Why it’s much easier to redeem points and miles as a solo traveller

Mar 30, 2022

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We talk a lot about the British Airways Companion Voucher here at TPG U.K. It’s arguably the most valuable credit card benefit available to British travellers and allows two people travelling together to save a huge number of Avios when it is redeemed.

Some of our readers have noted they are unable to use a Companion Voucher because they are travelling solo. While this great credit card perk won’t work for them, the reality is that it is much easier to redeem your points and miles as a solo traveller, compared with travelling with a partner or friend, or especially as a whole family.

Related: How to travel solo — and why you absolutely should

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It’s much easier to find availability

It can be difficult to find the exact seats you want, on the carrier you want, and the dates you want, especially in premium classes. The reality is, with limited availability it is much easier to find a one seat than two or more on the same flight.

Screenshot from British Airways

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve travelled with someone else and gone to redeem my points and miles to find only one seat available for redemption, especially in premium cabins. This results in an awkward conversation — should one of you grab that last seat and the other person travel in a lower class, or on a different flight? Should both of you miss out because you are travelling together on the same flight?

Related: If you’re travelling with your partner, would you take a solo upgrade?

Travelling solo means you can snap up that single seat available on points and miles straight away without having to wait for a conversation with a travelling partner.

Fewer requirements for the perfect journey

The more people travelling together, the more preferences they might have. Someone in your travelling party might not want any short overnight flights, regardless of the airline or cabin. Another might prefer a different airport to the one you would like to fly from.

You might want to use your hotel points for a five star property, while other members of your travelling party only want a Holiday Inn.

When you are redeeming points and miles for solo travel, the only requirements you need to think about are your own – there’s no need to go back and forth looking for the perfect itinerary everyone will be happy with.

Related: 9 of the best destinations for women to travel solo

(Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Reach your points and miles goals sooner

Where you earn a generous welcome bonus from a credit card that gets you close to that dream redemption. If you’re travelling with others you might need multiple times the number of points and miles so that everyone can travel together. That could take much longer to earn and delay your travel to keep others happy.

Unless you are looking to redeem a Companion Voucher, it will be much quicker to earn, say 100,000 points and miles than 200,000.

Simpler redemption and change processes

Some loyalty programmes allow you to pool your points and miles with friends and family. This means you can use points and miles from multiple accounts to book for yourself, or multiple people. But if multiple people in your travelling party are looking to redeem miles and points from accounts that can not be pooled together, it can get tricky.

  • What happens if they don’t have enough points and miles for the trip?
  • Can you transfer some to them? Is there a cost for doing this?
  • Are there restrictions on how often you can change the nominees on your account?
  • Should you use all of your points for other people so that everyone is on the same booking?
  • Will they reimburse you in cash, or transfer points back at a later date when they have earned enough to pay you back?

Related: Flying solo: tips for booking a flight for an Unaccompanied Minor

Redeeming for solo travel has none of these headaches — you can just use your own points and miles for yourself without any issues about combining points or ‘lending’ them to someone else.

For changing or cancelling any plans, it can also be easier if you are travelling solo. Say you need to change your plans but a friend or family member used their points and miles to book your travel. The travel provider may refuse to help you because you are not the account holder that made the booking. This could lead to a frustrating back and forth between yourself and the person who made the booking as you ask them to make any changes, and they send the message back and forth between you and the travel provider.

With solo travel where you are using your own points and miles, you are in control, and you can change or cancel your travel as you see fit.

Related: 11 of the best apps for solo travellers

(Photo by GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com)

Bottom line

I’m a huge fan of solo travel — the flexibility, freedom and spontaneity it allows more than make up for the odd lonely dinner or problem-solving conundrum. Regularly redeeming miles and points is easier, not to mention rewarding when you’re able to find the exact seats you want without worrying about availability for two or more.

It also considerably reduces the effort it takes to make decisions and change or cancel any plans when you are in control of the points and miles and there’s only you to think about.

And hey, if you still want an upgrade voucher for solo travel, check out the new Barclays Avios Mastercards — they were made just for you.

Featured image by Thomas Griesbeck on Unsplash

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.

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