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Given all the devaluations happening, are there literally any sweet spots/value left?

Given all the devaluations happening, are there literally any sweet spots/value left?

Old May 6, 2024, 9:45 am
  #76  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee
I agree UA miles are among the least valuable major FFP currencies. There are however times when buying miles can make sense. UA's dynamic international JN awards in the 150k range will sometimes be the cheapest available option, with everything else priced at 2x that.
I try not to get into the mindset that any J award on UA metal is worth 150k. For the routes I typically redeem miles for, I've so far been able to find better alternatives (with other mileage currencies), in terms of both pricing and product quality. With 100% purchase bonus, 150k UA miles cost more than $2.8k (the real cost is actually quite a bit higher because of the status and redeemable miles one would have earned otherwise).
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Old May 6, 2024, 9:53 am
  #77  
 
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I can argue that 100k IN space cross pacific (well with Y segments in domestic to reposition yourself to SFO or whatever) is solid deal after devaluations but man, they are quite stingy with release IN space. Im not elite but have United card and monitor seats availability on EF and can see plenty of them available T-72/96.

also they seems only release IN spaces to TPE and ICN. Okay if you can figure other ways to go to your preferred destinations. I gave up on finding NH space from ORD and grab IN to ICN then using LM to go to final destination.. added costs in end but better than sitting on big miles balances ..
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Old May 6, 2024, 9:58 am
  #78  
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Originally Posted by washeelers747
I can argue that 100k IN space cross pacific (well with Y segments in domestic to reposition yourself to SFO or whatever) is solid deal after devaluations but man, they are quite stingy with release IN space. Im not elite but have United card and monitor seats availability on EF and can see plenty of them available T-72/96.
If you're not "elite," you don't have access to IN space, which is reserved for UA Platinum members and above. You need I space, which is even more sparse than IN space.

Seat maps don't equal availability, and there's also a tension between upgrades and award travel -- many of those seats would be claimed by upgraders before UA would open any I space for the general public to use for awards.
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Old May 6, 2024, 10:37 am
  #79  
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The 88K J space between USA and Middle East/Africa will not last.
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Old May 6, 2024, 10:37 am
  #80  
 
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Originally Posted by LaserSailor
Spending behaviour is very easy to model, and they can titrate this to what ever level they want.

they control the price per seat, the inventory, the availability, card offers can hook new fish, its like a casino where the payout is in Monopoly money but the game is life , plus you get a dose of crack when you enter the room.
The airlines/CC companies are also paying young, stylish social media influencers and running conventional advertisements that promote the idea that you can get "valuable travel rewards" by using your CC for "everyday purchases"--the absolute worst possible yield for CC spend on an airline/hotel affiliated card.
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Old May 6, 2024, 10:41 am
  #81  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
If you're not "elite," you don't have access to IN space, which is reserved for UA Platinum members and above. You need I space, which is even more sparse than IN space.

Seat maps don't equal availability, and there's also a tension between upgrades and award travel -- many of those seats would be claimed by upgraders before UA would open any I space for the general public to use for awards.
While I agree with the above, the PN=IN situation is the only saving grace for UA MP right now (if you are Plat+). Availability TATL and TPAC has been pretty decent recently and while it used to be 60-70k (now 80-100k), the greater availability IMO makes up for the increased pricing.
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Old May 6, 2024, 10:51 am
  #82  
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Originally Posted by cfischer
While I agree with the above, the PN=IN situation is the only saving grace for UA MP right now (if you are Plat+). Availability TATL and TPAC has been pretty decent recently and while it used to be 60-70k (now 80-100k), the greater availability IMO makes up for the increased pricing.
Especially during this period of light loads and absolutely insane fares to Australia. I am really missing my 1K status this year, but stuck in a DL hub.
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Old May 6, 2024, 11:06 am
  #83  
 
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Last week a United agent on chat insisted that I cannot book one-way awards on one of their Star alliance partners since it is not a United operated flight. I finally found an agent on the phone who booked it for me. I would have no need to contact them if they would not be hiding Star alliance availability on united.com. Perhaps more pernicious than the point devaluations is the incessant blocking of Star alliance availability on united.com accompanied by incompetent phone / chat agents.

Edited to add example - One of the comical blockings I saw was zero availability in LH J MUC-JFK, but same flight available for LH J MUC-JFK <airport change> UA EWR-PHL. Is United actively pushing their members to skiplag or what???
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Last edited by frmnj; May 6, 2024 at 11:12 am
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Old May 6, 2024, 11:08 am
  #84  
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Originally Posted by tth6133
I try not to get into the mindset that any J award on UA metal is worth 150k.
If it's a choice between a $3,500 OW ticket, and 150k miles, I'll take the JN award.

