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-   -   What are ff miles worth in cents/mile? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-mileage-plus-pre-merger/1132613-what-ff-miles-worth-cents-mile.html)

freddie2 Oct 2, 10 12:21 pm

What are ff miles worth in cents/mile?
 
I used to use United ff miles only to upgrade from coach M or H fare to Business seating ORD-BKK and valued my miles at about 4-5 cents/mile. Now that the program requires money too to upgrade and the amount of miles has been lowered, what are miles worth in cents/mile. What do people think and how do they figure this?

SeattleFlyerGuy Oct 3, 10 9:05 am


Originally Posted by freddie2 (Post 14874367)
What do people think and how do they figure this?

Miles are worth the replacement cost divided by the number of miles, which varies depending on redemption. I value mine at $0.01 as a conservative estimate, but I also usually redeem for coach tickets.

Illustration: ARN-DXB: $588 for a ticket or $50 + 35,000 miles = 1.54cpm, if there is award availability.

cordelli Oct 3, 10 9:47 am

I don't think there's any fits all value for miles. I think it depends on what you are using them for would cost without them.

If for example I use miles for what would be a $300 ticket that's half the value if I used them for a $600 ticket.

lhrsfo Oct 3, 10 10:06 am

I use mine for *A business class rewards, so I get a very high c per mile figure if I do the straight comparison. However, I would never buy such tickets myself - I'd buy the cheapest Y tickets, so the alternative calculation would be the $ cost of the economy ticket divided by the number of miles used - a massively lower c per mile figure. But then I get great pleasure out of the C ticket whereas I would get great pain out of the Y ticket. So the true number is somewhere between the two, but I haven't the faintest where.

mahasamatman Oct 3, 10 10:23 am

Valuation is very much an individual matter. No two people value miles the same way. The only fact that I always push is that "value != cost". A ticket that costs $5,000 is not (necessarily) worth $5,000, so you have to determine the actual value of any given ticket to you before you can even think about some sort of valuation per mile.

WIRunner Oct 3, 10 10:51 am

Well it depends how you're using the miles.
If you're trying to accumulate them hopefully they'll be cheap.
If you're trying to redeem them hopefully they'll be worth a lot.
That all being said, if you need to get somewhere right now for free, a cheapo ticket paid with miles may be worth spending a whole bunch on.

karung99 Oct 3, 10 11:08 am

I value my UA miles might be different than others, I collect them and give them to in-law on C she is happy and Karung99+1 is happy and I am happy too, so the value is what we put on ourself.

MojaveFlyer Oct 3, 10 11:10 am

I usually redeem for Y tix for family members on vacation trips, typically domestic. As such I also use a floor of about 1 c/mi. As I'm paying 50K miles (the "saver" awards were a cruel hoax inflicted upon us last time they downgraded the value of mile for domestic Y seats) $500 is an approximate break point - if I'd pay more than that, I'll cash in miles.

That being said, when I have a lot of banked miles, I may use them on tix that are a bit cheaper.

Although I don't think banking is a good idea, I do like to keep enough around for emergency trips when I may need to pay a lot more $$ for the ticket that still costs 50K miles.

jan_az Oct 3, 10 12:37 pm


Originally Posted by MojaveFlyer (Post 14878542)
I usually redeem for Y tix for family members on vacation trips, typically domestic. As such I also use a floor of about 1 c/mi. As I'm paying 50K miles (the "saver" awards were a cruel hoax inflicted upon us last time they downgraded the value of mile for domestic Y seats) $500 is an approximate break point - if I'd pay more than that, I'll cash in miles.

That being said, when I have a lot of banked miles, I may use them on tix that are a bit cheaper.

Although I don't think banking is a good idea, I do like to keep enough around for emergency trips when I may need to pay a lot more $$ for the ticket that still costs 50K miles.

I successfully get domestic saver tickets within a day or two of when I want to fly the "kids" most of the time, as long as it is not a holiday. Just today I cashed in 15K plus $120 for a $480 ticket next week - was worth it to me.

