My Updated Analysis on What a Mile/Point is Worth: Airline Miles

Introduction
Credit Card Points
Airline Miles
Hotel Points


Air Canada Aeroplan – 1.3 cents/mile

In November I valued Aeroplan miles at 1.5 cents each, which was already after their huge devaluation, though I think their value has gone down even further. Since then Lufthansa has full-on stopped releasing first class award space more than a couple of weeks before departure, eliminating quite a few redemption opportunities in advance. Furthermore, fuel surcharges have continued to rise as oil prices continue to increase, so the cost of redeeming Aeroplan awards keeps going up.

Best credit card(s) for earning Air Canada Aeroplan miles: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Personal Card and Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business Card, which offer one SPG point per dollar spent on all purchases, and two SPG points per dollar spent at SPG properties. Points can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get a 5,000 point bonus, meaning you’re essentially earning 1.25 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent.

Alaska Mileage Plan – 1.5 cents/mile

In November I valued Alaska miles at 1.4 cents each. In absolute terms I don’t think the miles have appreciated one bit, since the program has more or less remained the same. I do, however, think the miles have relatively appreciated, given that they partner with Cathay Pacific, which is one of the few airlines that continues to generously release transpacific award space.

Later this year it should be possible to redeem Alaska miles for travel on Emirates, so if that award chart looks good their miles could appreciate even further.

The thing preventing Alaska miles from being more valuable is that they don’t let you mix partners on an award ticket. While they have tons of partners, they don’t let you mix and match their partners on award tickets, which is a real challenge for many destinations. So my valuation of Alaska miles is based almost exclusively on the ease with which one can redeem for travel on Cathay Pacific.

Best credit card(s) for earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Personal Card and Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business Card, which offer one SPG point per dollar spent on all purchases, and two SPG points per dollar spent at SPG properties. Points can be transferred to Mileage Plan at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get a 5,000 point bonus, meaning you’re essentially earning 1.25 Mileage Plan miles per dollar spent.

American AAdvantage – 1.8 cents/mile

American miles have consistently been increasing in value for me over the past couple of years. I even made a post about it recently. Lately American has overtaken United, in my opinion, when it comes to the ease with which one can redeem for international first class award tickets.

Last year American launched a partnership with Etihad, which has a solid first class product and excellent award availability to the Middle East and India. Cathay Pacific continues to have phenomenal first and business class award availability, releasing two first class award seats on many routes. Furthermore, at 135,000 American miles roundtrip it’s one of the most economical ways to get to Southeast Asia.

United miles are still more valuable for travel to Europe, though not by a huge margin anymore, ever since Lufthansa stopped releasing first class award space in advance.

So for me it has gotten to the point where American miles are as valuable as United miles, which is a first.

Best credit card(s) for earning American AAdvantage miles: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Personal Card and Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business Card, which offer one SPG point per dollar spent on all purchases, and two SPG points per dollar spent at SPG properties. Points can be transferred to AAdvantage at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get a 5,000 point bonus, meaning you’re essentially earning 1.25 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent.

British Airways Executive Club – 1.1 cents/Avios

Previously I valued British Airways Avios at 1.3 cents each, and obviously they have gone down substantially in value since then due to their award chart devaluation. That being said, there are still some great redemption opportunities using British Airways Avios, in particular for shorthaul flights in coach or business class, where you can get a roundtrip for as few as 9,000 Avios. So while it’s far from my favorite program, there is still some value in the program.

Best credit card(s) for earning British Airways Avios points: British Airways Visa Card, which offers 1.25 British Airways Avios points per dollar spent. For more flexibility the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Personal Card and Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business Card are also good, given that they offer one SPG point per dollar spent on all purchases, and two SPG points per dollar spent at SPG properties. Points can be transferred to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get a 5,000 point bonus, meaning you’re essentially earning 1.25 Avios points per dollar spent. Lastly, another great option is the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, which offers 3x points on airfare, 2x points on gas and groceries, and 15,000 bonus points for any year in which you spend $30,000 on the card. Points can be transferred 1:1 to British Airways.

