How do the values of award mile redemptions compare among the major US airlines?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by NYCUA1K, Jan 23, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Someone recently asked the following question:
    I thought to myself, "Wow, that is expensive!" because in 2010, I'd redeemed miles to do:

    JFK-SFO-PVG-SFO-JFK

    in first class (F or XF) on United, and I paid "just" 145K miles (it would now cost 160K; 150K for C, so F redemption seems to have better value) in Standard Awards (not subject to blackout dates; i.e., if a seat is available, you can have it with miles rather than cash). This seems to me to be significantly less than this poster initially found out he would have to pay for a comparable TPAC trip redemption in business (C or XC) on DL. My entire trip was in XF, including the JFK <-> SFO segments, which were p.s. flights.

    It would thus seem that UA redemptions, at least for TPAC, might have more value than DL redemptions, but I do not wish to jump to conclusions. So, does anyone know the relative values of award mile redemptions among the major US airlines? Also, which alliance offers more value on redemptions?

    Please redirect if this topic had been discussed previously elsewhere.
     
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  2. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    I think you may be misunderstanding the UA award chart. The 160K UA miles you are referring to is either a RT F SAVER award or a 1 way F ANYTIME award. For a Business seat, the saver award is 60K each direction and 150K each way for an anytime award. I believe the 200K Delta miles that are referenced are for a RT - not a one way.

    As a general rule, I think most people consider UA / CO and AA more valuable than Delta due to the ease of redemption - especially at the "saver" level.
     
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  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I think that you are absolutely right and that is an important clarification. The post I had referred to did not specify but I assumed that I was comparing similar 200K DL vs 160K UA. The UA standard awards I quoted are indeed for one-way. Do the 200K DL miles represent the equivalent of UA saver awards (poster said not "during blackout")?

    So, because I had paid 145K miles RT in 2010, it seems that my redemption was on saver awards, rather than standard awards as I had stated.
     
  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    The 200k price quote sounds glitchy. As a partner award, it should price out at low.

    US-based FF programs mostly have similar award charts and zone-based redemption. Relative valuation of miles generally has more to do with ease of redemption than anything, as deant mentioned. Another plus is being able to redeem for IFC. If you're flexible enough, miles in any alliance program with relatively permissive routing rules can be used to redeem for flights that would have an obscene price tag if purchased with cash.

    If you're flexible enough and do not plan to redeem for IFC, then all of the major US programs can provide outstanding redemption options.
     
  5. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Sounds like an error in pricing as I have gotten KE multiple times to Asia in business from LAX with the posted low mileage of 120k.
     
  6. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    TPAC business class on KE using DL miles is 120,000 RT or is not available. One suspects that the 200,000 represents using high mileage FC award for domestic connections.
     
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  7. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Most US based mile programs have similar (but not identical) redemption value (on a "saver" or equivalent level). The major difference between them (though, even that seems to change quickly) is the award rules - how many stopovers one can have, whether there is one-way redemption, whether mini-RTW will be allowed, whether MPM rules apply (or how flexible are they).
    Even within the same alliance there will be different rules as to what is permitted (see UA vs. CO vs. US).
    As always the key is to know your specific program(s) rules and use the program accordingly. This is one reason I don't have all the eggs in one basket and spread the "wealth" among several programs - using each one for it relative strength.
     
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  8. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    A big diffence among programs is the extent to which better award inventory is restricted and possibly enhanced for the carrier's own FFs.
     
  9. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    This is exactly right. I believe that they're looking at medium-level first/business-elite seats domestically (80k miles) which is in addition to the 120,000 required for KE J using DL miles.
     
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  10. geclub1
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    geclub1 Silver Member

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    But there should not be a need for DL feeder flights as the OP was quoting these flights:

    KE 34 ATL-ICN
    KE 35 ICN-ATL
     
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  11. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    If those were the only flights, then yes, but I'm guessing that the person who asked the original question of the OP may have had feeder flights in there that weren't referenced. I'd ask the person if they have any additional flights aside from these. If so, there's your answer. If not, then this is wrong.
     
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  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    These award prices are not correct.

    And, FWIW, the saver return level awards on that route would be 140K/120K/65K for F/C/Y, either TPAC or TATL, when redeemed from a UA/CO account. So it is the same price at the C level between the two programs being compared.

    If you want to compare the rates across a few programs (I'm always working on adding more) there's a pretty good set of data here: http://www.wandr.me/Tools/Frequent_Flier_Redemption_Options.aspx.
     
  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    A bit late to the party; as that had already been established days ago...
     
  14. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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