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.

 

 

Zagreb (ZAG) to Split (SPU) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

30 October, 2013

Travel with Croatia Airlines, no surcharges!
Roundtrip in Economy15,000
Roundtrip in Business25,000
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Zurich (ZRH) to Barcelona (BCN) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

1 August, 2013

20,000 miles for an economy class round trip is a good redemption for this pair of destinations. Award seats on a direct Swiss (LX) flight from ZRH and BCN were available on short notice (3 days advance booking). Total fees were CAD 70 per flight.
Roundtrip in Economy25,000
Roundtrip in Business45,000
Roundtrip in First Class60,000
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Chicago (ORD) to Philipsburg (SXM) with Miles from United Mileage Plus / Star Alliance

30 July, 2013

Here's a strategy from travelisfree.com to lump two Caribbean destinations into your round-trip award ticket. The redemption is from Chicago to St. Maarten (SXM) but there is a stop-over in Grand Cayman (GCM). Overall fees were USD 156.

Source: http://travelisfree.com/2013/07/30/how-to-book-the-caribbean-hopper-with-united-miles/
Roundtrip in Economy35,000
Roundtrip in Business60,000
Roundtrip in First Class80,000
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Chicago (ORD) to San Juan (SJU) with Miles from United Mileage Plus

30 July, 2013

Here's a strategy from travelisfree.com to add another Caribbean destination to your round-trip award ticket between Chicago and Puerto Rico. The author added Nassau at no extra cost by routing his United flights through the Bahamas. Fees on this itinerary were USD 100.

Source: http://travelisfree.com/2013/07/30/how-to-book-the-caribbean-hopper-with-united-miles/
Roundtrip in Economy Saver35,000
Roundtrip in Business Saver60,000
Roundtrip in First Class Saver80,000
Roundtrip in Economy Everyday80,000
Roundtrip in Business Everyday140,000
Roundtrip in First Class Everyday180,000
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Toronto (YYZ) to Zurich (ZRH) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

1 July, 2013

Air Canada (AC) has a direct flight from Toronto to Zurich and redemption seats are sometimes available. However, the heavy fuel surcharges do not make this a very attractive option as the surcharges can cost almost as much as an economy class ticket. Flights with Lufthansa (though FRA, MUC or DUS) also incur heavy surcharges.

You can get to Zurich with one stop on the following Star Alliance carriers that have much lower surcharges: Turkish Airlines (TK) via IST, LOT Polish Airlines (LO) via WAW, United Airlines (UA) via EWR or IAD, US Airways (US) via PHL, Swiss (LX) via YUL or ORD, or even Air Canada Rouge via VCE. United and Turkish seem to be the best deals with total fees around CAD 200 for a business class seat.

Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
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Paris (CDG) to Montreal (YUL) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

9 November, 2012

Not a good redemption according to capital.fr as this represents only a value of about EUR 0.30 per mile. Fees on the redemption between Paris and Montreal are EUR 369. An inexpensive cash ticket can be bought for EUR 520.
See the article on capital.fr here. [in French]
 
Roundtrip in Economy43,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy89,000
Roundtrip in Business106,000
Roundtrip in First Class400,000
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Paris (CDG) to New York (JFK) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

9 November, 2012

Not a great redemption according to capital.fr as this represents only a value of about EUR 0.47 per mile. Fees on the redemption between Paris and New York are EUR 368. An inexpensive cash ticket can be bought for EUR 602.
See the article on capital.fr here. [in French]
 
Roundtrip in Economy44,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy91,000
Roundtrip in Business115,000
Roundtrip in First Class400,000
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Paris (CDG) to Los Angeles (LAX) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

9 November, 2012

Not a bad redemption according to capital.fr as this represents a value of about EUR 0.72 per mile. Fees on the redemption between Paris and Los Angeles are EUR 368. An inexpensive cash ticket can be bought for EUR 728.
See the article on capital.fr here. [in French]
 
Roundtrip in Economy54,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy109,000
Roundtrip in Business135,000
Roundtrip in First Class400,000
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Paris (CDG) to Rio De Janeiro (GIG) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

9 November, 2012

Not a good redemption according to capital.fr as this represents only has a value of about EUR 0.38 per mile. Fees on the redemption between Paris and Rio are EUR 374. An inexpensive cash ticket can be bought for EUR 678.
See the article on capital.fr here. [in French]
 
Roundtrip in Economy72,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy148,000
Roundtrip in Business192,000
Roundtrip in First Class640,000
  Share Your Knowledge

Paris (CDG) to Dublin (DUB) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam

9 November, 2012

A good redemption according to capital.fr as this represents a value of about EUR 0.83 per mile. Fees on the redemption between Paris and Dublin are EUR 45. An inexpensive cash ticket can be bought for EUR 210.
See the article on capital.fr here. [in French]
 
Roundtrip in Economy13,000
Roundtrip in Business51,000
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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]