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.

 

 

Toronto (YYZ) to St. John's (YYT) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

22 September, 2014

Fuel surcharges and fees for the direct Air Canada flight between Toronto Pearson (YYZ) and St.John's (YYT) are CAD173.
Roundtrip in Economy25,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy40,000
Roundtrip in Business50,000
Roundtrip in First Class70,000
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Agana (GUM) to Sydney (SYD) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

22 September, 2014

Even though Guam (GUM) and Sydney (SYD) are grouped in the same Oceania zone in the Miles & More program, redemption flights can actually not be redeemed within the same zone because there is no direct Star Alliance flight between GUM and SYD. When connecting via another zone, additional mileage fees will be charged.
Roundtrip in Economy30,000
Roundtrip in Business55,000
Roundtrip in First Class75,000
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Sydney (SYD) to Saipan (SPN) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

22 September, 2014

Even though Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands (SPN) and Sydney (SYD) are grouped in the same Oceania zone in the Miles & More program, redemption flights can actually not be redeemed within the same zone because there is no direct Star Alliance flight between SPN and SYD. When connecting via another zone, additional mileage fees will be charged.
Roundtrip in Economy30,000
Roundtrip in Business55,000
Roundtrip in First Class75,000
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Taipei (TPE) to Washington (IAD) with Miles from United Mileage Plus / Star Alliance

28 August, 2014

This route may be redeemed by applying United Mileage Plus' lower "saver" rates (not the Star Alliance rates) even though TPE is not a United destination (but there is a regional partner airline -- EVA in this case -- that serves TPE). As long as the major long-haul flight is on UA and the regional flight is in a lesser cabin on a partner airline. So the return trip between IAD and TPE may be redeemed for 160,000 in first class.
Roundtrip in Economy70,000
Roundtrip in Business160,000
Roundtrip in First Class240,000
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Zurich (ZRH) to Prague (PRG) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

18 August, 2014

30,000 miles for the short distance from Zurich to Prague is not a great miles deal. However, direct Swiss (LX) flights are available between the two destinations so that the surcharges are relatively low (approx. CAD 70).
Roundtrip in Economy30,000
Roundtrip in Business60,000
Roundtrip in First Class75,000
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Zurich (ZRH) to Toronto (YYZ) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

18 August, 2014

Flights on US Airways are no longer available in Star Alliance, so that the option through PHL is not available anymore. However, it is now possible to book this destination one way which allows better optimization of the redemption miles. For example you can book one leg in business and one leg in economy and thus only pay 75,000 for the return trip.
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 Sydney (SYD) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

11 August, 2014

According to flightfox.com traveling from Toronto to Sydney compares favourably to their internal Aeroplan benchmark, which is 1.4 cents per mile. Typically this flight will sell for about CAD 1,700, so a 90K redemption (plus CAD 227 in fees) is a good deal.
And a much better deal is if you can get redemption tickets in business class for 135 K plus CAD 239 in fees. This flight will typically cost approx. CAD 6,300 in cash.
Roundtrip in Economy90,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy135,000
Roundtrip in Business160,000
Roundtrip in First Class220,000
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Zanzibar (ZNZ) to Nairobi (NBO) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

2 July, 2014

The airfrance.us website online booking engine shows an award fee of 15,000 miles in economy for this route and fees of USD 200. This is for the short-haul flight with SkyTeam partner Kenya Airways (KQ).
Roundtrip in Economy14,000
Roundtrip in Business27,000
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Marrakech (RAK) to Casablanca (CMN) with Miles from Safar Flyer (Royal Air Maroc)

2 July, 2014

The one-way rate for this route is 5,500 miles in economy and 10,000 in business class.
Roundtrip in Economy10,000
Roundtrip in Business15,000
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Toronto (YYZ) to Sao Paulo (GRU) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

1 July, 2014

Using Aeroplan miles to fly to Brazil from Canada from a miles value point of view is a great option for a couple of reasons :
  • Flights departing from Brazil cannot charge surcharges, so that even the direct Sao Paulo - Toronto flight with Air Canada does not have fuel surcharges added to the award ticket fees.
  • For the flight to Brazil from Canada there are a number of options with United Airlines (through Washington, Chicago, Houston, Newark), which also avoid fuel surcharges.
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy80,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
  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]