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Freq Flyer Miles Question

Cornell

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Hello smart TUGgers --

I have a question for you all. I rarely book airfare using miles. So I'm not very up to speed on what good "valuations" are of mile usage.

Today I needed to book a one way ticket from Zurich - Chicago. I used UAL miles to do so and I used 30K miles to do so which seemed like a really low amount to me. After I booked the ticket I looked at how much this ticket would have cost me if I had paid cash -- $1650.

What's going on? 30K miles seems incredibly low for a $1650 airfare.
 

elaine

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One ways to Europe are high. Probably as much as RT.
Yes-30k is a great value. We use AA miles for Europe and love it! Enjoy.
 

slip

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Yes, that is very good. I donuhabe an answer why but I would be very happy with that.
 

PamMo

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Yep! You got a good deal!

Did you have to go Zurich-Frankfurt-London-Madrid-Rome-Amsterdam-Paris-Montreal-New York-Dulles-Charlotte-Chicago? ;)
 

Luanne

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Sounds like a good deal to me. I was just looking at some flights to get an idea what they would be for next year. These were ABQ to Amsterdam, then Zurich back to ABQ. The lowest I could find, this was for Economy, was 40K miles one way.
 

Cornell

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Yep! You got a good deal!

Did you have to go Zurich-Frankfurt-London-Madrid-Rome-Amsterdam-Paris-Montreal-New York-Dulles-Charlotte-Chicago? ;)
Lol NO!! My daughter , who is 17, will be flying alone so I wanted to make sure she had a direct flight to minimize any complications. She also will have a ton of bags and I wanted that to be as easy
for her as possible. I live 15 minutes from ORD so this is a great arrangement.
 

GetawaysRus

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One way that I assess airline mile redemptions is by the value I get per award mile.

So you used 30K miles for a ticket that would have cost $1650. $1650 divided by 30000 equals .055 dollars per award mile. Move the decimal point by 2 places and you get 5.5 cents per award mile.

That's a fabulous redemption. To give you an idea, let's say you earned those 30K miles using a credit card, and let's say that the credit card rewarded you with 1 United award mile per dollar spent. Well, rather than using that particular credit card, perhaps you might have used a 2% cashback credit card instead and gotten 2 cents back on each dollar spent (which you could have saved and later spent on a cash airline ticket). So you did much, much better with your 5.5 cents per award mile.
 

Cornell

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One way that I assess airline mile redemptions is by the value I get per award mile.

So you used 30K miles for a ticket that would have cost $1650. $1650 divided by 30000 equals .055 dollars per award mile. Move the decimal point by 2 places and you get 5.5 cents per award mile.

That's a fabulous redemption. To give you an idea, let's say you earned those 30K miles using a credit card, and let's say that the credit card rewarded you with 1 United award mile per dollar spent. Well, rather than using that particular credit card, perhaps you might have used a 2% cashback credit card instead and gotten 2 cents back on each dollar spent (which you could have saved and later spent on a cash airline ticket). So you did much, much better with your 5.5 cents per award mile.
oooooh -- thank you for this explanation. I'm not well versed in this area, so really appreciate. I just got lucky -- I wasn't scouring the various sites for this award. It was the date and time that worked the best for my daughter. And I was willing to spring for the $35 to get her an aisle seat . :).
 

PcflEZFlng

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Yep! You got a good deal!

Did you have to go Zurich-Frankfurt-London-Madrid-Rome-Amsterdam-Paris-Montreal-New York-Dulles-Charlotte-Chicago? ;)
No, but she got to fly Zurich-Bologna-Zagreb-Helsinki-Copenhagen-NY LaGuardia-Chicago using their One World Alliance partners BA and Finnair! :)
 

buzglyd

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That's a very good redemption. United has a dynamic pricing model now and chances are that flight isn't super full so they released more award seats.

A typical one way fare in the US would be 12,500 miles but I've snatched a couple for as little as 5000 miles.

Coach fares are typically easier to get than business but I'm 55 and don't fly that far in coach anymore. At her age, she can handle it.
 

Synergy

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I log my ff redemptions two ways - as the actual redemption value (shown above - just the cash cost of the flight, minus fees to redeem, divided by the number of points used) and a 'true' redemption value.

For my 'true' value, I look at other similar flights and see what I'd have actually booked if I was using cash, subtract fees, and divide by the number of points. For example, if there was a flight with an extra couple of stops, or maybe left a day earlier or later than I considered optimal, I'd likely do that if it saved me a significant amount of money.

Anyway, I end up with two values for each redemption, and I treat it as though I 'paid' the lower price that represents the actual cash I would have been willing to spend, but got the extra perks (better routing or timing) as a reward for playing the game.

Every once in awhile, I hit a gold mine - ALL fights are stupid expensive, I perhaps wouldn't have even taken the trip (or would have driven, or something) if I hadn't found a good deal using miles.
 

dlpearson

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What month is she flying? I agree it's a good award amount. Maybe it's off-season/more seats are available, so they're not as many miles??
 

Cornell

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She was supposed to come home 7/4 but we moved it up a month early bc she is needing her wisdom teeth out and have to schedule surgery for June.

I feel like she is has been gone forever and still 4 months to go. The last month she has been very homesick and “over” the whole experience . She will be so happy to be back.
 

MULTIZ321

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Hi Cornell,


Didn't you have a trip planned to visit her shortly before her trip home?

Richard
 

Cornell

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Hi Cornell,


Didn't you have a trip planned to visit her shortly before her trip home?

Richard
You have a great memory. Yes, that was originally the plan. But no longer happening. 1) Her wisdom teeth are bothering her and I want her home as soon as possible to get them removed here (her dentist and orthodontist were adamant that she not have oral surgery there). 2) She's gotten really homesick the past month so she "just wants to get home". The homesickness took several months to kick in. 3) She goes to summer camp for 4 weeks the latter half of the summer. Need her home to get registered back in her US high school, figure out her credits, etc AND take the SAT.

Nonetheless, our current plan is that we will return to Europe in spring / early summer 2021 to celebrate her high school graduation. She can show me the sights then and it will be wonderful for her to return to see her host family - who have been so good to her. She was placed with a tremendous host family.

This fall is going to be a busy scramble for her (and me, too). Will will be racing around squeezing some college visits in this fall -- she missed out on doing all of that this year when most kids typically do it.
 

MULTIZ321

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Thanks for the update. Good luck on her upcoming oral surgery.


Richard
 

elaine

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AA has even better deals. 20k to go over the pond. No cancels and no rebooking. But 20k to Europe! Insane!
 

beejaybeeohio

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AA has even better deals. 20k to go over the pond. No cancels and no rebooking. But 20k to Europe! Insane!

We took advantage of that deal to fly home from CDG-PHL-CLE. Used 30k UA miles for flight to CPH via ORD and FRA. 22.5k of those miles had been used for a flight to HNL to catch a one-way cruise from there back to Vancouver, but we decided to cancel that cruise. Luckily there had been a schedule change for just under a 90 minute difference which we never accepted. I called UA to tell them that the change didn't work for us so those miles were redeposited to our ff accounts without a charge!

I don't do the math for calculating cost-benefit of using miles vs. paying for our overseas flights, but in 12 trips to Europe we only paid for flights once via Icelandair. We've also flown "free" to/from Australia (business both ways), China (1st on the return) and to Buenos Aires.
 
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