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Old May 20, 10, 9:17 am   #1
 
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What is the value of dividend miles?

Hey guys. I am a somewhat frequent flier (30-40 segments/year), but have never booked a flight using miles. I have some upcoming personal trips where I could use miles, but all of the flights are under $300, while the low cost miles options are sold out, meaning it'd be 40k miles to book. Seems better just to pay the money and save the miles for a tip overseas, no?
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Old May 20, 10, 9:35 am   #2
 
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The standard rate for buying miles is 2.75 cents per mile. I save my miles for partner award travel that seems to be the best use for me.
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Old May 20, 10, 9:37 am   #3
 
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I agree with the OP. Pay for inexpensive flights. Use miles for TATL travel or necessary upgrades.
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Old May 20, 10, 9:43 am   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neotope View Post
... I save my miles for partner award travel that seems to be the best use for me.
So do I, mostly . Exceptions being last-minute domestic travel when fares are high...

I was fortunate in buying US miles recently through the 250% at less than 1 cent/mile, so I'd say the value of a Mile is 1 cent to me when I try to figure out whether to use Miles for a trip...
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Old May 20, 10, 9:44 am   #5
 
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Or Small, "express" cities

I've used miles to fly to smaller, "express" cities that are served via United. If paid in cash, they would have been expensive.
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Old May 20, 10, 10:09 am   #6
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The best value, if you have the time and miles, is to use them for biz/first class on an international partner like ANA, Singapore, Swiss or Lufthansa. Even CO and UA have some decent options for long haul travel. These kinds of trips will realize you the most value per point when you consider those kinds of tickets can cost $5-$10K (in some cases each way).
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Old May 20, 10, 12:05 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by PHL View Post
The best value, if you have the time and miles, is to use them for biz/first class on an international partner like ANA, Singapore, Swiss or Lufthansa. Even CO and UA have some decent options for long haul travel. These kinds of trips will realize you the most value per point when you consider those kinds of tickets can cost $5-$10K (in some cases each way).
Or for winter saver fares to Europe. 60k rt in envoy is a decent deal, even for US. More so if you have the master card and can book for 55k.
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Old May 20, 10, 1:17 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by PHL View Post
The best value, if you have the time and miles, is to use them for biz/first class on an international partner like ANA, Singapore, Swiss or Lufthansa. Even CO and UA have some decent options for long haul travel. These kinds of trips will realize you the most value per point when you consider those kinds of tickets can cost $5-$10K (in some cases each way).
Totally Agree... no domestic Y tickets unless you are totally stuck.. and rarely have I been that stuck!
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Old May 20, 10, 1:59 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by GoodOmens View Post
Or for winter saver fares to Europe. 60k rt in envoy is a decent deal, even for US. More so if you have the master card and can book for 55k.
Generally speaking what would the dates be for the 60k r/t in Envoy?
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Old May 20, 10, 2:08 pm   #10
 
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Generally speaking what would the dates be for the 60k r/t in Envoy?
Mid January to late February.
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Old May 20, 10, 4:23 pm   #11
 
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Generally international First or Business class awards on Star Alliance airlines are the best value. Take a look at this thread for some tips on booking award tickets and examples of itineraries people have booked with US miles.
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Old May 20, 10, 7:40 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by PHL View Post
The best value, if you have the time and miles, is to use them for biz/first class on an international partner like ANA, Singapore, Swiss or Lufthansa. Even CO and UA have some decent options for long haul travel. These kinds of trips will realize you the most value per point when you consider those kinds of tickets can cost $5-$10K (in some cases each way).
Absolutely. I just booked a July *A trip to HKG from PHL, all in F (except for one segment in Biz). I'm flying on Asiana, Thai, and Swiss (and on US for PHL-LAX). I priced out my itinerary at $22,500!

I used 120,000 miles. That's a ridiculous 18.75 cents/mile!

In another case, I need to fly to Toronto from PHL for a weekend in June. US wants $550 (!!!) for the trip. Instead, I used 20,000 miles. That's "only" 2.75 cents/mile -- but still considered a good deal. Why spend $550 to fly a short flight that earns so few EQM's anyway?

The "spending miles vs. earning EQM's" question is always a consideration for me (and for others, I'd imagine). I like my GP status, especially since almost all my flights are for leisure -- so I usually am not competing against too many elites for UG's when flying on US.

