If you're a frequent traveller chances are you have at least one airmiles card. You probably also know that trying to use your excessive amount of airmiles for anything other than skipping lines or avoiding baggage fees is a complete nightmare.
Up until this week I had never used them for anything, but out of desperation I tried something different that surprisingly worked. I needed a flight from Amsterdam to Portland for next week. My dates weren't very flexible and I could not afford the $1700 the airline was trying to charge me (for an economy seat!). Of course my computer told me the first available award ticket would be for October.
Out of frustration I called the airline (don't do this if you can avoid it, most charge you for booking over the phone) to see if there was anything at all available. After 10 minutes of searching I was informed it was impossible. However, I already had it in my mind that I would be getting to my destination no matter what so I then had the travel agent go through airports on the west coast until he miraculeously found a flight to San Francisco for the exact dates I wanted. Then I just booked the short connecting flight using miles for another airline.
Trying out of state airports might seem obvious but it's something I had never thought to try. Domestic flights are so much cheaper and easier to work out than paying full price to get to your exact location. I'll definitely be trying this again next time the online booking service tells me there's "no available flights for your selected dates."