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! 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.



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" iHong Kong. Overall fees for the one way journey from Tokyo to Perth were approximately USD 100.

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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Ottawa (YOW) to Varadero (VRA) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

18 January, 2017

Aeroplan miles can be used to book flights to Cuba. Air Canada has a direct flight from Ottawa to Varadero. The round-trip fees for the direct flight are approximately CAD 127
Roundtrip in Economy40,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy50,000
Roundtrip in Business60,000
Roundtrip in First Class85,000
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Montreal (YUL) to San Diego (SAN) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

17 January, 2017

The fees and surcharges to get from Montreal to San Diego vary depending on the carrier chosen. Flights will be either with Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge or with United Airlines. One-way fees with Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge flights are between CAD 130 and CAD 163. If the entire YUL to SAN itinerary can be flown on UA then the one-way fees to San Diego drop to CAD 70. Even better on the flight from San Diego, where an all-UA itinerary can be as little as CAD 7.30 in fees!

Flying from Burlington (BTV) may be an interesting option for Montrealers as a round-trip can be redeemed for as little as CAD 14.60 total fees.
Roundtrip in Economy25,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy40,000
Roundtrip in Business50,000
Roundtrip in First Class70,000
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Burlington (BTV) to San Diego (SAN) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

17 January, 2017

Flying from Burlington (BTV) may be an interesting option (instead of flying from Montreal) as a round-trip can be redeemed for as little as CAD 14.60 total fees.

Booking flights from Montreal (which may include Air Canada flights) may incur surcharges and fees of approximately CAD 200 for the round trip!
Roundtrip in Economy25,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy40,000
Roundtrip in Business50,000
Roundtrip in First Class70,000
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Sydney (SYD) to Auckland (AKL) with Miles from Qantas Classic Awards [QFF]

17 January, 2017

According to pointshack.com.au this redemption is not a great use of your points, mainly because it is difficult to find business class seats through the Qantas engine.

Full report here: http://www.pointhacks.com.au/reviews/latam-787-dreamliner-auckland-sydney/
Roundtrip in Economy36,000
Roundtrip in Business72,000
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New York (LGA) to Indianapolis (IND) with Avios from British Airways Executive Club / oneworld

13 January, 2017

Make sure you book the direct flight between La Guardia and Indianapolis in order to redeem the flight for the lowest award fee. If you book with a connection (for example in CLT) you will get charged for two individual flight segments.

Fees in either case stay the same, i.e USD 5.60.
Roundtrip in Economy Off-Peak13,000
Roundtrip in Economy Peak15,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy Off-Peak19,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy Peak22,500
Roundtrip in Business Off-Peak25,500
Roundtrip in Business Peak30,000
Roundtrip in First Class Off-Peak51,000
Roundtrip in First Class Peak60,000
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Zurich (ZRH) to Hamburg (HAM) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

12 January, 2017

There is a direct Germanwings flight from Zurich to Hamburg that can be booked with Miles & More miles. The surcharges for a one-way segment are approx CHF 40-50. This is a reasonable fee for a Miles & More redemption but the the actual cash cost of Germanwings  is also quite low, starting at about CHF 70.
Zurich seems to be considered domestic for this miles calculation on the Germanwings website, the one-way miles fare shows as 12,500 miles.
Roundtrip in Economy30,000
Roundtrip in Business45,000
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Edmonton (YEG) to Paris (CDG) with Miles from Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan [Icelandair Partnership]

12 January, 2017

Alaska Airline Mileage Plan members can use the Icelandair partnership to get to Europe from a number of cities in North America. The round-trip fees between Edmonton and Paris, however, are relatively high at USD 370.

Source: http://milesopedia.com/programmes-aeriens/alaska-mileage-plan-programme-favori-chasseurs-de-miles-2017 [in French]
Roundtrip in Economy (Low Season)55,000
Roundtrip in Economy (Medium Season)70,000
Roundtrip in Economy (High Season)90,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
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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]