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Old Oct 5, 10, 10:20 am
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: HPN
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Posts: 3,195
Originally Posted by tripaddict View Post
I recently redeemed 100k (AA) miles for CDG-CPT one-way and NAI-CDG one-way on BA in F. This would have cost $9905.

However, I would have never spent this much of my own money for luxury, so I value the miles usage based on what I would personally be willing to pay, which might be around $2000, or $0.02/mile for a comparable flight. In other words, if I had bought economy tickets for $1100 and the agent offered an upgrade to longhaul F, I would probably shell out $450 each way for luxury pods vs stuffy coach when traveling long haul for pleasure with my wife.
This is a reasonable way to look at it. Of course, one certainly can't count on being offered upgrades for sale, and I enjoy knowing for sure I'll be in F or C.

What hasn't yet been mentioned is that there is usually a real cost associated with earning miles. For instance, I pay Chase $140 per year for their MP Platinum card, which gives me vastly more miles than their free cards. To get some of those miles, I fill up my gas tank at stations with pay-at-the-pump (because that doubles the number of miles earned), and these are usually a few cents/gallon more expensive than paying cash at competitors. Finally, often I fly UA even if their tickets cost a bit more.

The bottom line is that if I spend, say, 135k miles on an F ticket to Asia, the total cost is about the same as (or maybe a bit less than) an economy ticket. But I like F better, and what "pays" for the added value of F is really just having to suffer the inconvenience of using saver awards and of waiting for my mileage balance to grow large enough to buy vacations for the whole family in F. To me, that's a very reasonable bargain. The deal is less a financial one than a psychological one, so for me it's hard to conclude what the financial worth of miles is.
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