The value of MR points after Sept 2011?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by phonehome, Jul 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. phonehome
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    phonehome Active Member

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    I have about 60k MR points and I'm trying to decide what to do with them in the long run.

    First, what do you think will be the value of MR points after Sept 30th, when they can no longer be transfered to CO?
    To me this seems like a major downside for the MR programme as a whole. Looking at their remaining partners, there is only one that I would considering transferring points to: Aeroplan. Delta has terrible availability, BA and Virgin's fees are too high, Flying Blue et al are generally terrible, (also, I live in the Midwest and like to travel to non-European destinations, so ANA's distance-based chart isn't very appealing).
    Eversince Aeroplan's award chart was inflated they're not that great of an option either. A business class trip to Asia would cost me 125k. I have no other means of obtaining Aeroplan points, so for the foreseeable future I'd be stuck with 60k, 15k shy of an economy (!!) trip to Asia. Alternatively, I could transfer to Continental before October. I would end up using the CO miles about a year from now, so I'm afraid the UA/CO merger might devalue them. I particularly like CO's stopover and open jaw rules.

    Do you think there's any chance AmEx might realize their program is no longer very valuable and add new partners? US for example doesn't seem to have strong ties with any bank and tends to sell a lot of points. I'm actually surprised they're not already a transfer partner.
     
  2. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    If you travel to non-European destinations then BA's YQ won't be as hard hitting as it would be otherwise. A common example is using them to get to South American on LA or to Asia on CX. Another option is to just use BA for domestic flights (e.g., Hawaii) on AA.
     
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  3. phonehome
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    phonehome Active Member

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    I actually just booked a trip on CX using BA miles. The fees ended up being $450 one-way. That's a bit too much for my taste. I was curious if the fees were this high because it's a business class trip, but I check the economy fees and they were basically the same. I booked the return with JAL, where the fees were about $150 one-way, but I'm afraid BA might start charging ridiculous fees with them too, if they're already doing it with CX.
     
  4. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    CX does carry fees, but they are still 1/2 as what BA charges on their own metal, but I understand if they're too much for you. I don't know what's coming down the pipe with JAL, so I don't want to speculate. For now you still can do AA domestic or South America on LA are still options as well.
     
  5. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    Those fees seem high as we did 2 one way tixs SFO-HKG in First Class, booked in April and our total fees were in the region of $260.
     
  6. beachfan

    beachfan Silver Member

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    Those were probably the old fees. Two tickets returning from Bangkok-LAX via HKG in first was $380 or so in fees, $300 more than the same flights booked through American (priced on BA last week, booked on AA last week, for February 2012 travel)

    I could have had a stopover on BA, true, but $300 extra for two (ONE WAY) is still pricey.
     
  7. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    I am in the camp of those who are willing to pay a bit because even if I am spending ~$600 for a ticket i am sitting in F on either BA/CX for a long haul flight where I would otherwise be spending at least $10k or so. I know that there are strong opinions against this, but for me I am willing to bite a little in order to go for what I think is a bigger gain.
     
  8. phonehome
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    phonehome Active Member

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    So this discussion prompted me to go back and review what exactly I booked with BA miles. Apparently I switched the CX and JAL fees, so you guys are right. I paid $200 in fees for ORD-HKG-TPE in CX first and $450 for TPE-KIX-NRT-ORD in JAL business.
    I don't know how I could've flipped these in my mind. In any case, CX does look like a decent way to use BA miles.
     
  9. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I view it as a small co-pay for enhanced availability.
     
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  10. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    The ability to get miles into all the alliances remains one of the most valuable parts of Amex mr to me.

    Also, there are often promotions getting run offering enhanced conversion options. Right now, DL and BA are offing 50% bonuses...so your 60k mr would get you 90k at either of those carriers. Those specials end in the coming weeks....but there's often at least one going on.

    If all you do is fly UA/co, then it might make sense to concentrate your miles and make the transfer...but the flexibility of the mr points continues to make them extremely valuable to me, even ex-co.

    The points guy . Com did a 10+ part series on how to most efficiently use BA points earlier this year. It was well written and offered a number of value-add ideas. You might look that up to help think through some of the BA issues that you're perceiving.
     
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  11. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Aeroplan becomes expensive for some destinations, but is still cheaper than Continental for some as well. I liked Continental as an Amex partner because they would hold an award without points in an account, whereas with Aeroplan you wind up having to set up the award on the phone and then transfer points in real-time from the Amex website in order to ticket. But Aeroplan rules are in some ways more generous (two stopovers) and in other ways more restrictive (5% over MPM vs 15% at United and MPM isn't validated as such with Continental).

    ANA does add fuel surcharges, Aeroplan adds it to Air Canada metal, losing Continental does still and Amex seems to recognize that and has been adding benefits left and right (Prioritty Pass Select, US AIrways club access, $200 annual reimbursable in fees, Global Entry, etc) because of it.

    I like BA for South America (no fees) and for CX to Asia especially with transfer bonuses. BA won't hold awards either. No question that losing Continental stings a bit but it's still a good and useful program, here's hoping they find themselves more transfer partners!
     
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  12. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    A final point to note...ana's (remains an amex partner) distance-based award chart provides for some unique points opportunities to Europe. In some cases, these are far better opportunities than on co.

    EWR-lhr in j would be 63,000 miles using ana miles, far less than co would cost....and almost all of Europe west of IST could be had for 68k in J. 100,000 for LH to FRA in first, too.
     
  13. cotter77
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    cotter77 Silver Member

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    how about commentary on MR points usefullness for hotel redemptions. any advice. most of the hotel transfers do not seem that valuable. nor does the direct hotel redemption through their website where my 100k MR points is saving me roughly only 800$ off of a possible 4000$ hotel stay in Bali?
     
  14. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    I personally stay far away from redeeming MR points on hotels. I generally keep my MR points for transfers to airlines only. I tend to not even use the "pay with points" option even with the 20% discount for Plat members.
     
  15. thrashsoundly
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    thrashsoundly Silver Member

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    I think the redemption of MR points for hotel stays is a great idea if that is something you value and your budget is tight. No matter where I end up traveling, I need a place to stay when I get there. While it may not be the best overall value, MR points can get me into IHG properties for "free." To me on a tight budget (grad student), that has great value. If I already have miles to travel but couldn't afford to go on a trip because of hotel costs, now I can with MR points.

    For example, I am planning a trip with miles I already have and was able to get the 80K PC card and the 75K Amex Gold. I could use those points in multiple ways, but in my situation those bonuses mean I can stay in an IC for 4 nights or a CP or HI for 6 nights, where normally I wouldn't be able to afford hotel stays at all. While I enjoy upscale hotels, I personally don't "need" to stay in a fancy hotel wherever I travel, and generally I don't have the means to anyway, thus I'll probably use my points for the 6 nights.

    It comes down to your personal need and what you really want to do with those points. Sure MR points may have better overall value in flying, but not if you don't need them. There's some great advice here, but ultimately use them for what makes sense to you.
     

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