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Point.me launches new Explore tool for travelers with no specific destination in mind


Point.me is a paid tool that has revolutionized how I search for award flights. Since it launched in February 2022, it’s been adding extra features (such as QuickLook, which shows results faster) and partner integrations (such as Bilt’s Point.me integration).

Now, Point.me has released a new Explore tool.

The new Point.me Explore feature lets you see cached one-way award results from the last 15 days from one origin point to many destinations over a wide date range. Specifically, you can search results for a specific city, country or region, or for destinations that fit a specific attribute (like “beach” or “winter sports”). Or, you can search for travel to anywhere.

You can opt to only see results for a specific travel date or for travel anytime during a set month. You can search for multiple people and choose to see economy results or premium-cabin results.

If you have flexibility, aren’t sure where you want to go or both, Point.me Explore may be useful. Here’s what you need to know about using Point.me Explore.

Getting started with the Point.me Explore tool

If you want to try the Point.me Explore feature, head to Point.me and log in to your account. You can sign up for a free three-search trial if you don’t have an account. Otherwise, Point.me standard plans cost $5 for a 24-hour pass, $12 per month or $129 per year. Casual travelers who only book a few award flights each year may do well buying 24-hour passes as needed, but I’ve found the annual subscription to be well worth it since I frequently search and book award flights.

Once on the homepage, scroll down and click “Start Exploring” under the Explore image.

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Alternatively, you can go directly to the Point.me Explore page once logged in. Once on this page, you may see some sample results but can also enter your own search query.

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The text at the bottom of the page states: “Additional taxes, bag fees, and other fees will apply. Results found in the last 15 days and may not reflect current pricing and availability.”

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So, you may see results that cost relatively few points or miles but have high taxes and fees. And you may see old award availability that is no longer available. These concerns don’t mean you shouldn’t try out Point.me Explore, though.

Related: Your ultimate guide on how to search award availability for the major airlines

Using the Point.me Explore tool

Point.me Explore is great for getting a high-level view of the available options. For example, one of my first searches with the Point.me Explore tool was for a winter sports trip in February from Atlanta.

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As you can see, Point.me Explore offered two domestic and two international options. I clicked on the Crested Butte, Colorado, option, and Point.me Explore showed me what another user had seen in the last 15 days. It encouraged me to click to search live award availability.

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When I clicked to search live award availability, Point.me Explore took me to the standard Point.me search interface. Once the results loaded, I was pleased to see current availability and pricing were even better than expected. Instead of an award costing 10,500 miles, I could redeem as few as 6,000 miles for a one-way flight to Crested Butte from Atlanta departing one day earlier than what the previous user had found.

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However, sometimes you might find less appealing live results. For example, I searched for a premium-cabin award from New York to Europe in May. Point.me Explore showed me that one-way awards were available to several European cities for about 40,000 points or miles.

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I clicked to see results to Zurich, which a previous user had found for about 40,000 points or miles.

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However, when I clicked through the provided link, I saw results for a day after the previous user’s search that were more expensive and via Istanbul.

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When I changed the date to the same date that the previous user had used to find an award for about 40,000 points or miles, I found a two-stop award for 57,500 Aeroplan points.

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So, although Point.me Explore can be useful for exploring, seeing cached results from up to 15 days ago may lead to frustration. However, I expect it will also lead travelers to discover some destinations and award routes they wouldn’t otherwise consider.

Related: Apps and websites make award redemptions easier to find

Bottom line

I’m thrilled to see Point.me continue to improve its functionality. The new Point.me Explore feature will be useful to see what types of award pricing and availability frequently exist and to discover new award destinations.

However, since the award availability that is shown isn’t current — and is instead from searches within the last 15 days by other users — you may grow frustrated if you try to use it to find and book an award trip. It’s sometimes a better tool for planning a trip than for finding good-value awards you can actually book.

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