Is it worth to redeem award ticket for economy class?

Award Helper

 

Economy Award Ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong

Over the weekend, my wife brought to my attention that someone said she paid too much in fees and surcharges and made it not worth to redeem an award ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong.  In my opinion, if you are able to buy a non-stop roundtrip economy ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong for less than USD$750, it might not worth to use the miles to redeem an award ticket.

My simple calculation is 60,000 miles equal to $600 cash back.  If you use 60,000 miles, plus $136 fees and surcharges, your award ticket cost will be $736.  Now you can buy a ticket with all fees and surcharges for $689.68.  Of course it is cheaper to buy a ticket than redeem an award ticket.

Because I usually used my miles to redeem for business class or first class travel, my 60,000 miles will worth more than $600 cash back.

I did not see airfares for less than $700 for a decade.  Recently, the oil price drops so dramatically and the airfare also comes down a lot because of the lesser fuel surcharges.  If you are able to find a low fare, you might want to save your miles for future use or you might want to get cash back to purchase the ticket if your points are in Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points, or you can use the travel section under the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points without transfer the points to the airlines loyalty award program.

Fees and surcharges are un-avoidable for award ticket and are different based on different airlines award program even though you are travelling on the same flight.

Let’s use this as an example, if someone wants to redeem an economy award ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong, travel by Cathay Pacific:

  1. You can use Asia Miles, which is the official loyalty award program for Cathay Pacific.
  2. Or you can use American AAdvantage or British Airways Avios to redeem your award tickets and travel by Cathay Pacific because Cathay Pacific is in oneworld alliance.

Case 1: Redeem by using Asia Miles

Roundtrip award miles required for Asia Miles are 60,000 miles, plus HKD$1057 (USD$136)

  • Waitlist is available on award ticket
  • One-Way award miles are not 50% of roundtrip award miles
Cathay Pacific Economy Award Ticket

Cathay Pacific Economy Award Ticket via Asia Miles, 60,000 miles, plus HKD$1057 tax and surchages

 

Case 2: Redeem by using American AAdvantage

Roundtrip award miles required for American AAdvantage are 70,000 miles, plus USD$124.50 fees and surcharges.

  • You can earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back if you are American AAdvantage credit card holder.
  • You cannot book the Cathay Pacific award ticket on American Airlines website and have to pay $40 addition for telephone booking.

 

Case 3: Redeem by using British Airways Avios

Roundtrip award miles required for British Airways Avios are 70,000 miles, plus USD$133

Cathay Pacific Economy Award Ticket

Cathay Pacific Economy Award Ticket via British Airways Avios, 70,000 miles, plus $133 tax and surcharges

Non-Stop Flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong

Besides Cathay Pacific, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines also offer non-stop flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong.

United MileagePlus

Roundtrip award miles required for United MileagePlus are 80,000 miles, plus USD$38.60, which is the cheapest one in term of the fees and surcharges, but it required the highest miles to redeem an economy roundtrip award ticket.

United Airlines Economy Award Ticket

United Airlines Economy Award Ticket via United MileagePlus, 80,000 miles, plus $38.60 tax and surcharges

 

Singapore KrisFlyer

Roundtrip award miles required for Singapore KrisFlyer are 60,000 miles, plus $129.18, and you can save 15% on award miles if you booked the award ticket online, i.e. it only requires 51,000 miles plus $129.18.

  • Waitlist is available on award ticket
  • Save 15% on award miles if booked online
Singapore Airlines Economy Award Ticket via KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines Economy Award Ticket via KrisFlyer, 51,000 miles, plus $129.18 fees and surcharges

You might find it better value if you use the miles for high season travel.  Some people think it is impossible to find any award seats in high season.  In fact, we travelled a lot in holiday season, but it required some patient and time to check the availability regularly.

Refer and Win

 

Related posts: