The best award redemptions are often the most boring.
I truly do make every effort to use my miles for aspirational business and first class redemptions that I would never otherwise be willing to pay for out-of-pocket. But lately, I have found myself frequently using miles for short flights in economy class.
Recently I was in Bilbao, Spain and had to get to Amsterdam. A one-way economy class ticket on KLM was $458 for travel the next day:
But using points, the same ticket was only 7,500 Flying Blue miles and $11.29 in tax. What a difference! Since I value Flying Blue points at 1.5 cents each, I essentially paid $112.50 plus $11.29 or $123.79, more than 3/4 less. Put another way, I redeemed my miles for over six cents each of value!
You really cannot find a less sexy redemption than an early morning flight from Bilbao to Amsterdam in economy class. But to pay for this flight in order to redeem miles on a fancy first class trip would have been stupid.
I’ve written about this topic before and continue to be amazed at the great disparity we sometimes observe between cash prices and points prices. While the new Flying Blue program still represents a huge setback and approaches revenue-based redemptions for other awards, there are still some nice sweet spots. This is one of them.
image: Peter Maddison / Creative Commons