Delta SkyMiles – 1.1 cents/mile

I’m torn on this one, since I feel like I need to lower my valuation of Delta SkyMiles, given that I valued them at 1.1 cents per mile last November.

Since then Virgin Australia (one of their more useful partners) has just about completely stopped releasing business class award space. Furthermore, Air France has drastically reduced the amount of business class award space they release. And it really is a drastic change, since routes that were previously available almost every day hardly have any availability anymore.

But still, I can’t bring myself to value them at less than 1.1 cents each. At the end of the day there’s still some Air France transatlantic business class award space out there for 100,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, and I can’t value a business class award at less than $1,100 plus tax. And the decrease in Air France transatlantic award availability isn’t all that different than what we’ve seen with Lufthansa lately.

Also, a reader recently pointing out to me that Delta miles can at least easily be used for travel to South America does make them a bit more valuable, in my opinion.

Best credit card(s) for earning Delta SkyMiles: American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, which offers 3x points on airfare, 2x points on gas and groceries, and 15,000 bonus points for any year in which you spend $30,000 on the card. Points can be transferred 1:1 to Delta SkyMiles.

United MileagePlus – 1.8 cents/mile

Nothing has really changed with MileagePlus since November, so you’re probably wondering why my valuation of United miles has gone down by 0.2 cents per point.

Unfortunately it’s because premium cabin award space isn’t even nearly as good as it used to be. Ever since Lufthansa stopped releasing first class award space to partner airlines more than a couple of weeks before departure, the transatlantic and transpacific options in first class really are limited.

The saving grace with United miles are twofold:
a) Changes are cheap, at most $75
b) United lets you make changes close to departure and after travel commences, meaning if you’re willing to wait you can still pull off “masterpiece” awards.

Still, it’s not quite as fun as it used to be.

Best credit card(s) for earning Mileage Plus miles: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which offers double points on dining and travel and a 7% annual points dividend, and the Chase Ink Bold Business Card, which offers 5x points on office supply stores and 2x points on gas and hotels, which can be transferred 1:1 to United. Alternatively the United Club Card earns 1.5 miles per dollar spent and offers lounge access, though comes with a hefty annual fee.

US Airways Dividend Miles – 1.5 cents/mile

In November I valued US Airways miles at 1.7 cents each, so much like the above the decrease in value accounts for the lack of premium cabin award space in advance, in particular on Lufthansa. The added challenge with US Airways is that they charge $150 for any ticket changes, and don’t allow any changes once travel commences.

So basically US Airways is great to the extent that you can book a first class award from the US to North Asia for only 120,000 miles, though it can be nearly impossible to maximize like I did in December.

Their off peak awards are also a fantastic value.

Best credit card(s) for earning US Airways Dividend miles: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Personal Card and Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Business Card, which offer one SPG point per dollar spent on all purchases, and two SPG points per dollar spent at SPG properties. Points can be transferred to Dividend Miles at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get a 5,000 point bonus, meaning you’re essentially earning 1.25 Dividend Miles per dollar spent. Sometimes they even offer substantial bonuses for points transfers from SPG.

Full disclosure: I earn a referral bonus for anyone that signs up through the above links. It’s the best available offer, and of course I’m very appreciate of your support, regardless of whether or not you use my links.

Comments

  1. mac says

    Regarding your valuation of Delta miles: What if a certain blog reader of yours pointed out that its now possible to redeem 150k Skymiles from N America to Australia or NZ with a stopover in South America with very minimal YQ. “AR” you considering adjusting you valuation. Convenient from your neck of the woods too. :)

  2. The Nomad says

    mac, wasn’t this award always possible? It is just that the AiRline in question is extremely mismanaged and difficult to book award ticket on sing Skymiles?

