Best Use Of 280,000 AA Miles?

Jun 14th, 2009, 06:27 PM
  #1  
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Best Use Of 280,000 AA Miles?

I saw the thread about reduced capacity in the Lounge, which prompted me to ask this question.

I've about 280,000 AA miles. What do you think is the best way to spend it?

I've always thought that it's best to claim two first class tickets to Europe, say, because I'll probably never spend my own money on first-class tickets.

But clearly this is a knowledgeable crowd, so how would you spend 280,000 miles? It'd be great if you can suggest what you think is the best way for 1 person or for 2 people travelling together.

I don't think that I'm going to use my miles anytime soon, but who knows? If I like your idea, I may just steal it and spend my miles!

Thanks!
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Jun 14th, 2009, 06:31 PM
  #2  
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By the way, I also don't mind hearing ideas about how to spend X miles for X > 280,000.

I hope X is not too much larger than 280,000, however, since it may be impractical for me to wait until I have X. I'm accumulating at a much slower pace these days. It's regrettable, but I hope that that will change soon. Well, hope springs eternal!
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Jun 14th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Kinda depends on your taste in destinations. For us, we love southern Africa, so with 280K miles, and starting from the west coast, I'd fly on my own dime to Chicago, then use the miles to go Chicago - Madrid - Johannesburg - London - Vancouver, all in business class, for 130K miles each, using a Oneworld award.

Starting on the west coast instead of Chicago would bump us into the next OW mileage tier, requiring 150K miles each. In that case we'd probably just turn it into an RTW itinerary, and go Vancouver - London - Cape Town - Joburg - Hong Kong - Vancouver.

To us, business class is comfortable enough; don't need the caviar.
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Jun 14th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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I've never been to Africa, so that can be interesting.

I should be going out of NYC, but then, well, one never knows!

I don't think I'm married to any destinations. As I said, if there's an idea that I like I'll think about doing it!

How much would these tickets be if you pay out of your own pocket? It'd be great if you can price (just approximately) the itinerary suggested in Economy/Business/First.

This would be useful to know if someone else makes other suggestions. I don't really have a good sense of ticket prices to destinations I haven't been to.

I still think about the 5-minute showers that Emirates is supposedly offering in First Class cabins.
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Jun 14th, 2009, 07:43 PM
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If bargain hunting JFK-Europe RT in business can often be had in the $2000 range; figure $3000-$4000 RT for Europe - Africa.

Economy (skipping Europe - just straight to SA) is sometimes in the $1000 range; I'd probably budget $1500 to be safe.

For first, you're looking at upwards of $12K-$13K, but for that you're probably better off looking at a first class RTW ticket - much higher mile/$ yield.

I am quite adamant at not redeeming FF miles for anything less than 3c or 4c per mile in airfare savings; i.e. redeeming 100K miles should be for a ticket worth around 3 grand. Just my opinion; others place higher or lower value on their miles.
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Jun 14th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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I agree with you, Gardyloo, which is why I've been mostly saving my miles.

So are you saying JFK-Europe-Africa is about $4000 in Business or $2000+$4000 = $6000 in Business?

And is the 12-13K for First JFK-Europe-Africa? I thought that I've seen tickets around $10000 for JFK-Europe alone.

Yes I definitely see the attraction of claiming something in First (in terms of $/miles), as I mentioned initially.

Part of what makes this interesting is if I claim economy tickets, I can potentially make more trips than in a higher class of service. But then I guess it's always tempting to want to splurge when you're not forking out cash to buy something.
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Jun 14th, 2009, 08:50 PM
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In first, I found JFK-LHR-JNB-LHR-JNB on AA (using BA to JNB) for $13000 for next month. Delta and South African, which have direct service from the US to S. Africa (neither could be used with AA miles) don't offer FC. To me, the price/mileage penalty to go from business to first isn't usually worth it. YMMV.

The virtue of the Oneworld awards is that they're easy to configure to get multiple trips (within a 12 month period), provided you don't return to your origin point (or co-terminals like LGA or EWR.) Thus, say JFK-HEL-LHR-BOS (long layover, return to NYC then) BOS-DFW-EZE-JFK gets you two great trips - Finland and the UK, followed by Buenos Aires, can all be had for 130K miles in business class.
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Jun 14th, 2009, 09:10 PM
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That's a really creative idea (I'd never have known something like this can work!). And Helsinki and Bs As are both new to me (you may remember that I had to cancel Bs As last year when all hell broke lose).

But there's something not so "elegant" about it. I mean, I can fly direct to EZE from NYC, but instead I've to get to BOS and then fly to DFW first before going to EZE? Time is also money.

Are there any other interesting combos that involve Asia (apart from the one that starts in Vancouver)? Anything that involve Egypt and/or the the Middle East (say Cairo and/or Amman -- the latter is on Royal Jordanian, so it should be OW).
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Jun 14th, 2009, 09:17 PM
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Sure -

Go to the AA website and read up on Oneworld awards - http://www.aa.com/aa/pubcontent/en_U...s/oneWorld.jsp

Then go to the Great Circle Mapper - http://gc.kls2.com/ - and start playing around with itineraries that meet the Oneworld award requirements (2+ OW carriers besides AA, all segments count, max 2 connections and 1 stopover per city, no transiting point of origin, only one openjaw segment, 16 segs max, etc.)

