Great redemption value (CPM) on JFK-SFO

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by NYBanker, Mar 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    On this, and perhaps other leading internet travel discussion forums, we often lament about the value of miles and the difficulty redeeming them. I just redeemed some miles for award travel from JFK to SFO for Easter weekend in April and realized some very strong CPM valuations. I thought I might share the real-time valuation of miles with this community.

    I redeemed a combination of Business Saver awards and First Anytime awards for travel from JFK to SFO.

    The round trip business award (which was a saver), came in at 5.9 cents per mile (50,000 miles versus lowest business fare of $2,961.40). I was able to get capacity in U class (low-miles business award) because I am EXP. It showed U0 on Expert Flyer, but the agent confirmed the EXP status opened up 2 additional seats in U inventory. (Even as a Business Anytime award, valuation would have been 3.0 cpm, not the worst valuation at least.)

    As it was only U2 (as an EXP), and I have more than two pax in my party, I needed more seats. Rather than redeem Anytime Business awards, I decided to redeem Anytime First awards (130,000 miles, no low-miles First awards were available) for the others. The lowest round trip First Class fare (on the 3-cabin aircraft) on my flights would have been $6,042. For this redemption, that's a value of 4.65 cpm, using an Anytime award. Had I been on savers, it would have been 9.3 cpm.

    I got exactly the flights I wanted, during the Easter holiday period, with < 35 days notice. To round things out, the agent waived the telephone ticketing fee for the PNR that I wasn't at part of, too.

    While some may dismiss using 130,000 miles to fly JFK-SFO round trip, I prefer being in a premium cabin and would have paid for the travel using cash had I not used miles.

    Out of curiousity, I priced out the lowest economy fare for my flights. It would have been $606. Assuming a 25k miles redemption, that yields 2.42 cpm. This is a good real-time illustration of the best valuation of miles being for long-haul (or semi-long-haul in this case) premium cabin travel.

    I was pleased with the EXP availability - but even without that, the CPM values were quite strong. Many posts in forums are about the challenges using miles. My experience this time, as it often is, was the opposite on AA.
     
    gleff likes this.
  2. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    This worked out even better than I anticipated. After I made my booking, 1 Z (low miles F award inventory) seat became available mid-week last week (tip of hat to ExpertFlyer's email notices), so I quickly called and changed one of my family member's F award seat from Aanytime to Saaver, resulting in a 32.5k mile savings. I ended up getting a 9.3cpm redemption for at least one of the one-way awards. This is one of the best dollar values I've ever gotten for a points redemption.

    Regrettably, I didn't know to refresh the EF email alert - and while we were on board the plane, but not yet departed the gate, on a lark, I pulled up the flight on EF. Behold, AA had released another Z seat. While it would have been too late once we had boarded to re-issue the ticket, I presume they opened the Z seat somewhere between 1 and 72 hours prior to the flight. Assuming that was the case, I would have downgraded the other award seat from F to Z, for another 32.5k refund.

    I now know to refresh the EF alerts if I want them to keep coming!
     

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