Flight-by-Flight Intel

We collect anecdotal information about award flights, organized by destination pairings and frequent flyer program. The information we're interested in is:
  • What are the fees and surcharges that travelers needed to pay in order to book their award flight?
  • How was the availability of a given route(s) when it came to booking the award flight?
  • Are there tricks that program members used in order to optimize their redemption?
  • Which specific flights were used for the award ticket? Are some flights better than others?
  • How does this award ticket compare to other programs and how does it compare to a ticket bought with cash?
  • Are there specific sweet spots in the award tables that one should try to take advantage of?
  • Are there exceptions to the award tables where our calculations are not accurate?
  • What was your overall experience with a particular award ticket?
  • Was it worth cashing your miles in for a given flight?

Let us know if you have intel you would like to share; we're happy to link to your trip reports too! You can on the "comment" button for any of the miles calculations. Or you can just email us through the contact page. We're happy to link to your sources as well.

 

 

Boston (BOS) to Copenhagen (CPH) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

27 April, 2017

Aeroplan members can redeem the direct flight on SAS between Boston and Copenhagen very inexpensively (CAD 45 one way). However, this particular route is served by an older Boeing 737 and does not actually have a business class cabin. So it is probably best to save your miles and book only economy. Most other destinations SAS flies to in North America (ARN-ORD or EWR-OSL) are served by the newer Airbus 330-300, which does have a business class cabin (and the fees are still low).
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
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Oslo (OSL) to Newark (EWR) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

27 April, 2017

Aeroplan members can redeem the direct flight on SAS between Norway and New York very inexpensively (around CAD 50 one way). Availability seems to be pretty good as well, sometimes on short notice. The direct SAS flight uses the new Airbus 330-300.
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
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Toronto (YYZ) to Duesseldorf (DUS) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

9 April, 2017

A good option to get to Europe for Aeroplan members is to use SAS flights across the Atlantic. SAS does not fly to Canada but it does to Boston, Chicago and New York (EWR). The fees and surcharges on SAS are very low. The one way itinerary from Toronto to Dusseldorf with connections in Boston and Copenhagen is CAD 127 (business or economy).

United and Swiss are also very good options in terms of surcharges, whereas transatlantic flights on Air Canada, Austrian and Lufthansa have high surcharges.
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
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Chicago (ORD) to Copenhagen (CPH) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

9 April, 2017

The one-way award ticket from Chicago (ORD) to Copenhagen (CPH) on the direct SAS flight is only CAD 7.50!! This flight should be considered when trying to get to Europe with minimal surcharges and taxes.
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
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Moscow (DME) to Singapore (SIN) with Miles from Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

5 April, 2017

Read a trip report on a business class (cancelled first class) award on this Singapore Airlines route. All in all not a very pleasant experience for the reviewer.

http://www.mightytravels.com/2017/04/singapore-airlines-business-class-review-moscow-dme-to-singapore-sin-sq361-a350/
Roundtrip in Economy Saver76,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy Saver125,000
Roundtrip in Economy Standard140,000
Roundtrip in Business Saver170,000
Roundtrip in Suites / First Saver230,000
Roundtrip in Business Standard240,000
Roundtrip in Suites / First Standard420,000
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Toronto (YYZ) to Las Vegas (LAS) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

24 March, 2017

The direct Air Canada Rouge flights between Toronto and Las Vegas can be booked with Miles & More miles. The surcharges from Toronto to Vegas are USD 86, and from Las Vegas to Toronto USD 43.
Roundtrip in Economy30,000
Roundtrip in Business55,000
Roundtrip in First Class75,000
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Kingston (YGK) to Toronto (YYZ) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

9 March, 2017

Air Canada has several daily flights between Kingston (Ontario) and Toronto. The one-way redemption is worth 7,500 miles for a one-way in economy class (short-haul). The fees for the one-way redemption are CAD 55. Purchasing the same flight with cash only will be about CAD 240. Taking the 2.5-hour train journey with VIA Rail from Kingston to Union Station in Toronto costs about CAD 100. 
Roundtrip in Economy15,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy20,000
Roundtrip in Business30,000
Roundtrip in First Class70,000
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Perth (PER) to Osaka (KIX) with Miles from JetStar Classic Flight Rewards [QFF]

27 January, 2017

Here is a trip report from pointshacks.com.au on the journey from Perth to Osaka in business class. The connection was in Cairns (CNS) and the overall fees were AUD 280 for the round trip. According to the reviewer, not fantastic value!

