Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

Do long layovers negate the benefit of flying business class w/ frequent flier miles???

Do long layovers negate the benefit of flying business class w/ frequent flier miles???

Sep 9th, 2003, 04:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Do long layovers negate the benefit of flying business class w/ frequent flier miles???

I will proudly be flying business class for the first time next February from LAX-New Delhi (India).

The downside is that I will have a six hour layover in Kuala Lumpur on the way over and an eight hour layover on the way home. Additionally, the departure time is a bit awkward at 1:40AM on a Sunday morning from LAX, and arriving at 9:40PM in New Delhi to begin the trip and then ending with an 11:40PM departure from New Delhi on the final day of my trip.

In the end should I just be content to be getting $10,000+ seats for "free"??? Or, would I be better dropping the $2,500 USD ($1,250 each) and getting the exact times and dates that I want. It would be 20+ hours each way, and that is not much fun on economy class.

Each ticket will cost me 110,000 frequent flier miles, which I will transfer over from my American Express.

So, in the end, is a 27 hour journey, for 220,000 frequent flier miles in business class better than a 20 hour journey for $2,500 USD while in economy class???
Roccco is offline  
Sep 9th, 2003, 05:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,399
Which airline? I know AA is 125,000 miles for first class, not many more miles for much better service than business. What size plane? Fully reclinable seats? Important ?'s before spending those miles. If you are flying an older aircraft it may not be worth it. How much time do you save when booking the route you want?
travelinwifey is offline  
Sep 9th, 2003, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,142

Your 220,000 miles are worth about $2200, so coach for $2500 (real money) or business for $2200 (worth of "free" travel).

Must be Malaysia Airlines.

AAdvantage's mileage requirements for India went up, drastically, on Aug.1, but Roccco's miles are from AmEx.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 9th, 2003, 10:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Is it possible for me to purchase 220,000 miles for $2,200 USD??? If so, please tell me where I may do this and I will never fly coach again.

In the last 18 months I have endured three hellish flights--two to Southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and one to Chile, including the extreme south of Chile (Patagonia) and the extreme north (San Pedro De Atacama).

I intend to go to Italy in early June and with the way that Europe books up early for frequent flier seats, if I can buy some miles now, I will do so, as the India trip will almost drain all my miles.

By the way, you are correct. The flights are on Malaysia Airlines.


Roccco is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 04:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,142

No, you can't buy the miles that cheaply, that's a penny a mile. The airlines will sell you miles so that you can reach an award level, but they will charge much more, e.g. 3 cents a mile (at USAir, 10,000 miles cost $300). I read once that accruing miles by flying costs about 2 cents per mile. That is, by flying (or using your AmEx card), you are "buying" miles at a rate of 2 cents a mile. When you cash in your miles, you are selling them back to the airline. You want to sell back to the airline at 1.5 cents a mile or more. I'm really talking about FF miles and not AmEx miles which may cost more (and be worth more).

About FF miles. The award for travel in the U.S. costs 25,000 miles. If the ticket would cost $500, then spend the miles happily. If the ticket would cost $375, then it's a toss up. If the ticket would cost $250, then spend the money.

Wait. I made a mistake. At a penny and a half, your miles would be worth $3300. So the question is whether it is worth $400 per person plus a dozen or so hours of your time to fly in business class instead of coach?

The tickets you would be purchasing with your miles would cost more if you bought with dollars (or euros, or whatever). And of course, that $2500 in your pocket will still be worth $2500 a year from now.

Here is what you would be buying:

links from that page to "More Info", e.g.:

That seat map is for 747, but they also operate 777.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 05:02 AM
Posts: n/a
If you'll be flying Business Class, check to find out if you can use the Business Class lounge at your layover destinations or if there is a fee, it might be worth paying for the comfort.

On a long trip like this the upgrade is for the longest leg which is to/fr KL. And at the schedule you indicate, you'll be so exhausted, you'll both sleep like babies.

