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Could I have done this better? (award flight)

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Super Contributor

Could I have done this better? (award flight)

I booked a $389 JFK-LAX Alaska-operated flight for 12.5k AA miles plus $80.60 ($5.60 in taxes and a $75 close-in award booking fee as a non-elite). Expensive, but reasonable alternative flights were at the same cash price and I couldn't find award space elsewhere. The passenger is DM flying alone so I don't think any perks from my recently-closed Aviator Red would have helped if I'd kept it open.

 

2.47 cents per mile is good, but with my cards could I have dodged that $75 fee? Perhaps some MR/UR/Marriott transfer partner is instant and allows awards on Alaska-operated flights without a close-in fee?

 

I know Marriott allows transfers to Alaska, but I believe that can take a few days and I didn't have the time to wait.

 

I checked British Airways (how I usually dodge the close-in fee on American) but they only had the AA-operated inventory (with stops) and not the Alaska-operated inventory (nonstop).

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Could I have done this better? (award flight)

The value is probably okay-ish. I just have some some remarks about the benefits.

 

The benefits that come with the card (Free checked bag, preferred boarding) requires the primary card member to be on the itinerary. So DM wouldn't be able to get those since you did not fly (you are correct).

 

You wouldn't be able to get the $75 close in fee waived even with your card. The only way for non-elites to avoid the fee is to book at least 21 days before the trip, though there are rumors about AA planning to remove this fee.

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Established Contributor

Re: Could I have done this better? (award flight)

Are we really calling that 2.47 cpp?  Rather than subtracting $80.60 from your overall price, wouldn't it be more fair to convert 80.60 to points as 1cpp and add that to your point total?

 

So: $389/(12,500 + 8,060) = 1.89 cpp.  IMO, still good value and doesn't skew the actual cost of the trip.

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Super Contributor

Re: Could I have done this better? (award flight)


@HappyCamper123 wrote:

Are we really calling that 2.47 cpp?  Rather than subtracting $80.60 from your overall price, wouldn't it be more fair to convert 80.60 to points as 1cpp and add that to your point total?

 

So: $389/(12,500 + 8,060) = 1.89 cpp.  IMO, still good value and doesn't skew the actual cost of the trip.


I agree that the cash component of a trip is an important consideration. In a hypothetical extreme, it wouldn't be that great to get 10 cpp if a $1000 cash ticket costs $990 + 100 miles.

 

As this was a flight she would have otherwise paid cash for, I simply think in terms of:

 

Cash saved / miles consumed

 

I'm not aware of a single perfect measure of overall value (point value and the share covered by points) when miles and cash are both spent.

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 4 of 5
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Valued Contributor

Re: Could I have done this better? (award flight)

Looks good to me, 2.47cpp is excellent. AAdvantage miles sucks so much I can't find anything over 1.5cpp on my trips.

 

If some one has a tip on maxing AA miles, do share. I based in DFW, places I can see myself using AA miles are IAH, JAX, TLH, ORD, SEA, SFO, MEX, TPE, NRT, CDG, BCN.

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