U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 04-28-2016, 01:45 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
4,848 posts, read 6,364,158 times
Reputation: 5800

Advertisements

A few days ago I was gifted 20k American Airlines lines miles. My intention was a multiple flight trip with the first leg being Phoenix to Newark on June 3 and the return leg from Scranton to Phoenix (with a Philadelphia layover). According to American Airlines the entire trip would cost 50k air miles and I was prompted to purchase the remaining 30k air miles for a staggering $885! Given that the cost for the entire trip is much cheaper when booked without air miles, I am left wondering what is the point of air miles?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-28-2016, 02:20 AM
 
402 posts, read 203,814 times
Reputation: 1053
Yes, you have to be careful with those miles. I had an awful experience with Delta, tying to get to Amsterdam last year.

There is one value to airline miles and that is if you have to make a last-minute flight. The cost of a last-minute flight can be quite high, and the airline miles can make it affordable.

But in general, I avoid rewards credit cards that give rewards in airline miles unless it's extreme. I got a Southwest Airlines credit card with 50,000 points by spending a couple thousand dollars in the first three months. Each point is worth about 2 cents, so that's around a thousand dollars' worth of flights - a good deal.

But I'm not accruing any flight points, they get more and more devalued, and now they charge money to use them, and charge fees that are also extra money. So if you can get a 1% cash back, it's worth more.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 06:05 AM
 
2,597 posts, read 5,292,786 times
Reputation: 5194
Over the years, FF miles have become much more difficult to use, with limited flight availability and in many cases higher mileage requirements.

The best use I have found is for premium-class tickets to Asia or Australia. Expect to be flexible and spend lots of time on the phone. Anything other use for the miles is just not worth the trouble.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,316 posts, read 4,162,308 times
Reputation: 18323
The best use of miles is international tickets (particularly business class or first class) and last-minute tickets. Domestic coach class tickets on flights more than a week out is the least cost-effective use of miles. You also need to be flexible on dates and routes to get the best deals with miles.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 07:02 AM
 
9,809 posts, read 5,016,856 times
Reputation: 33919
Air miles, when earned, aren't a scam. But purchasing miles to supplement what you have is ridiculously overpriced, and there's really no reason to do it, unless you're just a few thousand points away from award travel.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 07:21 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,265,341 times
Reputation: 7586
Quote:
Originally Posted by hertfordshire View Post
Air miles, when earned, aren't a scam. But purchasing miles to supplement what you have is ridiculously overpriced, and there's really no reason to do it, unless you're just a few thousand points away from award travel.
Very true.


Keep in mind that if one mile ends up being worth more than 1.7-1.8 cents, then that's not worth it and you might as well just buy the ticket.


In using miles, the most efficient use is to fly into small airports which are normally very expensive, instead of the large hubs which tend to be cheap any way. For example, I flew into Cody airport to visit Yellowstone. Totally worth it.


Also avoid using it on short hauls, because it gives less value.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,316 posts, read 4,162,308 times
Reputation: 18323
Good advice. In general, you want to get at least 2 cents per mile value out of your miles, otherwise you'd be better off with a 2% cash back credit card and just buying your tickets with cash (which is what I recommend to most people). There's a fairly steep learning curve when it comes to using miles effectively. And the airlines over the past few years have definitely been making the mileage game tougher to win!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 08:29 AM
 
6,387 posts, read 5,431,551 times
Reputation: 11015
Remember, they are called Frequent Flyer miles. They are meant to reward loyal, frequent customers (and that loyalty extends not just to fliers but people who use an airline branded card and stay in partnered hotels).

Expecting to be able to take any flight you want because you were gifted a fairly small (in the scheme of things) number of miles isn't realistic. They aren't a cash equivalent, you do need to be flexible.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,316 posts, read 4,162,308 times
Reputation: 18323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabridgienne View Post
Expecting to be able to take any flight you want because you were gifted a fairly small (in the scheme of things) number of miles isn't realistic. They aren't a cash equivalent, you do need to be flexible.
This! On American Airlines, a domestic coach MileSAAver award (their least expensive award) costs $25K. So if the OP was quoted a price of 50K miles, that means either he wasn't flying in coach, or (more likely) the award was an AAnytime award, which is double to triple the price of a regular award. And the reason he'd end up with that is obvious when you read his posts and are familiar with mileage programs: the outbound flight had to be on a specific date and was to a city where American has a limited presence (Newark is a United hub), and he wanted a specific routing (through Philadelphia) on the return leg.

The more particular you are about flight dates and routings, the less likely you'll find an inexpensive award ticket. That's how the game works.

(I flew a frequent flyer ticket once that gave me the Grand Tour of Florida Airports. The direct route would have been Santiago Chile to Dallas Fort Worth to Omaha. Instead I flew Santiago to Miami, Miami to Tampa, Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale, and then Ft. Lauderdale to Omaha. It took all day - but it was on a Sunday, I had the time to spare, and it saved me $5,000 in cash. So I booked the ticket and enjoyed the airport tour.)

Last edited by Aredhel; 04-28-2016 at 09:08 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-28-2016, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
12,304 posts, read 10,771,871 times
Reputation: 20540
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabridgienne View Post
Remember, they are called Frequent Flyer miles. They are meant to reward loyal, frequent customers (and that loyalty extends not just to fliers but people who use an airline branded card and stay in partnered hotels).

Expecting to be able to take any flight you want because you were gifted a fairly small (in the scheme of things) number of miles isn't realistic. They aren't a cash equivalent, you do need to be flexible.
What she/he said! They're a reward for frequent customers. They don't hand out free flights for everybody to anywhere. That's not how airlines make money and they are in business to make money. They're not a charity.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top