Rocco - Of course, you know you wouldn't have this problem if you selected closer destinations - like Vancouver!!! Ha! Ha!

But far is far and it doesn't get much closer regardless what we do. In the scheme of things 7-hrs isn't that much considering how far you're traveling. Honestly, I don't think you'll be all that comfortable in coach for that distance.

Check on use of Malaysia Air's Lounge at KL
Sep 10th, 2003, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 138
I'm pretty sure KL's airport has a day hotel-I'd pop in there for the duration. Having lived and travelled in that part of the world for many years, I can tell you that those weird hour arrivals/departures aren't that unusual. I haven't been to Delhi but have to Mombasa (Bombay) and a late flight made it less stressful. You need to get a late check-out at your hotel, by the way. Don't do this in steerage - you will suffer. But, can you buy a cheap seat and upgrade? That way you can earn many of your miles back. Just a thought........
wpcx2 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 547
Definitely worth it in my mind. You should be able to use the business class lounge which are usually quite comfortable. No way would I fly that far in coach.
RachelG is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 12:32 PM
Posts: n/a

I believe you meant Mumbai (Bombay), not Mombasa - wrong continent! India not Kenya Africa.
Sep 10th, 2003, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
To me this would be a no-brainer even with the long layovers. Let's see spend miles that I've already earned to fly business class or pay an 'extra' $2,500 in cash to fly coach. I know the miles are worth something too, but only if you convert them into tickets, etc. Otherwise they just sit in your account getting further devalued each year as the airlines raise their award mileage requirements.

BTW Amex Membership Rewards sells miles at 2.5 cents each. You can buy a maximum of 500,000 miles (or MR points which generally equal one airline mile) per calendar year.
Patty is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 890
Have you considered purchasing a ticket and using miles (much fewer) to buy an upgrade to business class? Maybe you could get better times and still be in business class...just a thought.
petlover is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 02:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,843
This is how I determine if the buying coach and upgrading method is a good value vs. redeeming a free business class ticket using miles. Please correct me if I'm wrong or my logic/calculations are flawed. You would have to figure out a.) the cost of 2 upgradeable fares (which are usually higher than the cheapest coach available) and b.) the total number of miles required to upgrade less the number of miles earned on the route. Subtract figure b. from the total number of miles required for a free ticket and divide figure a. by that number. If your end result is higher than 0.025 then it's definitely not worth it as you can purchase miles for that amount. It may not even be worth it for less than that depending on how much you value your miles.

So in a hypothetical example (this is pretty typical for west coast to Europe) - 2 upgradeable tickets cost $1600 each, the miles required to upgrade are 40,000 each, you would normally earn 12,000 miles on this route in economy, the miles required for a free business ticket are 80,000 each.

160,000 less 56,000 (80,000 - 24,000) = 104,000

$3200 divided by 104,000 = $0.03076

So in order to 'save' 104,000 miles, you would be spending $0.03076 per mile. Of course, this is assuming you have enough miles to make a choice between buying coach and upgrading vs. redeeming free tickets.

Can someone tell me if this is a valid way of determining which option is better?

The one consideration I haven't given is to elite status which would determine how many miles you earn and how much you value those miles for maintaining future status. But that's such a huge variable and how do you determine its value?
Patty is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,142

Patty, you are right. In your example you have a choice of spending $3200 or 104,000 miles for the same thing.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 11th, 2003, 07:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 138
Duh...Mombasa is not in India. Another benefit to pointy end of the plane travel is the check-in/lounge/luggage deal. Staying off your feet and out of lines is a decided advantage for these exhausting trips.
wpcx2 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2003, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 325
You will be able to use the business class lounges in each city when you fly business class. That will make the layover more comfortable and they offer complimentary drinks and snacks. I have flown Malaysia Airlines on a FF ticket before and they allow a stopover in both directions. You might consider a stopover and visit KL rather than a long layover in the airport.
Richard1148 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:50 PM.