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.

 

 

Sydney (SYD) to San Francisco (SFO) with Miles from Korean Air Skypass

11 January, 2017

Fees for booking the one-way first class journey from Sydney to San Francisco, flying on Korean Air, are USD 126.

Full article at Pointshack.com.au: http://www.pointhacks.com.au/reviews/korean-air-first-class-overview/
Roundtrip in Economy Off-Peak110,000
Roundtrip in Economy Peak165,000
Roundtrip in Prestige Off-Peak195,000
Roundtrip in First Class Off-Peak240,000
Roundtrip in Prestige Peak290,000
Roundtrip in First Class Peak360,000
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Toronto (YYZ) to Funchal (FNC) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

8 January, 2017

The most efficient and least costly way to get to Madeira from Toronto (or vice versa) is to use Star Alliance partner Brussels Airlines. There is even a flight directly from Brussels to Funchal so that a connection in Lisbon is not necessary. The one-way fee for the one-stop journey through Brussels is only CAD 65. If using Brussels Airlines with an extra stop in Lisbon (using TAP) the fee for the one-way is CAD 124 (CAD 224 in business).

Routings with other Star Alliance partners all connect in Lisbon (ie. two connections will be necessary) and the fees for the one-way award ticket will in the CAD 300 - 450 range. United is a bit cheaper at CAD 165 but a total of three connections may be needed.
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Premium Economy75,000
Roundtrip in Business110,000
Roundtrip in First Class140,000
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Sacramento (SMF) to Anchorage (ANC) with Miles from Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

4 January, 2017

Alaska Airlines has recently introduced new distance based charts for its own flights. The distance is calculated cumulative for all segments of a trip (not for individual segments). So the distance from Sacramento to Anchorage, with a connection in Seattle, totals about 2,050 miles, just under the threshold of the next higher band. Fees for the one-way trip are USD 6.

Source: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/01/04/how-to-use-fewer-miles-for-short-flights-with-new-alaska-airlines-award-chart/
Roundtrip in Main Cabin Non-Refundable (rate calculated via SEA)20,000
Roundtrip in First Class Non-Refundable (rate calculated via SEA)50,000
Roundtrip in Main Cabin Refundable (rate calculated via SEA)60,000
Roundtrip in First Class Refundable (rate calculated via SEA)120,000
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Santa Ana (SNA) to Portland (PDX) with Miles from Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

4 January, 2017

You can travel directly on Alaska Airlines between Portland and Orange County. But even with an extra connection in Reno (RNO) you will still be charged the same number of miles thanks to the new cumulative distance chart from Alaska Airlines. The fees are USD 6 per flight segment.

Another similar example would be a trip from Portland (PDX) to Salt Lake City (SLC) with a stop in Boise (BOI).

Source: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/01/04/how-to-use-fewer-miles-for-short-flights-with-new-alaska-airlines-award-chart/
Roundtrip in Main Cabin Non-Refundable15,000
Roundtrip in First Class Non-Refundable50,000
Roundtrip in Main Cabin Refundable60,000
Roundtrip in First Class Refundable120,000
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Washington (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA) with Miles from United Mileage Plus / Star Alliance

3 January, 2017

United Mileage Plus never charges fuel surcharges, so even on the Lufthansa flight from Washington to Frankfurt there are only taxes to pay in addition to your miles, in this case approximately USD 81 for the one-way itinerary to Germany.

Source: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/01/03/how-to-use-the-united-airlines-award-chart/
Roundtrip in Economy60,000
Roundtrip in Business140,000
Roundtrip in First Class220,000
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New York (JFK) to Tokyo (HND) with Miles from United Mileage Plus / Star Alliance

3 January, 2017

The New York (JFK) to Tokyo (HND) flight incurs a USD 14.20 fee when booked on on Asiana. If you depart from Newark (EWR) and use All Nippon Airways (ANA) instead, the fee drops to USD 5.60.
Roundtrip in Economy70,000
Roundtrip in Business160,000
Roundtrip in First Class220,000
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Anchorage (ANC) to Chicago (ORD) with Miles from United Mileage Plus

3 January, 2017

Alaska is its own zone for United Mileage Plus own metal awards, so the miles costs for an award ticket are a little higher than for travel to the rest of the continental USA. The fees for the ticket, however, remain the same at USD 5.60.

Source: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/01/03/how-to-use-the-united-airlines-award-chart/
  Share Your Knowledge

Madrid (MAD) to New York (JFK) with Avios from Iberia Plus

2 January, 2017

Following Head for Points' advice, the fees for this flight are much cheaper, if booked on iberia,com (with Iberia avios, GBP 159) than if the same flight is booked with British Airways avios (on ba.com, GBP 361).

And BTW, the London Heathrow to New York (JFK) award ticket booked with BA avios has fees of GBP 502!

Source: http://www.headforpoints.com/2017/01/02/eight-avios-airmiles-quirks-you-might-not-know-about/
Roundtrip in Blue Class -- Off-Peak (Economy)34,000
Roundtrip in Blue Class -- Peak (Economy)40,000
Roundtrip in Full Fare Economy Off-Peak51,000
Roundtrip in Full Fare Economy Peak60,000
Roundtrip in Business Off-Peak68,000
Roundtrip in Business Peak100,000
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London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) with Miles from AAdvantage [oneworld / Partners]

31 December, 2016

The strategy to use your AA miles for an Etihad flight (specifically the Etihad First Apartment) is to find availability on the Etihad booking site first. Then call the American Airlines help line to make the booking.

Here are step-by-step instruction from topmiles.com on how to do this.
Roundtrip in Main Cabin40,000
Roundtrip in Business / First85,000
Roundtrip in First Class125,000
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Manaus (MAO) to Asuncion (ASU) with Miles from AAdvantage [oneworld / Partners]

26 December, 2016

Unlike all other Brazilian destinations Manaus is zoned in South America 1 by AAdvantage. So the round-trip to Paraguay from this city in Brazil is a little more costly.
Roundtrip in Main Cabin25,000
Roundtrip in Business / First50,000
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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]