  3. IdahoSt says

    Sky Peso’s are worth no more than .08, if AMEX is buying them at .05, come on

  4. John says

    Ben- You stated “United lets you make changes close to departure and after travel commences, meaning if you’re willing to wait you can still pull off “masterpiece” awards.”

    I was always told by United that on a roundtrip award flt, that once you start the outbound you cannot change the return. Is that not correct?

  5. eponymous coward says

    I kind of did a longish comment with a number of links in it- do comments like that get screened to make sure they aren’t full of spam?

  6. Josh G says

    Lucky,
    Are you still pursuing UA 1K status or have you switched your loyalty to AA? It seems you post more about AA lately just interested if this is due to the devaluation to MP and elite benefits back in March

  7. eponymous coward says

    Oh, it looks like my comment was TL/DR for your server. One comment is “awaiting moderation”, one has disappeared into the aether.

    Shorter less linky version:

    Go look at the fleet plans for CX, LH, AA. They’re all going to take F seats out of the market. (Of note: they are all also improving their C/J product, and LH especially has loads of C award inventory. This is important.)

    I have to think that UA is next, given their service harmonization on GlobalFirst/BusinessFirst.

    So, with less F and better C, maybe we’ll all just have to get used to our miles buying us lie-flat seats and mediocre red wine as opposed to caviar and champagne.

  8. Brian says

    Lucky, how would you value Miles & More miles? They have greater availability for their own members than for partners, don’t they? OTOH, they have fuel surcharges.

  9. Peetyrd says

    Amex MR rewards transfers to BA. So I would say one of the best way to accrue avios is through the Amex premier rewards gold card, which you left out.

    Also, do you take in to account the ease of earning points in the different programs. For example: you basically earn AA points from credit cards at a 1:1 spend ratio. But you can easily earn BA points at a 2:1 spend ratio with the AMEX premier rewards gold card.

  10. AK says

    I agree with Peetyrd … even though UA miles are worth the same as AA in your opinion, I earn them at a much higher rate per dollar. The same goes for BA.

  11. lamonster says

    Maybe this has been mentioned in the past, or maybe i’m a lower class peasant who can enjoy C, but one nice aspect of alaska miles is that u can actually get delta C class at a reasonable redemption level, better than u can get using skymiles, at least from my experience

  12. lucky says

    @ mac — LOL! Hmmm, another interesting thing to look into…

    @ IdahoSt — If you’re looking to sell at 0.8, let me know!

    @ John — That used to be the rule, but for quite a while now you can make changes after departure.

    @ Josh G — I’m all AA nowadays. I don’t want to have to do 200K per year of revenue flying.

  13. JetsettingEric says

    I’m really confused at why you value US Airways miles significantly less than United Miles. The availability issues are the same (same alliance). The redemption charts are generally the same, with the anomalies in favor of US dividend miles over UA Mileage Plus being North Asia in F and J and USA domestic 3 class first, which prices ps first as 50k for US and 70k for UA. You’re also noted the flexibility in the routing rules at US before.

    The drawbacks for US are the lack of 1 way awards and no changes post departure. That is less of an issue for top tier elites as you get free redeposit of miles. Although UA changes are capped at $75, the redeposit of miles $150 for non-elites.

    A more generous reward chart, routing rules should somewhat balance out the lack of 1 ways and potentially higher change fees. I’d value them at the same rate.

    However, at 1.2 US miles per 1 UA mile, I’m happy to exchange all my UA miles for US miles at that rate.

  14. lucky says

    @ eponymous coward — My biggest fear with airlines eliminating first class is that for the most part, airlines don’t release as much business class award space as they release first class award space, since they actually sell business class. So it’s scary to think that we’ll not only lose first class, but airlines also may not release business class space.

