Are you flying coach or trying for premium? The business and first class tickets are usually (there are probably always some exceptions somewhere, in this funny business!) the best use of award miles/points.
I haven't looked into buying coach/economy and using awards for upgrades, but everyone says (yeah, that great savant, "everyone"
) that's not a good use. Also, I think you need to purchase full fare economy, which usually isn't much "economy". And we wouldn't want to pay for the economy and then hope for upgrade availability, etc.
Did you catch my post about the "value" we got using AAdvantage awards, but for JAL and Cathay Pacific?
Far fewer miles/points than the exact same class of service, same route on AA. That's in general, by the way, not a quirk.
For 80k points, we each got first class seats, one way, that cost - in cash - ~$13,000.00. Yes, EACH, one way. GASP.
Note that points can be PURCHASED for approximately 2 cents per mile/point (or a bit more). I had no idea. I never checked, assuming they'd cost a fortune. So do the math... 80,000 points x 2 cents each.
The "catch" is availability. We delayed our Japan trip next May by 2 weeks to get these seats/beds, and delayed our return by one day (drat! an extra day in Japan
So if one isn't flexible, not so good.
And business class needs fewer points, of course. I'm forgetting, but say approx 50k points, times 2 cents... That's approximately what premium economy would cost.
We are stunned. DH kept disbelieving me, so I checked with AA International Awards desk, and with PointsPros, who find these flights for a modest (modest being in minds of beholder, etc.) fee.
Again, they all stressed the need for flexibility in dates, or chance of not getting those classes at all.
Then we'd need to decide to pay for non-refundable business class or change our plans entirely. (At our ages, we finally found we can NOT fly sitting up in economy for long hours. Even premium economy transatlantic last time ended with me with back agony. And then we need to spend an extra day - and hotel costs - trying to catch up and rest, etc. No longer a good bargain for us. When we were younger, that was different. BUT... IF we'd realized about all of this, we would have at least made some good use. At least, we stockpiled points, and only used one of our accounts for our honeymoon, first class. But that was AA points on American, so we still were clueless about if we had used a different airline. BTW, we got married late in life; I'm not claiming all of these awards existed back in the stone age
I think AA is the best for this, when used on partner airlines, at least on some routes (?).
So we'll try to use those airlines when possible.
We've got Amex Rewards for another partner network.
And do try to avoid the BA fees in/out of London.
Our "cost" in dollars was $5.60 each, each way, but we weren't ticketed round trip. But $5 isn't a deal breaker, obviously.
Good luck, and enjoy your travels!
Let me know if I can help. Others helped us, including two here on BH (who have not [yet?] chimed in on the current threads).
Bustoff wrote: ResearchMed wrote:
Bustoff wrote:Beginner question.
For travel to Italy, should we focus on any particular airline or credit card to begin accumulating points?
For starters, use this website to see which airlines fly from where you are to where you want to go in Italy.
Alitalia is a good guess, but domestic airlines also fly there.
Then using Google, see which awards points are used by or transfer to that airline (or those airlines if a good choice).
Then look for a card that gives those points.
In general, there are two big partner networks, but there is some overlap.
IF American Airlines is in that group, we've found that using their miles/points on a partner can (sometimes? often?) use *fewer* points than the same class of service on an American flight. But look into that also, to maximize use.
This is a bit tedious at first. Once we got used to it, the simple travel is very straightforward.
It can get tricky if one needs to transfer points to use on yet a different airline, etc.
Sounds like a bit of a learning curve but the savings are well worth the time.
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