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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

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

21 October, 2014

Washington (IAD) to San Salvador (SAL) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

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

21 October, 2014

Frankfurt (FRA) to Singapore (SIN) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

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

21 October, 2014

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

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

21 October, 2014

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

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.

20 October, 2014

Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR) with Miles from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

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.

20 October, 2014

San Francisco (SFO) to London (LHR) with Miles from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

The fees and surcharges for an upper class award ticket between San Francisco and London Heathrow are USD 1,300.

20 October, 2014

Vancouver (YVR) to Taipei (TPE) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

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.

29 September, 2014

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

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.

24 September, 2014

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

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

23 September, 2014