    @ JohnnieD — See this post for details on how to search award space on AR:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2012/04/14/using-delta-skymiles-for-travel-to-south-america-on-aeromexico/

    @ Peetyrd — Excellent point, I’ll update the post regarding the PRG. As far as earning multiple points per dollar goes, you’re absolutely right, though my analysis was based on the value of each individual mile. Hopefully everyone can do the math themselves as to which currency is most valuable when they factor in earning multiple points per dollar.

    @ lamonster — Alaska has access to the same “low” level business class award space that Delta gives their own members, which is very tough to come by, in my experience.

  15. lucky says

    @ JetsettingEric — My valuation of US/UA miles is actually one of my more “confident” valuations. The advantages of United miles over US Airways miles:
    — Stopover AND open jaw vs. just a stopover at a Star Alliance hub
    — No blocking of Lufthansa and Swiss, while US Airways blocks almost all first class space on Lufthansa
    — Higher change fees
    — No changes after departure. Even if you’re top tier elite, it sucks because airlines often only release award space within a week or so of departure, so if you plan a longer trip you’re hosed.
    — United has VERY generous “published” routing rules where the computer auto-prices, while with US Airways it all comes down to the agent.

    Just my two cents…

  16. martin henner says

    I think you should give a bonus to the airlines that have one-way awards. Alaska, American, British, United. But not US Air or Delta.

  17. Robert Hanson says

    Has anyone but me noticed that AA upper cabin award space US to LHR has virtually disappeared since BA awards were added to the AA website? While there may be a few single seats available, there are no two-or-more seats per flight available in either First or Business.

    Today I searched LAX, DFW, ORD, and JFK to LHR, without finding a pair of premium seats anytime from today to the end of the booking period 10 months out. And it’s been that way for the past several months.

    Is the new AA policy “let them fly BA”?

    Basically making us all pay fuel surchages, without making surcharges a part of the official policy? I’m already booked FC to LHR and back this August/September, booked last October when there was still award space 10 months out. But I’m beginning to wonder if I should bother getting any more AA miles for future Europe flights, as I’m not about to pay $1600 in “surchages” for “free” tickets….

  18. eponymous coward says

    That’s a good point, Lucky. That being said, LH generally seems to have pretty good C award availability, which makes sense if you look at how they configure their cabins:

    A380:
    LH: 8F/98C/420Y
    SQ: 12F/60C/399Y

    A333:
    LH: 8F/48C/165Y
    SQ: 30C/255Y
    DL: 34C/264Y
    AC: 37C/228Y
    CX: 38 or 39J/223Y or 203 Y+/Y

    A343:
    LH: 8F/48C/165Y
    CX: 26/257Y

    B744:
    LH: 8F/52 or 80(!)C/310 or 234Y
    CX:F9/J46/Y324
    UA: 12F/52C/310Y

    Now, granted, LH can probably price those C cabins to sell if they want to more than they can price F to sell (since a lowball F price really damages their C pricing), but I think it’s pretty clear than LH has a very high premium cabin to coach ratio that invites the sort of spoilage during “soft” travel periods that leads to reasonable award inventory.

    That being said, if all the airlines turn into Delta, we’re ****ed.

  19. eponymous coward says

    Oh, and LH’s 748i:

    8F/92(!)C/262Y

    Now maybe Lufthansa can fill all those seats all the time, or maybe they’re like Delta and will go “the hell with you, we’ll fly with half the plane empty rather than give up ONE award seat”.

    I tend to think they won’t, though.

  20. lamonster says

    I’ll defer to you on experience as mine is limited, though 90,000 in C to europe with alaska miles beats 100,000 with skymiles by a little, when such an award can be found.

  21. Robert Hanson says

    “the hell with you, we’ll fly with half the plane empty rather than give up ONE award seat”.

    Hey, AA is doing that now too. I just looked up ORD and JFK to LHR for TODAY. There are two flights out of each today, with 16 FC seats per plane, and an average of only 4 seats booked per plane.

    Out of 64 FC seats, 43 are empty. And yet not a single seat is available for an award ticket.