Bingo. Have fun.
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Jun 14th, 2009, 09:48 PM
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Thanks. I need to hire you for your services, Gardyloo.

But wouldn't you try to max out at 50,000 miles? The mileage usage to claim that award is much less than twice required for a 25,000 miles award. So if you had enough to claim a ticket that uses 50,000 miles total, wouldn't you do that instead? It seems like that's the best use of the miles.

But 25,000 miles is about the circumference of the globe. So 50,000 miles is roughly like circumnavigation twice. Maybe it's hard to conceive of a RTW trip that's like circumnavigating the globe twice and at the same time squeezes out the use of every mile in 50,000.

For example I can try a random itinerary like this one:

JFK-LHR-CAI-AMM-HKG-SYD-EZE-JFK

Let's ignore whether I can construct this with OW carriers, but the miles used total about 28000 miles (a little over one circumference of the globe), and I've already traversed six continents.

And what's the use of that Circle Mapper link exactly? I guess you can calculate mileage usage with it, but is there something else you need it for? It doesn't tell you whether your stops are actually covered by the OneWorld carriers, does it?

Actually now I think that I've asked this miles useage before, but I've probably phrased it differently. I guess I just can't wrap my head around this. I am afraid to dig in further right now. It's way past my bedtime.
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Jun 15th, 2009, 08:37 AM
  #11  
TC
 
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We're booked to Tanzania in First Class for January 2010. The flight is nearly 30 hours travel time so FC is a must for me. I found tickets for 120,000 miles each on Delta/KLM.

We have always used our miles to make the really long haul trips as comfortable as possible -- Australia, Thailand, China, Africa.
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Jun 15th, 2009, 09:03 AM
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We're booked to Tanzania in First Class for January 2010. The flight is nearly 30 hours travel time so FC is a must for me. I found tickets for 120,000 miles each on Delta/KLM.

Just to clarify, technically this is in business class, not first. Neither Delta nor KLM has 3 class service only 2 class - economy and business.

I would say that Africa or Australia would be a good use of miles for premium class awards. RTW even better.
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Jun 15th, 2009, 09:12 AM
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following this thread closely. I assume that Delta does participate in the OneWorld?
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Jun 15th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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No, I think OneWorld is something else.

According to link Gardyloo gave OW carriers are AA, BA, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, JAL, LAN, Malev, Qantas, Royal Jordanian.

I guess Delta must have something similar but I'll leave someone else to figure that out.
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Jun 15th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Delta is part of the Skyteam alliance - Delta/NW, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, Korean, Continental for a little while longer (they're going over to Star Alliance) and several others. http://www.skyteam.com
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Jun 15th, 2009, 12:34 PM
  #16  
TC
 
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You are right,Patty, NW/KLM's class is called "Business/First", so I guess it counts to me. I've flown them a lot (a million miles), so the bottom line is - I can stretch out and get some sleep and food and a glass of wine on the way. Well worth the miles to me. My point being, the OPs 280,000 miles can make a long, rough trip a bit more comfortable. Personallly, I never spend miles on a domestic ticket or a short hop International ticket. We use them to upgrade for the long hauls in comfort. Its all a matter of priority.
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Jun 15th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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thanks! I was not sure if they had that round the world option..not that it will be an option for me :-? More curious I guess
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Jun 15th, 2009, 01:12 PM
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I don't have that many miles with Delta, but out of curiosity, I looked to see if it has a RTW option. The details are at the end. I am guessing that a trick like what Gardyloo suggested (i.e. flying back to USA via Boston first and then going to EZE) can't work with a routing like this one. But then, what do I know?

Also it appears that you need a minimum of 60,000 miles to claim a ticket to Europe (whereas AA's minimum is 40,000). I'm not sure if I missed something. But I presume Delta has raised their mileage reqs since I mentioned that I used 50,000 for a ticket for Istanbul a few years ago on another thread. (Well, I think I used 50,000 -- hope I didn't go crazy. )

I guess I have more miles than I expected with Delta. I have about 100,000 miles. I guess it's not enough to do anything crazily interesting (certainly not the RTW below). Still I'm thinking that maybe I should accumulate another 20,000 or so if I can before I think about spending it.

--

Round-the-World Awards

Round-the-World routing must be in a continuous eastbound or westbound direction (i.e., backtracking is not permitted). Travel must terminate in the country of origin without extending beyond the point of origin. Flights operated by codeshare partners must permit local traffic between the stopover point and the destination; the most direct routing applies.

Mileage needed for Award Travel:

180,000 miles for Economy class
280,000 miles for Business class
340,000 miles for First class
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Jun 15th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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TC,
I agree there's a huge difference between economy and business and that's what I use my miles for as well. But for the most part, I don't find the price or mileage differential between business and first worthwhile. I guess that's why I was trying to make the distinction.

MomDDTravel,
Delta does have a RTW award. It's valid on Skyteam plus Alaska and Avianca. It's not on the award chart but off the top of my head it's 280K in business now. I just wish I'd redeemed 2 of these when the mileage requirement was lower.
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Jun 15th, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Looks like 111op beat me to it. Thanks for posting the DL RTW mileage requirements. I was too lazy to look it up And you are right. TATL Y used to be 50K. As long as they don't touch my beloved Africa J award I'm happy and will be redeeming my 7th pair shortly
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