Here is the full trip report: http://www.pointhacks.com.au/reviews/jetstar-787-business-class-cairns-osaka-review/
Roundtrip in Economy (rate calculated via CNS)57,600
Roundtrip in Business (rate calculated via CNS)115,200
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Tokyo (NRT) to Perth (PER) with Miles from Qantas Partners Classic Awards [QFF]

27 January, 2017

Qantas Partners Classic Awards includes flights with Cathay Pacific Airlines. Read the trip report below on how to use Qantas points for Cathay business class flights from Tokyo to Perth with a "maximized transit" in Hong Kong. Overall fees for the one way journey from Tokyo to Perth were approximately USD 100.

http://www.pointhacks.com.au/reviews/cathay-pacific-business-class-tokyo-perth/
Roundtrip in Economy (rate calculated via HKG)84,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy (rate calculated via HKG)126,000
Roundtrip in Business (rate calculated via HKG)156,000
Roundtrip in First Class (rate calculated via HKG)228,000
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Dublin (DUB) to Boston (BOS) with Avios from Aer Lingus AerClub

25 January, 2017

The distance between Dublin and Boston is only 2,985 miles and the cutoff in the distance based award chart is at 3,000 miles, so theoretically the DUB-BOS award ticket should cost fewer avios. However, this particular route is an exception to the normal charts and the avios price is calculated with the next higher rate.

The same applies to the Shannon - Boston redemption.
Roundtrip in Economy Off-Peak26,000
Roundtrip in Economy Peak40,000
Roundtrip in Business Off-Peak100,000
Roundtrip in Business Peak120,000
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We are tracking the following 79 frequent flyer programs:
AAdvantage [AA only] Aer Lingus AerClub Aeroflot Bonus / SkyTeam Aerolíneas Argentinas Plus Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance Air Algérie Plus Air Caraïbes Préférence Air Mauritius Kestrelflyer Air Tahiti Nui Club Tiare Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Alfursan (Saudia) Amigo (Avianca Brasil) / Star Alliance ANA Mileage Club Arik Wings Plus Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) Asiana Club BalticMiles (AirBaltic) British Airways Executive Club / oneworld Caribbean Airlines Loyalty Clubs Club Premier (AeroMexico) Delta SkyMiles / SkyTeam Dynasty Flyer (China Airlines) / SkyTeam Eastern Miles [dom] (China Eastern) Egyptair Plus / Star Alliance Emirates Skywards Etihad Guest EuroBonus (SAS) Eurowings Boomerang Club EVA Air Infinity MileageLands Finnair Plus Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam Flying Returns [int'l] (Air India) FlySmiles (SriLankan Airlines) GarudaMiles Gol Smiles (GOL, Varig) Gulf Air Falconflyer Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club [dom] Hawaiian Miles Iberia Plus Icelandair Saga Club JAL Mileage Bank [int'l] Jet Airways JetPrivilege [dom] JetStar Classic Flight Rewards [QFF] King Club (Kingfisher Airlines) Korean Air Skypass Kuwait Airways Oasis Club LANPass LifeMiles (Avianca, TACA) / Star Alliance Mabuhay Miles (Philippine Airlines) Malaysia Airlines Enrich / oneworld MEA Cedar Miles Miles & Bonus (Aegean) / Star Alliance Miles & More (Lufthansa)  / Star Alliance Miles & Smiles (Turkish Airlines) MilleMiglia (Alitalia) / SkyTeam OK Plus (Czech Airlines) / SkyTeam Oman Air Sindbad Miles PhoenixMiles [dom] (Air China) Privilege Club (Qatar Airways) Qantas Classic Awards [QFF] Royal Brunei Royal Skies Royal Orchid Plus (Thai Airways) S7 Priority SAA Voyager / Star Alliance Safar Flyer (Royal Air Maroc) ShebaMiles (Ethiopian) Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Sky Pearl Club [dom] (China Southern) TAM Fidelidade / oneworld TAP Victoria topbonus (airberlin, NIKI) Tunisair Fidelys UIA Panorama Club United Mileage Plus / Star Alliance Velocity Frequent Flyer (Virgin Australia) / Redemption Table 1 Vietnam Airlines Golden Lotus Plus VIPorter Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Xiamen Airlines Egret Club [domestic]