    Of course, everyone of those empty seats actually is available for award ticketing. But only at the double miles required Anytime award level. So maybe it’s just an award “devaluation”, where they are eliminating MileSaver awards. And we now have to spend 125K miles each way, instead of RT. :>(

  22. Nick says

    I’m slightly mystified as to how an Ultimate Reward point is worth 1.9 but a MP point is 1.8 given that Hyatt is 1.6 and that’s the second most valuable transfer partner.
    Also, UA charges nothing for changes if one golden upper tier elite or has the MP Club credit card. Also, LH, LX, NH and TG are almost without fail always available, you just have to wait for them, which UA and no other program let’s you do so easily. Let’s not forget the complete willingness of ex-Cons to forgo MPM, making NYC-TYO-BKK-SYD-AKL an allowed reward. You also fail to mention QR’s recent Integration into the award chart and their near universal availability. I’d argue QR is a better airline than EY, esp. when the new airport opens.
    AA points are less valuable because OW is fundamentally less extensive of an alliance, given that BA is the majority of their European system and YQ is sky high. EY is not all that great, according to your review, and only works if you want to connect in the Middle East. I don’t know what AA is paying you, but it’s not enough ;) I think you may be the only one out their calling AA points on par with MP.

  23. JohnnieD says

    I can see the inventory for AM, but I am looking for this AiRline to get to SYD via AKL EZE…….?

  24. lucky says

    @ Nick — In the credit card section I explained that I value Ultimate Rewards points a bit more than United miles since they can be transferred to any United account, including elite ones, which can save fees.

    And while I don’t mind planning last minute, for 99% of people booking a Lufthansa or Swiss first class award within a week of departure just isn’t practical. Compare that to American where you can easily snag a first class award in advance.

  25. Robert Hanson says

    “Compare that to American where you can easily snag a first class award in advance.”

    I presume you are talking about the AA Anytime FC ticket at 250K miles RT?

    Doesn’t the 50% devaluation of AA miles, by the disappearance of the MileSaver premium award, affect your valuation of AA miles? As a Lifetime Gold with AA, it sure affects my valuation of AA miles.

    Or do you expect this drought of AA MileSaver awards to be short-lived?

  26. Dan says

    Lucky,

    FWIW, I don’t really care that much about F availability. (That is, until I have my first CX F experience this fall.) My wife and I plan trips to destinations we actually want to go to, so as long as I don’t have to fly coach, I’m happy. J really is good enough for me, although I will fly F on occasion.

    So, while I think you are correct to knock UA because of decreasing LH F availability, you probably shouldn’t knock them too hard. Likewise, you probably shouldn’t give AA too much of a bump solely because of CX F.

    That said, I think it’s hard to come up with a generalized value for a particular currency — it depends on where you want to go, what class of travel you want, and how much fuel surcharges and fees matter. I can’t tell you whether AA or UA miles in general are worth more. If I’m going to Europe, I’d give the edge to UA. If I want to go to Asia but don’t care about F, who gets the edge? Going to South America, AA probably gets the edge.

    But all of this is somewhat moot, because as noted above with earning bonuses, if I’m earning 5 UA points/$ on just about all of my spend, that dwarfs the instances where AA might beat UA by a fraction of a penny.

  27. Nick says

    @lucky does that mean that an elite’s who doesnt mind last minute planning MP point is worth 1.9, 2.0 or greater? As for AA, I rarely see sAAver awards in F, even day of departure and any award to Europe on BA has a hefty YQ which really negates a ton of the value of the award chart. I fail to see the value there. For Asia, sure, but not for Europe.

  28. db says

    AA>UA (should be) simply because at least with AA you can get F to Asia and Europe fairly easily and you can book in advance. Star alliance does not release even close to the same amount of F seats especially now that LH does not (virtually) release any seat and same goes for asia (OZ/NH/SQ) never release anything except 3 days out randomly etc…)
    For this reason let’s edit your post and do AA @1.9!