The Double EQM promos the last two years have allowed me to spend miles on two *A award trips to North Asia (I flew in biz to TPE last year) because I didn't need to earn miles on those flights to maintain GP.

Last edited by tommyleo; May 20, 10 at 7:47 pm.
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Old May 20, 10, 8:46 pm   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1982 View Post
Hey guys. I am a somewhat frequent flier (30-40 segments/year), but have never booked a flight using miles. I have some upcoming personal trips where I could use miles, but all of the flights are under $300, while the low cost miles options are sold out, meaning it'd be 40k miles to book. Seems better just to pay the money and save the miles for a tip overseas, no?
Let me give you some examples of miles value

Look at the details on this one. Biz Class award to Madras for friend

-120k miles - 235$ taxes = 3240$ + 30k miles (20k travel + 10k Biz bonus if paid ticket)
Add 120k miles each => -235$ = -3235$+150k miles
Add 3235$ each => 3000$ = 150k miles
= 2 cpm value out of 1.5 cpm cost = 0.5 cpm free money.
Real out of pocket cost = 1.5 cpm anyway to get a mile or point. (miles bought in March)

For the economy ticket, it is a slightly different equation.
-80k miles - 150$ = - 1350$ +20k miles
Add 80k miles to each side => -150$ = -1350$ + 100k miles
Add 1350$ => 1200$ = 100 k miles.
Or, you get 1.2c of value for each mile, which itself has an opportunity cost of 1.5 cpm.
The best you can buy miles on sale is about 1.15c each like right now with the share promo.
Usually it is 1.5c each.
So my advice was to save miles for later for C class use or when ticket prices are very high..

There is however hidden value in miles.
I had booked the ticket on AF to BLR and then on Kingfisher, but I was able to cancel for free (DL DM)
Now the second trip is in Y on LH with US miles (fully cancellable) - almost as good as buying a full Y to avoid cancel fees (although if you misconnect, there will be no other airline to help you and get money back)
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Old May 20, 10, 9:46 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by tommyleo View Post
Absolutely. I just booked a July *A trip to HKG from PHL, all in F (except for one segment in Biz). I'm flying on Asiana, Thai, and Swiss (and on US for PHL-LAX). I priced out my itinerary at $22,500!

I used 120,000 miles. That's a ridiculous 18.75 cents/mile!
Yeah, this is the way to go for sure. My husband and I recently traveled PHL to NRT, returning from Seoul (him) and Shanghai (me) in business and first class all the way for 90,000 miles each. I would much rather cash miles in on higher premium airfares than domestic fares where premium is not as important. (Ie, I'd rather use miles for business class on a 12 hr. international flight with flat beds, than first on a 4 hour flight domestic on a 320.)

KIM
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Old May 20, 10, 10:19 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ffI View Post
Let me give you some examples of miles value

Look at the details on this one. Biz Class award to Madras for friend

-120k miles - 235$ taxes = 3240$ + 30k miles (20k travel + 10k Biz bonus if paid ticket)
Add 120k miles each => -235$ = -3235$+150k miles
Add 3235$ each => 3000$ = 150k miles
= 2 cpm value out of 1.5 cpm cost = 0.5 cpm free money.
Real out of pocket cost = 1.5 cpm anyway to get a mile or point. (miles bought in March)

For the economy ticket, it is a slightly different equation.
-80k miles - 150$ = - 1350$ +20k miles
Add 80k miles to each side => -150$ = -1350$ + 100k miles
Add 1350$ => 1200$ = 100 k miles.
Or, you get 1.2c of value for each mile, which itself has an opportunity cost of 1.5 cpm.
Can you rewrite this to clarify your point? I think you're factoring in the loss of earned miles when using an award ticket -- but I'm not certain. If so, you need to factor in the value of forgone EQM's, too (not just the value of forgone miles). But I'm not sure how to value EQM's vs. regular miles.

To further complicate things, keep in mind that many of us would NEVER actually pay for a C or F ticket overseas. Take my itinerary to HKG in F, which would cost $22,500. I would never actually pay for that itinerary, so the most miles that I would truly forego by flying on an award ticket to HKG is the mileage I'd earn in Y. The F bonus cannot be factored in since I would never buy that itinerary in F.
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