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 Zurich (ZRH) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

7 December, 2017

Various option to get to Switzerland from Boston with Star Alliance, the direct Swiss flight easily topping the list, at only CAD 7 in fees. Avoid the redeeming with Lufthansa through Munich (MUC) if you want to avoid the very high fees (CAD 677 for the one-way to Zurich). Using Turkish Airlines with a connection in Istanbul is quite inexpensive at CAD 15.


Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
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Auckland (AKL) to Tokyo (NRT) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

7 December, 2017

The two most attractive and available options to travel on a Star Alliance award ticket from Auckland (AKL) to Tokyo (NRT) with Aeroplan miles are:
  • An all Royal Thai (TG) itinerary with a connection in Bangkok (BKK), fees for this are CAD 31 one way.
  • A Singapore Airlines (SQ) and ANA (NH) route connecting in Singapore (SIN) for CAD 60 one-way.


Roundtrip in Economy70,000
Roundtrip in Business135,000
Roundtrip in First Class190,000
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Philadelphia (PHL) to Minsk (MSQ) with Miles from SAA Voyager / Star Alliance

29 November, 2017

The SAA customer center quotes USD 1,084 for a flight on Lufthansa business class between Philadelphia and Minsk in addition to the miles for the award ticket.
Roundtrip in Economy70,000
Roundtrip in Business108,000
Roundtrip in First Class152,000
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Moscow (SVO) to Salt Lake City (SLC) with Miles from Delta SkyMiles / SkyTeam

28 November, 2017

The SkyTeam carriers between Moscow and Salt Lake City are Aeroflot and Delta Air Lines with a connection in LAX.

Read the report on traveling to the FIFA World Cup in Russia with miles here:
https://www.frugaltravelguy.com/2017/11/how-i-booked-a-trip-to-fifa-world-cup-with-points-and-miles.html
Roundtrip in Economy Level 160,000
Roundtrip in Economy Level 275,000
Roundtrip in Economy Level 395,000
Roundtrip in Economy Level 4110,000
Roundtrip in Business Level 1125,000
Roundtrip in Economy Level 5130,000
Roundtrip in Business Level 2160,000
Roundtrip in Business Level 3195,000
Roundtrip in Business Level 4250,000
Roundtrip in Business Level 5295,000
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Salt Lake City (SLC) to Krakow (KRK) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

28 November, 2017

Even though Salt Lake City (SLC) is a Delta Air Lines hub, it made more sense for these frequent flyers to use FlyingBlue miles to get to Krakow (with one stop in Amsterdam) -- ie. only 25,000 miles instead of 30,000 miles with the Delta program for the one-way journey.

Read the report on traveling to the FIFA World Cup in Russia with miles here:
https://www.frugaltravelguy.com/2017/11/how-i-booked-a-trip-to-fifa-world-cup-with-points-and-miles.html
Roundtrip in Economy43,000
Roundtrip in Business106,000
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Warsaw (WAW) to Sochi (AER) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

28 November, 2017

FlyingBlue Classic Awards can be used one-way and are a great value (14,500 miles) for the itinerary from Warsaw (WAW) to Sochi (AER), using Aeroflot (w/ stop in Moscow).

Read the report on traveling to the FIFA World Cup in Russia with miles here:
https://www.frugaltravelguy.com/2017/11/how-i-booked-a-trip-to-fifa-world-cup-with-points-and-miles.html
  Share Your Knowledge

Toronto (YYZ) to Panama City (PTY) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

24 November, 2017

Both Air Canada Rouge and Copa Airlines offer direct flights between Toronto (YYZ) and Panama City (PTY). The fees between the two carriers vary greatly, however. The round trip with Copa incurs total fees of CAD 124 (CAD 56 for YYZ-PTY and CAD 68 for PTY-YYZ), whereas the fees on AC Rouge total CAD 344  (CAD 151 for YYZ-PTY and CAD 193 for PTY-YYZ).

The itinerary between Toronto and Panama can also be completed through a multitude of connecting points in Canada, the USA and the Caribbean. Surcharges vary based on the carrier.
Roundtrip in Economy40,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy50,000
Roundtrip in Business60,000
Roundtrip in First Class85,000
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Vancouver (YVR) to Sydney (SYD) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

9 November, 2017

There are various flight options to redeem the Vancouver to Sydney itinerary with Aeroplan miles. The round trip on the direct flight with Air Canada incurs CAD 536 in surcharges (but the leg from SYD to YVR is only CAD 104). An all United itinerary (e.g. through LAX or SFO) has total surcharges of CAD 222 (both legs have approximately the same surcharges). And an all Air China itinerary through Beijing (PEK) or Shanghai (PVG) incurs fees of CAD 200.
Roundtrip in Economy90,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy135,000
Roundtrip in Business160,000
Roundtrip in First Class220,000
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Phoenix (PHX) to London (LHR) with Miles from AAdvantage [oneworld / Partners]

2 November, 2017

Careful when booking your AAdvantage award tickets between Phoenix and London! Depending on the carrier you are booking, the fees could be as high as USD 520 for the round-trip.

Read the story of an Arizona family:
http://www.azfamily.com/story/36752005/free-airline-award-flights-can-be-pricey
Roundtrip in Main Cabin Off-Peak45,000
Roundtrip in Main Cabin60,000
Roundtrip in Business / First115,000
Roundtrip in First Class170,000
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New York (JFK) to Istanbul (IST) with Miles from Miles & Smiles (Turkish Airlines) / Star Alliance

28 August, 2017

An award ticket in business class between New York and Istanbul in the "capacity controlled" level for Star Alliance carriers would be a great alternative to a redemption for the same with United Mileage Plus points (where you'd spend an extra 50,000 miles). 
However, you may need some flexibility with your travel dates:
Roundtrip in Economy (Limited Capacity)60,000
Roundtrip in Comfort (Limited Capacity)75,000
Roundtrip in Economy (Seat Guaranteed)90,000
Roundtrip in Business (Limited Capacity)90,000
Roundtrip in First Class (Limited Capacity)135,000
Roundtrip in Comfort (Seat Guaranteed)150,000
Roundtrip in Business (Seat Guaranteed)210,000
  Share Your Knowledge

 

 

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We are tracking the following 78 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 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 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 LATAM Fidelidade Multiplus / oneworld LATAM Pass LifeMiles (Avianca, TACA) / Star Alliance Mabuhay Miles (Philippine Airlines) Malaysia Airlines Enrich / oneworld MEA Cedar Miles Meridiana Club 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) 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]