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Confession: I regularly book Standard-level awards

Confession: I regularly book Standard-level awards

Old Aug 5, 16, 6:44 am
  #1  
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Confession: I regularly book Standard-level awards

I like saving miles as much as the next guy, but every once in a while, I look at ticket prices for certain dates, and end up booking at the Standard level.

Case in point- SFO-NYC on Thanksgiving Sunday.
Cash tickets are $500+.
UA is 25k miles.

Last year, AUA-NYC, NYE Sunday.
Cash tickets $800.
DL was 32.5K.

Other times, traveling on major holiday weekends - standard levels on UA and DL are often very good values. AA, since the deval, is insane. That SFO-NYC on Thanksgiving Sunday is 75K for Y.

Who else often books standard awards?
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Old Aug 5, 16, 8:17 am
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I confess I used quite a lof of miles for intra-european awards even though perceived a poor value e.g. 20k miles for CPH-HAJ in Y compared to 50k in J CPH-SFO but still it saved me 500 as the CPH-HAJ flights are notorious expensive on last minute bookings.

Bottom line is: If you get a decent value by spending miles it doesn't matter if those miles are spend on standard, save, J or Y awards.
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Old Aug 5, 16, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by fassy View Post
Bottom line is: If you get a decent value by spending miles it doesn't matter if those miles are spend on standard, save, J or Y awards.
Exactly.

For leisure, I would probably never find full-fare awards a good value as my schedule is flexible enough to find cheap days to fly.
In an emergency, however, having miles can be a huge relief even at the standard levels.
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Old Aug 5, 16, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by stevento View Post
Other times, traveling on major holiday weekends - standard levels on UA and DL are often very good values. AA, since the deval, is insane. That SFO-NYC on Thanksgiving Sunday is 75K for Y.

Who else often books standard awards?
I just booked my first standard award today, actually. And I must disagree that AA standard pricing is insane. At least, it isn't always. I booked HNL-DFW-CLT in J on a random day in January (not near a holiday). 67.5k AA miles. UA wanted 90k for standard, Delta 100k+. I figure I've paid 70k for a 9hr flight in mediocre (LH) lie flat business class, so why is 67.5k for an 8hr flight in angle flat business class so bad (and hey, maybe I'll get the refurbed plane with a proper lie flat)? And I got to pick the itinerary I wanted without any hassle.
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Old Aug 5, 16, 8:51 pm
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Old Aug 6, 16, 2:01 pm
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I'm in Lima right now. Family is traveling on 70K roundtrip AAnytime awards. Not thrilled to drop the 210K miles, but I don't value them at the $4,500 cost of 3 revenue tickets.
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Old Aug 6, 16, 9:00 pm
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I admit I haven't booked anything with miles in a while because the SO is so bad at getting me his schedule, but I can totally see where you're coming from. I often book rooms with IHG points rather than paying, because IHG points are ridiculously easy to get compared to other hotel programs (in my experience, at least, their promotions net you huge amounts of points). I also booked a hotel Westin with points because that 4-night stay wasn't in the budget, even though it was a ridiculous price of 10,000 points per night.
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Old Aug 8, 16, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by fassy View Post
I confess I used quite a lof of miles for intra-european awards...
European one-ways, especially same-day-returns, open jaws, or triangles are great value. It is my main use for UA miles.

I use LH and SQ miles for the small amount of premium travel I need.
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Old Aug 11, 16, 2:43 pm
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I booked two business/first standard awards for our trip this summer. SBA-SFO-LIH was saver first (got intl config SFO-LIH, so lie-flats), but coming back was LIH-SFO-EWR-SYR. Coulda done saver economy, but chose standard business instead. LIH-SFO was supposed to be the same lie-flat, but delays switched us to another flight so it was just domestic first. But SFO-EWR was still p.s.

260k UA miles on the trip, totally worth it. (Then we got back home to SBA with TY points flying economy on AA. Blew the whole Prestige bonus as tickets were ~$400 each for the one-way.)

I guess I wouldn't say I do it often, though.
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Old Aug 11, 16, 2:53 pm
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They are your miles, do whatever makes sense to you---after giving it a careful thought.
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Old Aug 11, 16, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by PlatinumScum View Post
I'm in Lima right now. Family is traveling on 70K roundtrip AAnytime awards. Not thrilled to drop the 210K miles, but I don't value them at the $4,500 cost of 3 revenue tickets.
LIM was my largest AAnytime redemption, too. Similar situation - 70k one way for two people, or $2k. It felt a little wasteful, but it wasn't a hard choice in the end. 2.8 cpm isn't a bad redemption.
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Old Aug 12, 16, 7:33 am
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Intra-Europe triangle trips. I redeemed the "anytime" level on those before...

Also have done it a couple times for peak-season flights into small Canadian airports.
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Old Aug 12, 16, 8:20 am
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200k for a one-way AA business MVD-MIA-JFK. First week of January and flights were packed. It was an emergency so for me well worth it.
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Old Aug 13, 16, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Intra-Europe triangle trips. I redeemed the "anytime" level on those before...
How? I thought that "anytime" level was only available on USA-based airlines' own metal, and I'm not aware of any USA-based airlines flying intra-Europe triangle trips on their own metal. What am I missing?
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Old Aug 13, 16, 10:37 pm
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Not quite the same, but I paid the peak-season rate (120K vs. 80K) to go first class JFK-ICN on Korean Air in June. The peak rate is only about 6 weeks a year, but this was the best time for me to go, and I decided the extra 40K points was really only a "penalty" of $232.70, which is the amount in Staples VGC fees it takes to replenish that many Chase points (26 $300 VGCs). I don't MS much but I'll make the effort for the replenishment.

I haven't booked a standard award on a US carrier, though. The thought of paying double seems excessive, but I'd do it if I were still getting what I thought was a good deal compared with paying cash -- and I might still take into account the "How much does it cost to replenish the excess points?" principle.

Seth
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