AF or UA in W or Y?

Old May 14, 19, 7:15 pm
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AF or UA in W or Y?

Bonsoir, I'm looking at flying SFO-CDG r/t in September. My destinations are fairly flexible – I may fly into NCE, BOD, or LYS on the outbound if the availability is better – though my dates are fixed. I'm also hoping to do it on miles. I have ~18,000 FlyingBlue miles that I've accrued entirely from flying AF and DL shorthaul, though my miles expire soon as I just don't fly either of them enough now that I'm back in SFO. I also have a boatload of Chase points that I can convert to FlyingBlue, and I also have a boatload of UA miles. With that said, I probably don't have enough for a ticket in J, and contrary to FT doctrine, I'm still young enough that I still don't mind flying across the pond in steerage.

I don't see very many good deals for Y tickets on AF – they amount to about 45,000 each way. Though I do see a W ticket on the outbound for 57,000 miles, and I then would have enough miles with Chase/United to book the return on UA. Though I could also do the whole thing in Y for even fewer miles all on UA via UA or Chase. Only problem is then my AF miles would expire unless if I maybe do a quick weekend trip up to SEA on DL or something.

Is AF W worth it to spend the extra miles? I've read so-so reviews on AF's W product. I also could pay cash for a Y ticket on either AF or UA, though I figure I might as well use my miles before AF and UA both devalue their programs again.
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Old May 15, 19, 2:47 am
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I would say AF is superior to UA in nearly all aspects in Y and probably W, although I gave up UA a long time ago for their mediocre service (my IAD-based parents say they are just as lousy today).

The AF Premium Economy has so-so reviews because the seat is in a fixed shell and doesn't recline, rather it slides down. So not quite good for sleeping. If you go into the purchase with that in mind, *perhaps* it might be not as bad as people make it out to be.

Flying Blue uses a dynamic pricing award chart so really, the pricing of an award ticket is roughly proportional to the cash price of a ticket. Wouldn't say it's a complete devaluation although for the higher-demanded days/seasons, it can definitely be one.
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Old May 15, 19, 3:00 am
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AF is clearly superior to UA in long-haul Y. UA didn't improve (enough?) over the past years since 2011. I would only recommend UA in Y if the price is seriously attractive.
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Old May 15, 19, 3:24 am
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IMO, although I understand your point about using your miles before a potential devaluation, I would still considere buying the R/T ticket in cash. I do not know if it works for your fixed dates, but I see R/T trips in Y for about 450€/500$ in September, including on AF which would prevent your FB miles from expiring.

Keep your miles if you need to buy a one-way ticket or need flexibility for a future trip, which does not seems to be the case for your planned journey in September.
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Old May 16, 19, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Porcepic View Post
IMO, although I understand your point about using your miles before a potential devaluation, I would still considere buying the R/T ticket in cash. I do not know if it works for your fixed dates, but I see R/T trips in Y for about 450/500$ in September, including on AF which would prevent your FB miles from expiring.

Keep your miles if you need to buy a one-way ticket or need flexibility for a future trip, which does not seems to be the case for your planned journey in September.
You make a very good point, and I may end up just doing that. My only problem though is that my miles expire August 31, and I'm not looking to depart until September 4. Those miles will still expire even if I book a revenue ticket beforehand, correct?
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Old May 16, 19, 5:48 pm
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That's correct.
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Old May 16, 19, 8:43 pm
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Frankly 18,000 FB miles is not much. The best you can do is buy a French or European ticket at the cheapest fare, or a one way. If you plan to travel in France, you might want to consider this. But you still have to pay taxes. You can buy ticket before miles expiry and use it later.
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Old May 16, 19, 11:52 pm
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
Frankly 18,000 FB miles is not much. The best you can do is buy a French or European ticket at the cheapest fare, or a one way. If you plan to travel in France, you might want to consider this. But you still have to pay taxes. You can buy ticket before miles expiry and use it later.
They're not much on their own, but I would likely transfer some Chase points (of which I have many more) in order to do something of value.

So I guess I can either transfer some Chase points, make use of my AF miles and book an award ticket for the travel date after the miles would expire, or I can book a revenue ticket (which is arguably a better value) but lose the miles because my travel date is after the mileage expiration date.
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Old May 17, 19, 2:29 am
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You can also opt for the latter and buy a cheap ticket (cheapest should be SFO-LAX I assume, can be found for about 90$ for a same-day return) to fly before August, 31st so that your miles will not expire.
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