travellight wrote:just wanted to share my experience with the difference between two 100,000 miles/points redemptions:
I flew to Japan last month and used 100k AA miles for two business class tickets going there one way. This turned out to be a lie flat seat that was equivalent to first class for the 13 hour flight there. I didn't even want it to end.
For the flight back, I used 102K thank you points which got me two economy flights back. I was unable to book my seats till the day of of 3 days before so I got pretty crappy seats. The seat on JAL was really pretty crappy and tight with very little leg room (and I am a petite female), minimal recline.
I was struck by the difference in what I got on these redemptions.
travellight wrote:They are different systems. American has one of the more generous redemptions in frequent flyer miles programs. There is a big difference for me between business class and economy especially on international flights. Even a business class seat that doesn't fully recline is way better than an economy seat but the lie flats were an amazing surprise.
American AAdvantage miles/points are especially valuable when used on partner airlines in premium class, with no need to worry about "saver" miles, or double/triple, etc.
(Our first "flat bed" seats/beds were surprise freebies on Alitalia Business class, due to a change of equipment, and we were hooked.)
We are just starting to do some serious pre-retirement traveling, and are finally "cashing in" our Amex Rewards Points and AAdvantage miles/points, with a strategy/philosophy similar to yours, travelight.
We didn't realize until too recently how well these could be "used", with some planning.
Our first (recent) major trip with points will be to Japan next spring, from the east coast.
We specifically routed through JFK to Tokyo to get JAL's best First Class beds.
On the way back, because we weren't flying from Tokyo, we purposefully used a few extra points to route ourselves on Cathay Pacific through Hong Kong, with the long haul back to the USA on their First Class.
Flying from Osaka, but not through Hong Kong, would have required an extra connection, and those are the worst parts of flying, for us.
in both cases
Business would have been fine, but we decided to splurge because the seats/beds were actually available (with a little date flexibility), and just to celebrate the start of this new travel.
On the outbound, we used 80k miles/points each for First rather than the 50k for Business.
But we are thinking of the "value" (as you are, travelight), using several methods.
First, "what if" we'd collected 2 cents per point charged, rather than collect "points"?
Well, that would have been $1,600 each outbound. We couldn't even touch Business class for that. And forget First class entirely.
travelight used the same 50k points, which are worth $1,000 each, at 2 cents per mile, which is even further from the cash price of Business class.
On this route, Business class ranges from $4k - $9k each, one way, depending upon restrictions.
And First would have been $13k each, one way.
Would we have paid $13k cash? Of course not!
Would we have paid $9k? Nope. Would we have paid $4k each, one way? Well, either "yes" or "we wouldn't have taken the trip"
, and we DO want to see Japan at least once.
At our ages, we just cannot "sit up" in economy OR premium economy for even less
than the ~15 hours these long haul flights take.
Sure, we should have gone when we are younger, but we can't re-start the clock, alas.The point is: We absolutely would pay $1,600 or $1,000 each, one way, for First or Business, respectively, on these long haul flights.
So regardless of whether it's First or Business, these are very "valuable" uses of the awards, at least for us.
Better yet, we (late to the party!) realized that we can purchase these AAdvantage points for approximately 2 cents each (slightly +/-).
It would be sort of a wash to do this if the travel would have cost $1,000 or $1,600, each. But that amount of cash wouldn't even come close.
There isn't a chance in the world that we'd want a "cash back" card with this as a different use of "rewards".
IF we decide that First class is "enough better", we'll do that, and continue to "splurge" with what costs us ~$3,200 for both
, one way, rather than the ~$2k for both of us, one way in Business.
If we were younger, we would have jumped at the chance of getting premium economy seats, but no more, not for lengthy flights.
We did have to juggle the dates a bit, and I'm still surprised we were able to get these, given there are only 8 or 6 First seats/beds on each flight.
If we had wanted the Business class, it would have been simple to get those without much juggling of dates.To travelight:
I'm still not quite sure what the "thank you points" are or are "worth", although we've briefly looked into getting new cards that would have "thank you points".
However, I think your experience has confirmed that we don't want those from an awards charge card.
I can't imagine doing better than we are already doing (but if anyone has suggestions, please do tell!).
By the way, these calculations are all at the recently devalued points, still an amazing "value" to us.
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