Business Class to Europe redemptions down to a penny a point?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by davythefatboy, Mar 24, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. davythefatboy

    davythefatboy Silver Member

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    I'm a big believer in using points for Business or First Class travel and getting a high perceived value (even though I would never pay a First Class fare). But I mostly go to Europe, not Asia. I was looking to book a trip from NYC to a secondary city in Europe (there's only one daily non-stop from NYC) and noticed that two tickets required 500,000 miles and $500 - or buy the tickets for $5900. That's the dreaded "only worth a penny a mile". If I didn't mind turning a 7 hour nonstop flight into an 11 hour trip I could fly first class to London and change planes for more like 200,000 points and $2000, which is a much higher perceived dollar value but devalues my time and comfort (and requires actual cash).

    Seems that if I want this flight I may be better off using American Express pay with points rather than the airline's own points, since I will then earn a few more low value airline points in the bargain. But there are probably more restrictions on a cheap paid ticket than an "anytime" point award. Since I have a ton of points, I know for sure that I'm better using them rather than cash...why wait until they go down to 1/2 cent of value?

    For me this was a wake up call how fast points are devaluing.
     
  2. rrgg
    Original Member

    rrgg Silver Member

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    What program is charging 250k per person for US-Europe in business? My guess is Delta SkyMiles which is notoriously nicknamed SkyPesos. Even an AA AAnytime award is cheaper than that.
     
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  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    With miles, you're generally better off if you take the approach to:
    1) know what the best price is from the appropriate award chart
    2) have some flexibility to adjust your travel to get that price, or at least understand and accept the premium you need to pay to get on a specific flight

    If you're locked in to a single flight, then you're likely to pay a premium for it at least some of the time. It's up to you to define the value of getting on that specific flight vs. alternatives.

    Depending on the schedules, an 11 hour trip in F with a layover in which to shower and breakfast in a lounge before the final hop to my destination isn't necessarily a terrible thing.
     
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  4. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    Yeah, I think you're getting taken for a ride (pun intended) by a really bad redemption. I'm flying LH J next week from the US to a secondary EU city, round trip, for 100K miles and $111 in taxes.
     
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  5. I can do the same with AC for 90K miles
     
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  6. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    You have to pay if you want the comfort. There are lots of options ex-JFK on Delta that will allow you to use 100% partners and thus keep the price low.

    Also i'm not sure how you are getting 500k + 500 with Delta. That seems awfully high, especially the taxes/fees.
     
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  7. davythefatboy

    davythefatboy Silver Member

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    Actually this was United, but Delta was only a little higher - 515,000 miles and $630 plus change planes, so 11 to 13 hours end to end.
     
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  8. davythefatboy

    davythefatboy Silver Member

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    On my destination in Scotland, Aeroplan would give me a three flight double connection 13 hour trip for only 360.000 miles for two. Save 140,000 miles and lose twenty four man/woman hours and my wife? Bad deal! I didn't even click through to find out the taxes and fees.
     
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  9. davythefatboy

    davythefatboy Silver Member

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    It was United. Delta always says the flight "One or more of the flights you selected just sold out" when I click through on this itinerary, but I think they are asking a little more than United (but they are also one or two stop itineraries.
     
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  10. anabolism
    Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

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    You might want to search harder for better award values. Also, if it were me, I'd fly JFK-LAX/SFO-Europe for the longer flight in F and better opportunity to sleep.
     
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  11. You didn't state you have no status with any airline. Charities they are not. You are better off using Amex.
     
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  12. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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  13. davythefatboy

    davythefatboy Silver Member

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    Are you saying that some Airlines will offer cheaper frequent flyer rewards if you have status? I was not aware of that. Sadly, the only nonstop is United where I have no status. I am Plat Pref with USAir, but they are offering a 12 hour two plane itinerary - 650K miles for two tix + $490. So much for status! Delta I am Plat, AA I am lifetime Plat, and Virgin Atlantic Gold.
     
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  14. davythefatboy

    davythefatboy Silver Member

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  15. Of course as an AC super elite I can get any flight, any time in J to Europe for 90K miles and their userous fees of about $1100 to LHR and about $700 elsewhere on the continent.
     
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  16. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Srsly.

    I just booked in J // LAX - ORD - BRU - VIE; CDG - BKK - [SIN] - HND - LAX for 240k + $400 for 2 people
     
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  17. Boraxo

    Boraxo Silver Member

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    it really depends on when you are flying and what program options. DL saver award chart is basically a lie now. UA is notoriously stingy with saver business class (as they figure on selling every seat) but surprisingly better for saver F on TATL and TPAC. And if you are willing to fly on a *A partner there are usually more options for saver business class.

    time of year is a huge factor. summer can be difficult but winter is not. and the opposite times of year if flying to australia. i can never find even economy class nonstop saver flights to Mexico anymore during peak travel periods.

    so the bottom line is that you can't really generalize about 1 cent per mile valuation.
     
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  18. SFOPeter
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    SFOPeter Silver Member

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    I didn't know that about AC... pretty cool.
     
  19. qofmiwok

    qofmiwok Active Member

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    I feel like there is a secret world you guys know about that I don't. Maybe because you have status.
    I actually do pretty well redeeming awards on United; they will give me flights on any plane that has seats because I have a credit card, but I almost always can get super saver awards (I live in Reno and Reno-Kona is my most common flight.) I found business class availability on BA no problem, using my free companion ticket awards (I do have to make my own way to NYC for $500 but then I there were many options business class to Europe.)

    What stumps me is American. I have 400k miles I've been trying to use for 10 years and they NEVER have availability anywhere I check. I always check them first for my coach tickets and zip, then check United and bingo. I searched for business class seats to Australia next winter, actually I ended up looking for a whole year and there were zero seats available for the whole year. I recently tried to bring my Dad to Hawaii, there were tons of options with United, the only thing on American taking 36 hours and 4 stops. The other thing is I have NEVER seen them come up with any flights on partner airlines, even though their search engine is supposed to do it.

    So how can I use these miles? I heard there are people you can pay to search for you. How do you find these people? I tried some online sites that said they could search itineraries and alert you when it becomes available, but nobody could do broad searches like "any place in Europe in July-Sept". I downloaded a program last year that I think you experts use to find availability, but it was so complicated I couldn't figure it out. Does Quantas site work better than AA? Please help!
     
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  20. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Use the Qantas site...only a limited selection of AA partners are bookable online, but Qantas can find most of those I think.
     
  21. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Or BA

    then you gotta call In

    http://www.aa.com/awardmap

    Have you used that yet?
     
  22. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    I've found Qantas more reliable, although admittedly the most recent case was for flights on Qantaslink...
     
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