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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.

Boston (BOS) to Copenhagen (CPH) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

Aeroplan members can redeem the direct flight on SAS between Boston and Copenhagen very inexpensively (CAD 45 one way). However, this particular route is served by an older Boeing 737 and does not actually have a business class cabin. So it is probably best to save your miles and book only economy. Most other destinations SAS flies to in North America (ARN-ORD or EWR-OSL) are served by the newer Airbus 330-300, which does have a business class cabin (and the fees are still low).

27 April, 2017

Toronto (YYZ) to Duesseldorf (DUS) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

A good option to get to Europe for Aeroplan members is to use SAS flights across the Atlantic. SAS does not fly to Canada but it does to Boston, Chicago and New York (EWR). The fees and surcharges on SAS are very low. The one way itinerary from Toronto to Dusseldorf with connections in Boston and Copenhagen is CAD 127 (business or economy).

United and Swiss are also very good options in terms of surcharges, whereas transatlantic flights on Air Canada, Austrian and Lufthansa have high surcharges.

9 April, 2017

Chicago (ORD) to Copenhagen (CPH) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

The one-way award ticket from Chicago (ORD) to Copenhagen (CPH) on the direct SAS flight is only CAD 7.50!! This flight should be considered when trying to get to Europe with minimal surcharges and taxes.

9 April, 2017

Moscow (DME) to Singapore (SIN) with Miles from Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Read a trip report on a business class (cancelled first class) award on this Singapore Airlines route. All in all not a very pleasant experience for the reviewer.

5 April, 2017

Los Angeles (LAX) to Santiago (SCL) with Miles from LATAM Pass

The redemption between Los Angeles (LAX) and Santiago de Chile (SCL) incurs fees of USD 52 for the round trip flight in Premium Economy class. One-way redemptions are not possible on LATAM flights.

Below, read a thorough overview of the LATAM Pass program on Reward Flying:

1 April, 2017

Toronto (YYZ) to Las Vegas (LAS) with Miles from Miles & More (Lufthansa) / Star Alliance

The direct Air Canada Rouge flights between Toronto and Las Vegas can be booked with Miles & More miles. The surcharges from Toronto to Vegas are USD 86, and from Las Vegas to Toronto USD 43.

24 March, 2017

San Francisco (SFO) to Novosibirsk (OVB) with Miles from United Mileage Plus / Star Alliance

Novosibirsk (OVB) counts as Europe in the United Start Alliance zone map, even though it is essentially in Central Asia, so the award ticket between San Francisco and Novosibirsk is a normal North America to Europe redemption. For this to work you need to connect in Europe, ie. Istanbul:

19 March, 2017

Kingston (YGK) to Toronto (YYZ) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance

Air Canada has several daily flights between Kingston (Ontario) and Toronto. The one-way redemption is worth 7,500 miles for a one-way in economy class (short-haul). The fees for the one-way redemption are CAD 55. Purchasing the same flight with cash only will be about CAD 240. Taking the 2.5-hour train journey with VIA Rail from Kingston to Union Station in Toronto costs about CAD 100. 

9 March, 2017

Perth (PER) to Osaka (KIX) with Miles from JetStar Classic Flight Rewards [QFF]

Here is a trip report from on the journey from Perth to Osaka in business class. The connection was in Cairns (CNS) and the overall fees were AUD 280 for the round trip. According to the reviewer, not fantastic value!

Here is the full trip report:

27 January, 2017

Tokyo (NRT) to Perth (PER) with Miles from Qantas Partners Classic Awards [QFF]

Qantas Partners Classic Awards includes flights with Cathay Pacific Airlines. Read the trip report below on how to use Qantas points for Cathay business class flights from Tokyo to Perth with a "maximized transit" in Hong Kong. Overall fees for the one way journey from Tokyo to Perth were approximately USD 100.

27 January, 2017