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Award: should I book domestic economy for 10-17k or first for 20-27k miles?

Award: should I book domestic economy for 10-17k or first for 20-27k miles?

Old May 17, 2023, 7:12 pm
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Award: should I book domestic economy for 10-17k or first for 20-27k miles?

So I am faced frequently with this dilemma: Should I book a 3-leg award in economy for 10-17k miles, or a 20-27k award in J? I know that I would typically be upgraded as an EXP on 2 of the 3 segments for free, and sometimes the third one, too, on flights of around 1.5 - 3.5 hours each. Should I save the 10k extra miles for J or secure the J award form the start? I impulsively tend to book the J award when it is so cheap (20-27k AA miles), but then I end up getting 2 or all 3 of the complimentary upgrades when I book economy and short of waste the miles....

Thoughts? What do you usually do?

Last edited by nk15; May 17, 2023 at 7:17 pm
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Old May 17, 2023, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by nk15
So I am faced frequently with this dilemma: Should I book a 3-leg award in economy for 10-17k miles, or a 20-27k award in J? I know that I would typically be upgraded as an EXP on 2 of the 3 segments for free, and sometimes the third one, too, on flights of around 1.5 - 3.5 hours each. Should I save the 10k extra miles for J or secure the J award form the start? I impulsively tend to book the J award when it is so cheap (20-27k AA miles), but then I end up getting 2 or all 3 of the complimentary upgrades when I book economy and short of waste the miles....

Thoughts? What do you usually do?
How comfortable or uncomfortable would you be if you did not get upgraded, and ended up in the Main Cabin Extra seat which you would have undoubtedly selected at booking? The front cabin will always be more comfortable, but for relatively short flights, MCE is not bad.
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Old May 17, 2023, 7:28 pm
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Yes, that's the thing, I am on the fence...It is usually the third/ international hop flight that is at stake, for around 3 hours or so. If less than 3 hours I guess I should risk it, if 4 hours or more no....But even around 3 hours it is a toss up...3 hours also has the food in it...

There is also the theoretical risk that only one of the three will clear...
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Old May 17, 2023, 9:57 pm
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How much time are you losing as a result of the extra hop?
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Old May 17, 2023, 10:09 pm
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It varies, sometimes not much, but these are leisure trips that price is more important. Sometimes they get auto rebooked into two segments after schedule changes or I find the ideal short two leg segment closer to the flight.
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Old May 18, 2023, 12:44 am
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As an EXP, Id do the 10-17k mile coach award. That is such a low amount of miles that it seems brilliant to find and get such a great deal.
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Old May 18, 2023, 3:05 am
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Old May 18, 2023, 4:02 am
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Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler
As an EXP, Id do the 10-17k mile coach award. That is such a low amount of miles that it seems brilliant to find and get such a great deal.
i do this all the time
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Old May 18, 2023, 5:30 am
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I am no longer exp, but given that I would want seat selection, and given the devaluation, unless you dont have a lot of miles, Id do F.
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Old May 18, 2023, 6:14 am
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For me it'd depend on how long the flights are, routes involved, the aircraft, how many miles I've got banked, and how quickly I accrue them.

At the moment I have an abundance of miles banked and have been accumulating them faster than spending them, so I'd just go with the J.
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Old May 18, 2023, 6:32 am
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"Saving" miles shouldn't be your highest priority. See, e.g., United's massive devaluation yesterday.
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Old May 18, 2023, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler
As an EXP, I’d do the 10-17k mile coach award. That is such a low amount of miles that it seems brilliant to find and get such a great deal.
That's the dilemma, a 10k coach award is brilliant, but so is a 20k J award, lol...But those extra 10k is another half trip somewhere else...I do not have too many miles and my accrual rate is low-medium, which makes this a tougher decision.

Originally Posted by JetAway
"Saving" miles shouldn't be your highest priority. See, e.g., United's massive devaluation yesterday.
​​​​​​​Which reminds me I should search and book some such cheap trips for next year now, before any sudden devaluation....

Last edited by nk15; May 18, 2023 at 7:51 am
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Old May 18, 2023, 8:44 am
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Standard domestic F isn't worth paying for. Money or miles.
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Old May 18, 2023, 11:37 am
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What's the routing? If you have a good shot for upgrades as an EXP I don't see the value in paying the extra miles for domestic non-lie flat Oasis seat first.
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Old May 18, 2023, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by ghsbass0406
What's the routing? If you have a good shot for upgrades as an EXP I don't see the value in paying the extra miles for domestic non-lie flat Oasis seat first.
Came here to ask this.
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