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.
Perth (PER) to Tongatapu (TBU) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance
The cash fare for a flight from Perth (PER) to Tonga (Nuku’alofa -- TBU) will be roughly USD 1,200. Aeroplan lets you redeem this itinerary within one zone for 30,000 miles plus USD 150 in fees. Look for Air New Zealand as a carrier between these destinations.
Read more at Don't Call the Airline!.
29 June, 2014
Paris (CDG) to Houston (HOU) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam
The surcharges for this itinerary are just under EUR 200. See the article on 4coinsdumonde.com [in French].
22 June, 2014
Nice (NCE) to Montreal (YUL) with Miles from Flying Blue (Air France, KLM) / SkyTeam
The surcharges for this trip (calculated via Amsterdam) are EUR 195 for the round trip in economy.
22 June, 2014
Cleveland (CLE) to Orlando (MCO) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance
Cleveland to Orlando can be a great option for Aeroplan members. Star Alliance partner United has various direct flights from CLE to MCO and the fees are only CAD 15 per economy class award ticket!
17 June, 2014
Toronto (YYZ) to Orlando (MCO) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance
To avoid high fees, try booking award flights with United.
Another strategy to avoid high fees is to consider flying from BUF instead of YYZ. Typically fees from Buffalo to Orlando are about CAD 30 only.
22 May, 2014
Vancouver (YVR) to London (LHR) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance
To avoid high fuel surcharges, try booking a flight on United via Newark (EWR) or Chicago (ORD). There will still be the UK Air Passenger duty, but at that is still much less than booking the redemption flight with Air Canada.
See the following article:
Or try using your Aeroplan points for an SEA-LHR flight, also with United.
18 March, 2014
St.John's (ANU) to Punta Cana (PUJ) with Avios from British Airways Executive Club / oneworld
British Airways flies to St.John's (Antigua) from London Gatwick (LGW). The flight then goes on to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. This is a nice way to use your avios, ie. for 4,500 avios you can island hop one-way to the Dominican. Inter-caribbean flights are normally much more costly.
This tip comes from Torsten at mightytravels.com.
6 March, 2014
Marrakech (RAK) to Dakar (DKR) with Miles from American Airlines AAdvantage [oneworld / Partners]
There is no direct oneworld flight between Marrakesh and Dakar. The connection will likely be through Madrid (MAD), which means the connection will lead through an extra zone. This will make the redemption higher than 20,000 (economy) or 35,000 (business).
5 March, 2014
Toronto (YYZ) to Glasgow (GLA) with Miles from Aeroplan (Air Canada) / Star Alliance
To avoid fuel surcharges on redemption flights between Toronto and Glasgow, try redeeming on all United flights: YYZ-EWR-GLA.
United flights currently do not incur surcharges on Aeroplan award tickets.
See also this article in the Toronto Star:
4 March, 2014
Los Angeles (LAX) to Seoul (ICN) with Miles from Korean Air Skypass / SkyTeam
There seems to be a lot of availability for first class award seats on both Korean Air and SkyTeam partner China Southern. Skypass adds fuel surcharges and other fees to the award price so that the total cash out of pocket for a round-trip first class ticket is approx. USD 400.
14 February, 2014