Any good mileage calculators online?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by switzloco, Mar 29, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. switzloco

    switzloco New Member

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    Are there any good calculators for determining when I should a buy a ticket or use cash? Ive used The Milesimizer - want to know what else is out there.
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Sadly the answer is tied intrinsically to how much you value the points at, and that is a deeply personal decision. That makes a generic calculator much harder to build (or at least to be useful).

    Pick a value per point that you like and multiply it out. The math usually isn't too hard to do if you use something approximating a round number for the valuation.
     
  3. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    To expand on this excellent advice, I'd suggest starting by identifying how you do or will use miles; the cost to purchase the same thing in cash, divided by the miles needed, is one way to calculate the value of the miles. For example, if you use 50k miles to get a trip that would cost $3k, that's 6 cents per mile. This is especially useful if you might actually purchase the trip for the cost. It gets tricky if you use miles for something you'd never purchase otherwise (e.g., an international first class trip that might cost $15k) because you can derive a value that is much higher than you'd realistically pay, and that in turn can throw off any determination of how much you're willing to pay to get the miles. So, it's good to also have a ceiling on how much you're willing to pay to obtain the miles. But even there you might make an exception if you need a few extra miles to redeem for a specific goal.

    I could see a web calculator that asked for the cost of your goal for the miles, the miles needed for it, and a ceiling for how much extra. But I'm not sure how useful it would be. It might help someone who has some experience but is not really used to this in calculating a minimum value (don't use miles for awards that have a lower value) and a maximum cost (don't pay more than this for miles).
     
  4. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    Hi switzloco. Welcome to MilePoint!

    Don't forget in your calculations of how many miles you'll "spend" for the ticket to include the lost opportunity miles -- the miles you would receive if you spent cash for the ticket instead of redeeming miles.

    By redeeming 25,000 miles for a ticket that -- if you paid for it with cash -- would get you the EQMs for the distance flown plus RDMs for elite bonus or particular promotions, you also "spend" those miles since you don't get them on the award flight. That could be nearly 6,000 EQMs on a transcontinental round trip plus perhaps 12,000 RDMs (if you're elite and get a 100% bonus). The EQMs come off of your qualifying miles (and if you need them to requalify, you'll have to find them elsewhere, usually by paying cash), but the RDMs should be added to the 25,000 you're redeeming, so the award ticket winds up "costing" you 37,000 miles instead of just the 25,000 you redeemed.

    That can sometimes make a significant difference.
     
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  5. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Gold Member

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    Agree - the miles one DOES NOT GAIN when redeeming miles can have a ripple effect in that it may mean the difference between making elite status the following year. There are multiple factors for one to consider and each trip may have different factors to take into consideration. For example, I recently had to change a business trip at the last minute. The client that needed me on the West coast wasn't paying my way to get there and I was in Cincinnati. I had to make the decision on whether I should pay ~$665 to fly in coach (and hope for an upgrade) or use miles (50K) and guarantee upgrade after a long day of meetings. Since I have more than 500K AA miles I decided to go for the reward ticket. Every cases is different.
     
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  6. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    One you might take a look at is Milewise.com. I say that because at a application competition at the Frequent Traveler University last December, it won via voting from a few hundred frequent flyers.
     

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