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.

 

 

London (LHR) to Bogota (BOG) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

21 October, 2014

Star Alliance partner Avianca has direct flights from South America to Europe: from Bogota to London, Madrid and Barcelona. These flights do not incur fuel surcharges for Miles & More members; the overall fees for a one-way economy class flight are EUR 65.

Source: Miles & More Tutorial Teil 1 – Top 16 Miles & More Prämienflüge
Roundtrip in Economy80,000
Roundtrip in Business135,000
Roundtrip in First Class210,000
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Washington (IAD) to San Salvador (SAL) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

21 October, 2014

Star Alliance partner TACA, with its hub in El Salvador, has direct flights from North America. These flights do not incur fuel surcharges for Miles & More members; the overall fees for a round-trip in economy or business class flight are EUR 42.

Source: Miles & More Tutorial Teil 1 – Top 16 Miles & More Prämienflüge
Roundtrip in Economy35,000
Roundtrip in Business60,000
Roundtrip in First Class85,000
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Frankfurt (FRA) to Singapore (SIN) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

21 October, 2014

Lufthansa has a direct flight between Singapore and Frankfurt, but the overall fees for this flight are comparatively high. However, if you have a enough miles to travel first class this is still a very attractive award. The quality of the Lufthansa first class cabin warrants the EUR 560 fee charged for a round-trip ticket. Furthermore, Miles & More members get access to these seats before they are released to all the other Star Alliance programs, so that availability is generally pretty good.

Source: Miles & More Tutorial Teil 1 – Top 16 Miles & More Prämienflüge
Roundtrip in Economy80,000
Roundtrip in Business135,000
Roundtrip in First Class210,000
  Share Your Knowledge

Zurich (ZRH) to Tokyo (NRT) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

21 October, 2014

Swiss has a direct flight between Zurich and Tokyo, but the overall fees for this flight are comparatively high. However, if you have a enough miles to travel first class this is still a very attractive award. The quality of the Swiss first class cabin warrants the EUR 565 fee charged for a round-trip ticket. Furthermore, Miles & More members get access to these seats before they are released to all the other Star Alliance programs, so that availability is generally pretty good.

Source: Miles & More Tutorial Teil 1 – Top 16 Miles & More Prämienflüge
Roundtrip in Economy80,000
Roundtrip in Business135,000
Roundtrip in First Class210,000
  Share Your Knowledge

New York (JFK) to London (LHR) with Miles from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

20 October, 2014

A round-trip, coach class award ticket from New York to London on Virgin Atlantic can be redeemed for 35,000 miles plus USD 500 in surcharges.
Roundtrip in Economy35,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy55,000
Roundtrip in Upper Class80,000
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Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR) with Miles from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

20 October, 2014

The fees and surcharges for a round-trip premium economy award ticket between LAX and LHR are USD 810 in addition to the miles required for this flight.
Roundtrip in Economy42,500
Roundtrip in Premium Economy70,000
Roundtrip in Upper Class100,000
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San Francisco (SFO) to London (LHR) with Miles from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

20 October, 2014

The fees and surcharges for an upper class award ticket between San Francisco and London Heathrow are USD 1,300.
Roundtrip in Economy42,500
Roundtrip in Premium Economy70,000
Roundtrip in Upper Class100,000
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Vancouver (YVR) to Taipei (TPE) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

29 September, 2014

Avoid high fuel surcharges by flying with EVA Air. EVA Air has a direct flight between Vancouver (YVR) and Taipei (TPE) with total surcharges of approximately CAD 60. The same route on Air Canada flights (connection is necessary) will cost almost CAD 400 in surcharges.
Roundtrip in Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy125,000
Roundtrip in Business150,000
Roundtrip in First Class210,000
  Share Your Knowledge

Copenhagen (CPH) to Toronto (YYZ) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

24 September, 2014

The direct Air Canada flight to Toronto incurs overall one-way charges of CAD 230. Using LOT through Warsaw incurs fees of about CAD 130 per leg. Crossing the Atlantic on SAS is the cheapest option, this is possible through Chicago; the fees for this are about CAD 60 per leg. Connecting in Brussels with Brussels Airlines is also advantageous at about CAD 70 per leg.

Starting a journey to Toronto from Denmark is a good strategy to reduce fuel surcharges on Lufthansa flights. If you connect through Frankfurt to get to Toronto, fuel surcharges drop by about CAD 150 to about CAD 200 (per leg).
Read about this strategy here.
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
  Share Your Knowledge

Charlotte (CLT) to Frankfurt (FRA) with Miles from US Airways Dividend Miles

23 September, 2014

The fees for the Charlotte to Frankfurt redemption are USD 185 for the round-trip (includes a USD 50 award booking fee).
  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]