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How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

San Francisco...
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How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

I have points on about 12 different airline credit cards, and want to book a flight from SFO to LGA. Any suggestions on how to go about choosing which airline to look at for a domestic flight?

I suppose I want one that doesn't require a lot of points to fly domestically, and I don't want to waste points that I could eventually use to fly internationally.

TIA!

New York City, New...
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1. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

Or, the one that has availability on the days you want.

Are you aware that flying into LGA will require a connection whereas JFK or EWR gives you non-stop options?

Palmetto, Florida
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2. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

" I want one that doesn't require a lot of points to fly domestically"

I hope your travel is not during weekends or holidays. IME, available non stops are at unholy hours, most of the rest are connecting flights. Its tough.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

IMO, most domestic flights are not a good value on which to use your points. For comparison, at the lowest award level (Saver), UA will cost you 25,000 miles for a round trip domestic award ticket. The same standard award ticket will cost you 50,000 miles. A roundtrip ticket at saver level from US-Europe will cost you 60,000 miles.

Suggest you simply book with whatever airline has available award seats. Without more specific information from you, can't offer any more advice.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

I didn't know about LGA not offering direct flights. My NYC host suggested LGA because there's a bus from LGA to his neighborhood.

I don't mind connecting flights, but I would like to avoid red-eye flights and wasting award points. I'll be flying out on a Friday and flying back on a Tuesday. I always fly coach because for me it's not worth the extra points to upgrade. (Finally, having short legs pays off!).

Syracuse, New York
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5. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

In my experience, for the price of domestic flights, it's far better to pay for the ticket and get the miles for it than to use miles. When you use miles to buy a ticket you still have to pay all the taxes and fees, which are usually over half the price of the ticket anyway, so you really don't save much.

Combine that with the lack of availability for award travel on any reasonable routes and timings, and I think you are far better off to pay for it.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

As pointed out very well by Gracie-boo and TBNY, redeeming points for a domestic flight is a sure way of lowering the CPM value of your points.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

When you use miles to buy a ticket you still have to pay all the taxes and fees, which are usually over half the price of the ticket anyway, so you really don't save much

***********

While I think this is not an effective use of points, as already stated, I'd have to disagree with this statement. I've never booked a domestic round trip Saver award in economy, using frequent flyer miles on UA, that cost me more than $5 round trip in fees/taxes.

Edited: 07 August 2014, 17:20
South Jersey
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8. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

Same on US Airways - $5 for a domestic ticket using miles. Even the flight I booked to Europe on US Airways only had $100 in fees and taxes per ticket.

Now if I were flying British Airways it would be a different story.

Edited: 07 August 2014, 17:25
San Francisco...
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9. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

I have points with Southwest and Frontier, and I think of those airlines as predominantly domestic; are there airline point programs that don't work particularly well in booking international flights (I'm thinking Europe/Asia), and I would be better off using those points to travel to NYC?

I appreciate all the input. I know there's a lot of knowledge and experience out there, which I don't have.

Palmetto, Florida
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10. Re: How to Chose Which Airline to Book Using Airline Points?

>> you still have to pay all the taxes and fees, which are usually over half the price of the ticket anyway, so you really don't save much.<<

I don't find that is the case for domestic flights. The tax, t's usually 5-6 dollars per oneway. You may have to pay 50-75 dollars for "expedited" fee if booking is within 21 days of travel.

But if you can find fares lower than 500.00, with better times or connections than the free ticket, it may be worth just buying.

edit: gracie beat me to it/

Edited: 07 August 2014, 17:38