The more miles I redeem, the more I feel like I struggle with the most basic award booking decisions. I need to get from Amsterdam to Chicago in the next couple of days, and one of the most “obvious” choices would be to fly KLM’s new business class. I’ve wanted to review the product for a while, and you really can’t beat a nonstop flight (assuming you’re not accruing miles, that is). 😉
There are a few practical ways to (theoretically) redeem miles for KLM business class:
62,500 Air France FlyingBlue miles for one-way business class, plus fuel surcharges
I could transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, so it’s certainly not a horrible option.
62,500 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for one-way business class, without fuel surcharges
Okay, I’d rather save $250 in fuel surcharges and book through Alaska… right?
125,000 Delta SkyMiles for roundtrip business class, plus fuel surcharges if originating in Europe
Except Delta SkyMiles members don’t have access to this award space, since SkyMiles is cheap and refuses to pay their partners for award tickets, so they have access to less space.
So which choice would you go with?
The obvious choice seems like Alaska Mileage Plan, right? No fuel surcharges and nonstop travel in a new business class product… doesn’t get better than that!
Except Alaska miles are probably the single most valuable mileage currency (not including transferable points currencies). And I could instead redeem 70,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for one-way first class travel from New York to Hong Kong to Johannesburg on Cathay Pacific.
An extra 7,500 miles for 30 hours in Cathay Pacific first class vs. eight hours in KLM business class? It sure hurts to think of it that way! Of course that doesn’t factor in that I actually have to fly from Amsterdam to Chicago, while I don’t have plans to go to South Africa anytime soon.
On second thought, maybe I should just swim and then redeem Avios from Boston to Chicago? How long would that take? 😀
What would you do here? Fly KLM, or some other super sneaky option? Does anyone else struggle with redeeming miles when it makes sense in absolute terms but not necessarily relative terms? Am I totally crazy?