Unfortunately, with availability difficult across all programs, it's common to be forced to mix and match awards, resulting in choices like $3,500 cash for a OW, JN at 150k, or Y for a long-haul flight. That's just the reality of the current environment.

Heck, we're at the point where we're happy to find Advantage J availability on SQ, which means 128k KF SFO-BKK, as the cash tickets are now $7k RT.
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Old May 6, 2024, 11:53 am
  #85  
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Originally Posted by frmnj
Edited to add example - One of the comical blockings I saw was zero availability in LH J MUC-JFK, but same flight available for LH J MUC-JFK <airport change> UA EWR-PHL. Is United actively pushing their members to skiplag or what???
Youre blaming United for something LH is doing. Its LH that hates to sell nonstop award tickets; they want to extract the extra premium they can get selling those routes for cash.
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Old May 6, 2024, 12:41 pm
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Kacee
If it's a choice between a $3,500 OW ticket, and 150k miles, I'll take the JN award.

Unfortunately, with availability difficult across all programs, it's common to be forced to mix and match awards, resulting in choices like $3,500 cash for a OW, JN at 150k, or Y for a long-haul flight. That's just the reality of the current environment.

Heck, we're at the point where we're happy to find Advantage J availability on SQ, which means 128k KF SFO-BKK, as the cash tickets are now $7k RT.
I am definitely at the point where I grudgingly admit that with wide availability the mid-1xx JN awards are reasonable value and way better than anything you can get on Delta. It's not attractive when you can hunt for a $2k cash fare (or IN space) but they are pretty widely available in scenarios where cash fares are $5k or even $10k.

I burned most of my United miles flying to Hawaii at rates that would have horrified me in the past (70-90k JN awards each way), but it was attractive compared to cash fares and my miles were really not doing anything sitting there.

At least with my DL balance, as I said earlier, there's some zen in knowing that good deals don't exist anymore and I can redeem for any old domestic trip at 1.3cpm. Helps keep the balance low and avoid depreciation
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Last edited by findark; May 6, 2024 at 12:46 pm
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Old May 6, 2024, 12:55 pm
  #87  
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For all the transfer routes you need FFP accounts set up and either hunt solo or use an aggregator site to find award deals. Then initiate the transfer and hope it hits before the seats vanish. Do I have that correct?

As an all in UA MPer* this feels like lots more work. Too bad UA is pushing me this direction.

* and WN for random stuff
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Old May 6, 2024, 12:56 pm
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Steve M
There's the problem. A "huge hit" on credit card spend has been predicted in these parts each time there's been a program devaluation over the past 20 years, but it never seems to materialize. Despite that, the award price increases can't go to infinity - at some point, the negative affect of award price increases on spend will be greater than the increases they can get from new members. I do wonder what will happen at that point, as just walking back the last change won't be enough.
Yes, this is the main problem. I see people whip out airline cards all the time at restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Very few seem to have a clue that they could do better with transferable points, bonus categories or even 2% cash back cards.

In the old days the big complaint was that you could not find saver space. Well now that is largely solved, either with a strict CPP redemption (e.g. WN, B6) or by simply making space available at a ridiculous point price (e.g. DL). Viola - no more complaints about phantom space.

there is no incentive for improvement as long as the bank/airline industrial complex has fooled consumers...
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Old May 6, 2024, 1:02 pm
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Boraxo
Yes, this is the main problem. I see people whip out airline cards all the time at restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Very few seem to have a clue that they could do better with transferable points, bonus categories or even 2% cash back cards.

...

there is no incentive for improvement as long as the bank/airline industrial complex has fooled consumers...
It's all in the marketing spin though - using your airline branded CC was still a bad idea back in 2014. People did it despite it not being in their financial self-interest, and they keep doing it now.
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Old May 6, 2024, 1:16 pm
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Boraxo
Yes, this is the main problem. I see people whip out airline cards all the time at restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Very few seem to have a clue that they could do better with transferable points, bonus categories or even 2% cash back cards.
It depends on circumstances. For example, you have to park RDMs from flights somewhere right? If youre not spending a ton on CCs why not aggregate it with RDMs? A few thousand UR a month isnt very meaningful right?

My UA Visa actually gives 2/$1 at grocery stores. So I can do my 2.62% cash, UA miles, or 1 pt/$1 on CSR or Amex Platinum.

Up to now I have bet on the UA miles and have gotten the wins for it. But now I am earning and burning, not savingthat ended after I cashed in a free trip to Europe x 4 in 23
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