bargain award space was in perfect sync for LOT, Austrian and SWISS, it was not for Lufthansa. There was a decent amount of availability for Lufthansa flights shown on Miles & More but little to no availability shown on partner sites. This is most likely Lufthansa releasing extra award inventory to their own M&M members which is not a rare practice in the loyalty space.

Despite not being able to search for accurate Lufthansa availability on partner sites, it is still possible to check award space without having to deposit 7000 miles to access the M&M search engine. You can call M&M to inquire if there is “Business Flex” availability on dates within the mileage bargains promotional period, if there is space, you will be able to book at the bargain rate online after depositing the miles required.

For the current promotion out of Montreal to Europe in Lufthansa Business Class, I have manually searched the availability from my M&M account.

Lufthansa Business Class – Montreal to Europe (Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona. Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, Stockholm, Munich, Moscow, Milan, Rome, St Petersburg, +62 more)

Roundtrip miles: 55,000 miles (45,000 SPG)
Approx taxes: 1000 CAD to 1075 CAD
Booking dates: March 1 – April 2, 2018
Travel dates: July 1 – August 15, 2018

Available travel dates (2 passengers)
Montreal to Europe via Munich– Jul 1-5, 7-14, 16-19, 21-26, 28, 30-31, Aug 2, 7-8, 11-13
Montreal to Europe via Frankfurt – Jul 3-5, 7-14, 16-17, 22, 24-25, 30
Europe to Montreal via Munich – Jul 3-6, 10-12, 14, 17-21, 23-26, 30-31, Aug 3, 6, 8-10, 14-16
Europe to Montreal via Frankfurt – Aug 7, 14

See my previous post for available travel dates for the other mileage deals.

Conclusion

Miles & More Mileage bargain deals are booked in the standard “X” award class for Economy and “I” for Business. Thus, ExpertFlyer, AwardFlights and United’s search engine are actually able to find bargain awards with exception to a limitation on Lufthansa flights. Lufthansa availability can be inquired without a M&M account by calling in for space in “Business Flex”.

Finding and booking award space is always a pain but is a right of passage for every self sufficient travel hacker. Stay tuned as I share more general tips on how to book efficiently on points!

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