Travel Tuesday: Finding Award Flights with Bilt’s Point.Me Feature
Earlier this year, I noted that Bilt was one of the top FinTech tools I was keeping an eye on in 2023. That declaration followed a 2022 that saw the company add a number of exciting features and promotions — not to mention that I became a Bilt cardholder last year as well. Now, keeping in line with my prediction, Bilt added an impressive feature last month, partnering with Point.Me to help customers find flight redemption options for their points.
I actually heard about Point.Me a while back when they had a limited-time offer with American Express. In fact, I’ve literally had the tab for the service open for months (I’m not even really sure why). Needless the say, the news of Bilt integrating the service made me very excited, so I had to try it for myself — while stopping short of actually booking something.
To get started, Bilt users can open the app, navigate to the Travel tab, and select “Transfer Partners.” From there, users can enter their departure point, destination, departure date, number of passengers, and class preference (economy or business). Notably absent is a return date, but that’s presumably so that the service can display the best values.
While the pop-up that shows when you run your search states that it can take up to 2 minutes for results to arrive, in my experience, it can actually be even longer than that. Also, on a couple of occasions, the pop-up filled in with the Point.Me site, requiring me to hit the “back” button. I guess the feature is still technically in beta, so I’ll give them a pass on this.
It’s important to note that the results shown in the app only display booking options available using currencies from Bilt airline transfer partners. Currently, this list includes:
- British Airways
- American Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air France/KLM
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Cathay Pacific
As you do a search, you may notice that some of the booking options offered feature currencies that don’t match the airline you’d be flying. For example, when I looked up flights to London, one option was a Virgin Atlantic flight that I could book using Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) points. Interestingly, tapping the “+1 add’l option” button revealed an alternative: booking via Virgin for fewer points but more cash.
So what happens when you find a deal you like? Well, tapping a flight option will give you some very brief instructions about how to proceed. Then, tapping “Transfer” will take you to the applicable transfer page so you can do just that. Despite that, the text on the pop-up does advise customers to confirm award availability before transferring, as these functions cannot be undone.
Since I don’t yet have firm plans to fly, I haven’t completed the process of using Bilt’s Point.Me feature. Nevertheless, I’m definitely looking forward to using it in the future — and have already started exploring some potential options.
I also want to note that, although (as mentioned) this feature is limited to Bilt transfer partners, that list happens to overlap quite a bit with the likes of Amex and Chase. In turn, you could potentially use the interface to find award flights but ultimately fund those redemptions with other point currencies. That’s significant because the Point.Me platform itself does come at a cost. Currently, a standard plan is $129 per year (or $12 a month) or users can purchase a 24-hour pass to the service for a $5 fee.
Ever since I signed up for my first real travel card (the Amex Platinum), I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to book my first award flight. Alas, that has yet to happen. Furthermore, when I looked into the process of booking, I’ve found that it’s not as straightforward as you might hope — at least not if you want the best value. Because of this, I’m honestly thrilled with this Bilt Point.Me feature and hope to use it for real very soon.