Not sure of best way

Old Oct 22, 10, 8:27 am
  #1  
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Not sure of best way

Hi - newly turned AE Elite member. Need your advice. I am doing work in Frankfurt and for a weekend am thinking about heading to Dublin and using AE miles for flight - I have a bunch to spend :-)

What is the best approach to get the best deal? Is going through AE the only option or can I go through some other way to get better rate in terms of miles cost? I can get FRA-DUB on LH return for a weekend in Nov for 20K miles via AE. Is there anyway to find a better miles deal or is this it?

I am new to the rewards cashing-in thing in terms of being a smart consumer of miles.

Thx in advance, Chris
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Old Oct 22, 10, 8:34 am
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With Aeroplan points, you must book through Aeroplan. But you can book on any Star Alliance carrier at Aeroplan's price point (20k), and if you book on a LH flight you'll save on fuel surcharges.

Intra-EU flights are often quite cheap though, if you're flexible, so your points might be better spent on a more exciting trip too. Check out http://www2.aeroplan.com/use_your_mi...p=staralliance for options.
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Old Oct 22, 10, 8:54 am
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Thanks cam_macleod!

The goal for me is to spend $0 for flying on this trip. But I see your point - booking AE miles must be done via AE, which I guess is not so much of a surprise.

That link to the grid you sent is magic - thanks!

And so I understand, it is 20K miles from EUR1 to EUR1 (in my case) - any other fees charges if I fly LH? Using the AE site I have not been able to see this answer - today many of the pages seem to be timing out on me :-( Not sure why this is. AE is sooooo slowwwww as a site.
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Old Oct 22, 10, 8:58 am
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There are taxes that must be paid in addition to points. Getting to $0 is impossible. But you can call AE and get them to calculate the taxes for various options. If you use LH, for example, you need to pay any applicable taxes at the airports you travel through. This could be as little as $20 or as much as $100 depending on what airports you use around the world.

The AE site is troublesome even at the best of times, and doesn't have the ability to calculate all fees in some situations. Calling is better.
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Old Oct 22, 10, 9:09 am
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Taxes/Airport fees will be about $50. If youŽre lucky you can get a revenue flight for $140 a.i., so I would never spend 20k miles for an intra-European flight. Remember that 80k/100k miles will get you a TATL flight in Business/First class.
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Old Oct 22, 10, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by cam_macleod View Post
There are taxes that must be paid in addition to points. Getting to $0 is impossible. But you can call AE and get them to calculate the taxes for various options. If you use LH, for example, you need to pay any applicable taxes at the airports you travel through. This could be as little as $20 or as much as $100 depending on what airports you use around the world.

The AE site is troublesome even at the best of times, and doesn't have the ability to calculate all fees in some situations. Calling is better.
Thanks cam_mcleod!

Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Taxes/Airport fees will be about $50. If youŽre lucky you can get a revenue flight for $140 a.i., so I would never spend 20k miles for an intra-European flight. Remember that 80k/100k miles will get you a TATL flight in Business/First class.
Hi Jasper, You are right but currently the best deal I find is around $200-250 including taxes, surcharges etc. So I guess it comes down to what is a mile worth? Decisions, decisions ...

Thanks for the information! Food for thought.
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Old Oct 22, 10, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by golferguy2727 View Post
Hi Jasper, You are right but currently the best deal I find is around $200-250 including taxes, surcharges etc. So I guess it comes down to what is a mile worth? Decisions, decisions ...

Thanks for the information! Food for thought.
$200 a.i. is a pretty good deal for FRA-DUB.

Everybody values their miles differently, but I think nearly everyone will agree that getting a return <$0.01/miles is a bad value. I personally aim for >$0.02/miles when redeeming for economy (very rarely), and use my miles for intŽl C/F awards otherwise.
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Old Oct 22, 10, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
$200 a.i. is a pretty good deal for FRA-DUB.

Everybody values their miles differently, but I think nearly everyone will agree that getting a return <$0.01/miles is a bad value. I personally aim for >$0.02/miles when redeeming for economy (very rarely), and use my miles for intŽl C/F awards otherwise.
So this raises a really good question for me - what does in reality represent good value for use of miles, personal preferences aside? As a newbie I have not much experience in reward consumption, but when I look at the obvoius availabel rewards for which I can use points, they all seem to be similarly bad in the "points value" context.

And also, what is C/F?

Regards, Chris
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Old Oct 22, 10, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by golferguy2727 View Post
So this raises a really good question for me - what does in reality represent good value for use of miles, personal preferences aside? As a newbie I have not much experience in reward consumption, but when I look at the obvoius availabel rewards for which I can use points, they all seem to be similarly bad in the "points value" context.

And also, what is C/F?

Regards, Chris
J/C = general abbreviation for business class
F = general abbreaviation for First class
(J/C/F may also be booking classes)

When determining whether to use miles or cash I usually use the following formula:

if (miles required x $0.015 + taxes/surcharges/fees etc. + opportunity costs) < cost of revenue ticket; IŽll use miles

$0.015 = minimum valuation of my miles (insert a different number if you like)

opportunity costs: value of miles you donŽt earn because you use miles vs. buying a revenue ticket

Example: YYZ (Toronto) - (SFO) San Francisco r/t

25k miles required x $0.015 + $260 taxes + $105 (as an Elite I would earn about 7k award miles; 7k miles x $0.015) = $740
=> I would only consider using miles if a regular ticket cost more than $740.

------

YouŽll also find FTers saying they got a return of > $0.10/miles when redeeming for intŽl First Class. While their calculation is theoretically correct (cost of an F ticket US/Canada-Europe is greater than $10k, and costs 100k miles as an award), only a very few FTers would have spent that sort of money (out of their own pocket).

Anyway, you obviously get the highest return when redeeming for intŽl business/First class.

Last edited by Jasper2009; Oct 22, 10 at 10:48 am
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Old Oct 22, 10, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by golferguy2727 View Post
Hi - newly turned AE Elite member. Need your advice. I am doing work in Frankfurt and for a weekend am thinking about heading to Dublin and using AE miles for flight - I have a bunch to spend :-)

What is the best approach to get the best deal? Is going through AE the only option or can I go through some other way to get better rate in terms of miles cost? I can get FRA-DUB on LH return for a weekend in Nov for 20K miles via AE. Is there anyway to find a better miles deal or is this it?

I am new to the rewards cashing-in thing in terms of being a smart consumer of miles.

Thx in advance, Chris
If it's a weekend trip, look at the European LCCs like EasyJet, RyanAir, FlyBE etc etc. I'd wager that if you just take a carry-on; the total cost for the flight would be less than the aeroplan taxes&fees
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Old Oct 22, 10, 8:07 pm
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I'd have to agree. There are some uber-cheap airlines in Europe. Save the miles for another time.
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