Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More on those Frequent Flyer Miles

Yesterday I started about how frequent airline miles are rarely worth the max amount quoted. Here are a few of the reasons why. When conditions are right (i.e. high season, infrequent flights, or popular destination) it’s possible you can be hit with all these obstacles like we were.

Unless you know a year in advance and book your reward flights then, chances are you have limited choices which require more miles. Yes my coworker booked a return flight for 15,000 points but he booked almost 8 months in advance. I booked the same flight a month in advance and it cost me 25,000 points one way.
- limited choice and more miles required unless booking way in advance –

Also, with these limited choices you will most likely have to make stopovers. So you are paying more taxes than if you took a direct flight. Also, sometimes partner airlines are used for these stopovers. Meaning? More points.
-more taxes you pay out of your pocket, lost time during stop overs, and more miles if partner airlines are involved –

Then there are stopovers where you have to do overnight. Not wanting to waste a day in the airport Sis and hubby are going out on the town. Result? Extra hotel and transportation costs. This also means taking more vacation.
- extra vacation days, accommodation and transportation costs associated with overnight stop overs -

All this and not counting the cost of spending hours on the phone, the frustration, and the stress. In my case, I ended up paying 50,000 British Airway points, $430 in taxes, taking extra 3 days off work, staying in London for one night, and routing through Seattle to get the return flight from London. I had to book the London to Cairo trip myself because even though British Airways have seats on the connecting flights, they were not available to people using points. This is probably a very bad deal on our 50,000 BA points, however, one look at Sis on our other phone trying to work a flight through London, Madrid, Cairo, US, and Canada for her and hubby, I thought I better shut up and be grateful.

Conclusion: Always opt for cash over miles when given a choice. The credit card companies totally wise to this.