For myself I redeem for International J or F and I wouldnt pay the dollars it cost so they are "priceless" <g>

YMMV

Roger Lococco Oct 3, 10 12:57 pm

I think the right answer as a default is $.01 per mile. That's certainly the direct conversion rate using Choices.

astroflyer Oct 3, 10 2:23 pm

Yeah, it clearly depends what you do with them, and this is a case where opportunity cost plays a big role. I mean you can clearly get more cents per mile redeeming them for a C ticket to Europe, but you can get 2 European flights in Y for the same price. Clearly you get much higher cents per mile if you get the C tickets since they're usually quite a bit more than double the Y tickets.

That being said, for redeeming Y tickets on *A rewards I've done pretty well, 2-3 cpm versus what it would have cost to buy the tickets outright. I'm happy with that.

My best use though, has been upgrading government fares (which book in Y) to Europe. For 10K miles each way, I can get a seat that costs probably $2-3,000 more. Now we're in the tens of cents per miles range. :)

SuperD! Oct 4, 10 11:24 am


Originally Posted by cordelli (Post 14878157)
I don't think there's any fits all value for miles. I think it depends on what you are using them for would cost without them.

If for example I use miles for what would be a $300 ticket that's half the value if I used them for a $600 ticket.


I agree with this - depends on the situation.
I have used 15,000 miles on $350 ticket, and
I have used 55,000 miles on a $850 ticket.

No one rule of thumb is really viable.
My general rule of thumb is $0.015/mile

I don't consider upgrade usage applicable, since you can find System-Wide upgrade for $200 or less sometimes, but of course you have to have a higher fare ticket.

karung99 Oct 4, 10 11:38 am


Originally Posted by SuperD! (Post 14884164)
I agree with this - depends on the situation.
I have used 15,000 miles on $350 ticket, and
I have used 55,000 miles on a $850 ticket.
.

This is a very good way of using miles

jonslow Oct 4, 10 6:29 pm

The highest value of ff miles is for business or first class travel, but this is only true with qualifications. Yes, if you get a reservation you want on a SuperSaver Award and if you don't miss your flight or need to make any last minute changes, you can at the end feel happy that you got travel that would otherwise have cost you a dollar amount that equates to several cents per mile. On the other hand, when you fly on an award ticket, you've got to figure that if you miss your return flight, or if you need to come back early or late, you are probably going to have to buy your return ticket at a high price with cash or with more miles (no longer SuperSaver) if you even have that option. Plus, you don't get EQM which may or may not matter.
Even your city of residence enters into how valuable ff miles are. Let's say you live in SFO and want to fly to Munich in business class on LH. You can sometimes get a Z fare for that one hop flight for about $2K RT. But let's say you live in Las Vegas. LH doesn't offer that same deal from Vegas. It doesn't even offer the same deal for a couple of hundred bucks more. Sure, for a couple hundred extra you could add on your own LAS-SFO plus SFO-LAS on another airline, but if you misconnect that's your problem to solve at your own expense.
This is why putting a value on ff miles is such an individual process.

jonslow Oct 4, 10 10:08 pm

They can't be worth more than they are selling for
 
Here's one way to put an upper limit on the value of ff miles. Go to www.usair.com, then Dividend Miles, then buy miles, and you will see that you can buy USAir's ff miles right now on half-price sale for 1.385 cents per mile. Compare USAir's *A award chart with United's. On paper, at least, USAir's *A award chart shows fewer miles in many cases than United's *A award chart. Whether or not USAir's ff miles will get you where you want to go as easily as United's probably depends on the route and date. I have used United ff miles for business class TATL travel on USAir and USAir ff miles (bought at a penny a mile on sale) for business class TATL travel on LH. Currently UA is selling its ff miles for 3.295 cents per mile. But if you can get an LH TATL flight using either US or UA miles and you can buy US miles right now for 1.385 cents per mile and you want an LH TATL flight, it is hard to argue that UA ff miles are worth more than 1.385 cents.


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