  29. lucky says

    @ Robert Hanson — I’m talking about for travel on Cathay Pacific at the saver level.

    @ Nick — I’d say MileagePlus miles are REALLY valuable if you’re an elite and can plan last minute, since you can book just about anything. Not practical for most, but if it works for you MileagePlus can’t be beat.

    I do find AA more useful for Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.

  30. eponymous coward says

    Hey, AA is doing that now too. I just looked up ORD and JFK to LHR for TODAY.

    Yeah, there’s been some mention in the press about that.

    OTOH, maybe they’re going to op-up a lot of J/Y pax. ;)

    AA>UA (should be) simply because at least with AA you can get F to Asia and Europe fairly easily and you can book in advance.

    Uh, BA taxes and fees on a lot of those seats can easily run you $1000 USD per seat.

  31. eponymous coward says

    I’m talking about for travel on Cathay Pacific at the saver level.

    Kinda hard to get to Europe on one AA award on CX, isn’t it, though?

    It does indeed seem that AA is steering people hard towards BA. I have to wonder- do AA and BA share revenue on award seat YQ? ;)

  32. Robert Hanson says

    “I have to wonder- do AA and BA share revenue on award seat YQ?”

    Is the Pope Catholic?

    How convenient for AA. They get to essentially devalue their points by 50% for European travel on AA metal. Which I’m guessing way outdraws AA Asian partner award travel, {except for Lucky} :)

    While at the same time they can issue a press release that they have increased available award bookings by some huge percentage, now that BA is on their website. And just not bother to mention the $1000 pp fuel surcharge/British tax package that goes with all of those “increased” potential bookings. Nor the fact that they get to share that fuel surcharge with BA…

    With UA partners going to last minute bookings, which as Lucky so correctly points out isn’t going to work for leisure travelers like myself who are used to spending a month of pre-booked hotels, and hard to get restaurant reservations, in 5 or 6 European countries per trip….

    And AA turning virtually free tickets into $1,000 pp trips….

    This is starting to look like the beginning of the end of free award {yes, US to Eu} travel for us ordinary people. CEOs with millions of miles in their accounts from expensed travel won’t be affected, of course. They can just book Anytime awards. Which fits right in with the new emphasis on favoring revenue passengers over long term loyalty passengers.

    I’ve had a good run for quite some time, but I’m still sorry to see it end. Sigh…..

  33. CP@YOW says

    It would be helpful to put your values in context if you explained the methodology of how you arrived at them. Different people use miles for different things. For example, my personal rule of thumb is $600 per 25,000 UA miles (and I always think of it that way, not $0.024/mile), because my most common use is for Canada-US trips that would otherwise cost at least this much (and frequently much more).

  34. Dan says

    Lucky,

    Searching award availability to AMS/CDG/BCN for spring of next year (just for fun) and there is NOTHING on AA at AA saver rates. Plenty of BA. If that trend continues, you’re going to have to knock AA down a few pegs below UA. There’s no way CX F is enough to counter balance AA’s decision to not load any saver inventory at the J/F levels to Europe.

  35. Alex says

    I’ve been reading your blog every day for the past year or two. You’ve helped to rekindle my love of flying, which started as an infant on KLM longhauls in the bassinet. Thanks!

  36. lucky says

    @ Dan — There’s no doubt that there’s a trend whereby American is releasing a LOT less award availability on their own metal. They were overly-generous in the past, and are now taking the opposite approach. But still, the fact remains that American miles are more useful for South America, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia. United has a huge advantage to Europe and Africa, but that’s about it, in my opinion.

  37. Mitch says

    @lucky (#16): You’ve got the AiRline that’s being suggested here wrong. This AiRline (to answer The Nomad’s point) has just started partnering with Delta, and I don’t know of any way to search their award inventory online. There’s certainly nothing in the post you linked to about the AiRline in question.

  38. Dan says

    lucky,

    I’ll give you South America, but I don’t know enough about Australia to comment.

    However, with Asia, if your deciding vote is because of CX F, well, I won’t change your mind. For me, I think the edge goes to UA. UA’s stop-over + generous award routing rules really add a lot… you can route via Europe OR Asia, each way getting access to many partners. Throw in a stopover, and you’re golden. AA, OTOH, will only let you route across the Pacific, and gives you no stopovers internationally. I don’t think CX F is enough to overcome that and declare AA a clear winner.

    With the Middle East, well, UA has Qatar, albeit no F from the USA. EY, OTOH, is an AA partner, but not a one-world partner, so can’t be used on a distance based award.

  39. Lee says

    I think BA miles have real value for those of us needing the short haul flights. I am in Dallas and just booked 4 (my family) tickets to PNS for 36,000 points. That airfare would have cost my $2,198 (booked one week in advance). Very valuable points redemption for me!

  40. hola says

    kshahk said,

    What about Hawaiian Miles? Any thoughts on that?
    AND Virgin Atlantic I would add?

  41. Dave Op says

    Yes, I was just about to add Hawaiian miles and Virgin Atlantic. Hopefully, Lucky is still reading this blog.

  42. Jimbo2012 says

    I agree with Lee on BA miles. You seem overly-centered on Biz and First Class. But with BA, you can get just as good value per mile in economy, or better, than a Biz/First ticket on AA or UA. For instance, I’ve flown DFW to SAF and Aspen on multiple trips for only 9,000 miles RT. The tickets always cost at least $500, usually $600 – that’s 5.5 to 6.5 c per mile. And, BA doesn’t charge last minute award fees (unlike AA), which is a huge benefit for people who want truly “free” award tickets.

  43. Jimbo2012 says

    I can also fly first-class with BA Avios to Cancun, Cabo, etc. for only 30k miles RT; it would cost me 60k AAdvantage miles – so, basically 2 for 1! Admittedly, on longer-haul flights, BA Avios lose value, but for most people with families, saving on “real” travel (not aspirational Cathay first class to Bora Bora) is probably more important.

    But I guess this just shows how subjective mile valuations can be; because my home airport is DFW, I value BA Avios at 2 – 3c.

  44. lucky says

    @ Jimbo2012 — You’re absolutely right, for shorthaul awards the miles are incredibly valuable. Unfortunately for longhaul awards their chart isn’t just more expensive, but they also impose massive fuel surcharges.

  45. happy9z says

    I really love this blog so much. I have a question for you. I have a promotion from Citi AA. Citi offers me 10$ per 1000 miles AA, and I can buy any miles I want. Do you think that it is a good deal or not? Should I buy it or not? Thank you for your help!

  46. lucky says

    @ happy9z — Thanks! To clarify you’re saying they’re offering you money for your miles? If it’s $10 per $1,000 that’s only one cent per mile, which I don’t consider to be a very good use.

  47. happy9z says

    Hi lucky, I meant I have a promotion that I can buy 1000 miles from AA for 1$. It meant I will pay 1 cent to buy 1 mile from AA. In other word, 1000 miles = 10$

    In addition, my brother got a better promotion from AA. He can buy 1 mile from AA for only 0.80 cent. In other hand, 1000 miles = 8$

    Do you think should my brother and I get this offer or not? is it bad or good deal? is it worth to buy? Thank you very much for your help. My brother and I will not have any plan flying anywhere in 5 years. We are collecting miles for after 5 years.

    So do you think that 1 mile

  48. andy says

    a friend owes me $2175 and is offering to pay me with amex points/airline miles. to get the best deal, how much should i ask for and from what point or airline program? she has amex points.

    thanks

  49. lucky says

    @ andy — To get the best deal ask for as many as she’s willing to give you. ;)

    As a starting points I’d say AmEx points are worth 1-1.25 cents each, so you can go from there.

    What kind of redemptions are you looking to redeem for? The best program to transfer to depends on your preferred destination.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *