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The Master Travel Redemptions Thread


cv91915
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On 4/30/2021 at 3:08 PM, cv91915 said:

Airfare is suffering from temporary insanity, so this is a good time to have various travel points in the bank. 

 

A couple of weeks ago a flight attendant on AA told me that every plane that had been grounded would be back in operation in May. 

 

Travel is back.

 

Domestic roundtrips in Economy that I've sampled recently are pricing in the $600s and $700s (and more) right now. 

 

There were plenty of good fares left for redeyes, which were only recently added back to the schedule. 

 

I've done eastbound domestic redeyes a few times, but only once to save money.  No thanks.  I can't sleep on a plane unless I'm in a lie-flat seat.

 

Booked today:

 

05/16: One-way, SAN-MUD, AA Economy, for 15,693 US Bank points + $179.88 (in lieu of $415.18) *

05/23: One-way, MUD-SAN, AA Economy for 14,533 US Bank points (in lieu of $217.99) *

 

* I used the balance of Mom's US Bank points before she cancels her Altitude Reserve next week.  She didn't want to keep the card for another year, and had no immediate use for the points.  The 5/23 flights were reasonable so I normally would have used plain-old cash, but I needed to burn the points now, so... burn, Baby, burn.

 

and

 

06/04: One-way, SAN-FSD, AA Economy, for 33,010 MRs @ $0.01 each (in lieu of $330.10)**

 

** This was an "Insider Fare," courtesy of my Amex Platinum.  This one-way itinerary was pricing at $368.xx everywhere else, so the ~10% discount was nice.  I don't yet know where I'm going from FSD (TAD has vague work travel plans for June and it's against my policy to sit at the Mud Hut with just the cats), but I'm certainly not staying in the area longer than family commitments require.  

 

It will be interesting to see if these flights posts to my AAdvantage account as "special fare."  Last year I had a couple of segments purchased with US Bank points that unexpectedly posted this way, and I ended up with a lot more miles than I otherwise would have.  

 

 

Looks like I'm heading back to San Diego from Sioux Falls.  One-way in AA Economy:  $378.20.  :lol: 

 

I put this on hold via aa.com on Sunday, and rather than re-shop through various travel portals yesterday I just completed the purchase there and put the charge on my Aviator Silver. 

 

I need to put $50k on that card in 2020 anyway, for the extra 3000 EQDs I'll need to renew Executive Platinum status for 2022.

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/30/2021 at 12:08 PM, cv91915 said:

06/04: One-way, SAN-FSD, AA Economy, for 33,010 MRs @ $0.01 each (in lieu of $330.10)**

 

** This was an "Insider Fare," courtesy of my Amex Platinum.  This one-way itinerary was pricing at $368.xx everywhere else, so the ~10% discount was nice.  

 

It will be interesting to see if these flights posts to my AAdvantage account as "special fare."  Last year I had a couple of segments purchased with US Bank points that unexpectedly posted this way, and I ended up with a lot more miles than I otherwise would have.  

 

Everything posted "normally" (using the Fare method and not the Special Fare method).

 

tfXgxDd.png 

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I just booked a one-way for my mother from SAN-FSD in early August.

 

Web Special was 10,000 miles + $5.60.

 

Oddly, at $308 this was among the higher fares for trips on AA that day in dollars, but it was the least expensive in miles.  

 

She wanted this specific itinerary no matter what, so I'm valuing this redemption at

 

(30800 - 560) / 10000 = 3.0 cpm

 

If I was paying cash to fly the same route on the same day, I would have made modest compromises on the schedule in exchange for a fare closer to $200, which would make this redemption closer to 2 cpm... which is still good for domestic Economy.

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One-way, MUD-SAN in AA Economy on 7/17:  26,890 MRs in lieu of $268.90.

 

One-way, SAN-MUD in AA Economy on 8/1:  $375.89 voucher* + $45.31 on Aviator in lieu of $421.20.  A cursory search for a 375.89 airfare purchase didn't yield results, so I may have paid for the original ticket with points of some kind.  (I'm keeping better records on how I pay for travel now).

 

* I got a full refund in the form of a voucher for a roundtrip ticket, after the return portion couldn't be completed due to weather in DFW (after arriving at DFW, AA eventually returned me to SAN, which was my departure airport, because they couldn't get me to my destination). 

 

I was surprised to have the entire fare refunded even though the outbound segments got me where I needed to go. 

 

I guess that makes it a bit less unpleasant to pay $421 for a less-than-ideal one-way itinerary.   Airfare has been insane lately.

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6 hours ago, cv91915 said:

 

* I got a full refund in the form of a voucher for a roundtrip ticket, after the return portion couldn't be completed due to weather in DFW (after arriving at DFW, AA eventually returned me to SAN, which was my departure airport, because they couldn't get me to my destination). 

 

I was surprised to have the entire fare refunded even though the outbound segments got me where I needed to go. 

 

I guess that makes it a bit less unpleasant to pay $421 for a less-than-ideal one-way itinerary.   Airfare has been insane lately.

 

Surprised that your voucher restricted you to a roundtrip purchase; just haven't encountered such a restriction on a voucher (but maybe I have, and didn't notice it).

 

Out of curiosity, when they returned you to SAN, did you have a choice between accepting the voucher, or just having them rebook you back to "MUD"?  Did they complete the ticket purchase for the return to MUD at the same time, or did you follow up later?

 

Did they offer to put you up at DFW until flights were operating to MUD again and you voluntarily opted to return to SAN?

 

Forgive the questioning ... this just runs outside of my experience with AA.  In this situation, I would have expected to arrive at DFW, encounter the cancellation to MUD, ask to go out on the next available flight, and be accommodated the next day.  Of course, as an IRROPS cancel due to whether, I suppose a hotel room would be on my dime (but that wouldn't stop me from sucking up and seeing if I could pry loose a voucher ...)

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5 hours ago, hdporter said:

Surprised that your voucher restricted you to a roundtrip purchase;

 

There was no such restriction.  My comments may not have been clear.

 

The original ticket was roundtrip, MUD-SAN-MUD.

 

MUD-SAN went as planned, but the return from SAN-MUD via DFW was interrupted due to weather.  This was the ice/snow event that crippled much of TX in February, and there were no hotel rooms available, no rental cars, and anecdotally, Ubers and taxis were impossible to get.

 

So I asked to be returned to SAN, which they did.  I bought a separate ticket to get back to MUD a couple of days later.

 

Despite using the MUD-SAN portion, when I submitted my "trip in vain" refund request for SAN-MUD, rather than give me a voucher for the one-way that I wasn't able to complete, they gave me a voucher for the full amount paid for both directions.

 

GQN38Hr.jpg 

 

The value of the voucher could be applied toward any ticket, not just a roundtrip.  I used it for a one-way as I mentioned in my post.

 

7 hours ago, cv91915 said:

One-way, SAN-MUD in AA Economy on 8/1:  $375.89 voucher* + $45.31 on Aviator in lieu of $421.20. 

 

If I had known more about how these matters are typically handled I would have had them reissue the original ticket to return me from SAN to MUD on a different day, rather than buying a separate ticket and going through this this trip in vain/eVoucher refund process.

 

 

 

 

Edited by cv91915
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Just booked our Alaska trip for September.

 

53,500 miles + $11.20 per person in lieu of $808 cash.

 

(80800-1120)/53500 = 1.5 cpm

 

Not exactly an aspirational redemption, but we're sitting on over 1 million AA miles, so it didn't make sense to spend $1,600 (even though I could have confirmed SWUs at the time of booking).

 

First Class for the dates we needed was pricing at 120,000 miles each, so TAD convinced me to roll the dice and rely on my status to get us upgraded.  

 

Note: the outbound was only 15,000 miles per person, and there were several return dates in September available for 15,000 as well.  Unfortunately our dates weren't that flexible, so it cost 38,500 miles each to get back. 

 

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5 hours ago, cv91915 said:

Just booked our Alaska trip for September.

 

53,500 miles + $11.20 per person in lieu of $808 cash.

 

(80800-1120)/53500 = 1.5 cpm

 

Not exactly an aspirational redemption, but we're sitting on over 1 million AA miles, so it didn't make sense to spend $1,600 (even though I could have confirmed SWUs at the time of booking).

 

First Class for the dates we needed was pricing at 120,000 miles each, so TAD convinced me to roll the dice and rely on my status to get us upgraded.  

 

Note: the outbound was only 15,000 miles per person, and there were several return dates in September available for 15,000 as well.  Unfortunately our dates weren't that flexible, so it cost 38,500 miles each to get back. 

 

 

Now for lodging...  Most of our lodging is included with a tour we purchased (rental cars are scarce and expensive, and the tour allows us to take a trip that's only ~6 weeks out without killing ourselves to plan everything).

 

But we still needed one night upon arrival, and three prior to departure.  

 

TAD has 3 Marriott certificates expiring in January, but hopes were dashed when every property in Anchorage priced at 40,000/night (certs max at 35,000).

 

For the first night, I used 40,000 of his Marriott points for a night at the airport Courtyard (yes, I know).  We're getting in really late and it's the closest Marriott property to the airport.  And they have a shuttle.

 

Cash equivalent reservation is below, so this was 38304 / 40000 = 0.96 cpp

 

GHLFo1w.png 

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19 hours ago, cv91915 said:

Just booked our Alaska trip for September.

 

53,500 miles + $11.20 per person in lieu of $808 cash.

 

(80800-1120)/53500 = 1.5 cpm

 

Not exactly an aspirational redemption, but we're sitting on over 1 million AA miles, so it didn't make sense to spend $1,600 (even though I could have confirmed SWUs at the time of booking).

 

First Class for the dates we needed was pricing at 120,000 miles each, so TAD convinced me to roll the dice and rely on my status to get us upgraded.  

 

Note: the outbound was only 15,000 miles per person, and there were several return dates in September available for 15,000 as well.  Unfortunately our dates weren't that flexible, so it cost 38,500 miles each to get back. 

 

 

19 hours ago, cv91915 said:

 

Now for lodging...  Most of our lodging is included with a tour we purchased (rental cars are scarce and expensive, and the tour allows us to take a trip that's only ~6 weeks out without killing ourselves to plan everything).

 

But we still needed one night upon arrival, and three prior to departure.  

 

TAD has 3 Marriott certificates expiring in January, but hopes were dashed when every property in Anchorage priced at 40,000/night (certs max at 35,000).

 

For the first night, I used 40,000 of his Marriott points for a night at the airport Courtyard (yes, I know).  We're getting in really late and it's the closest Marriott property to the airport.  And they have a shuttle.

 

Cash equivalent reservation is below, so this was 38304 / 40000 = 0.96 cpp

 

GHLFo1w.png 

 

I just booked the final three nights at the Hilton Anchorage Downtown, at 50,000 Hilton points/night.

 

Total out of pocket for this trip for airfare and the four nights of lodging that aren't included in our tour = $22.40 (security fees on the AAwAArd tickets).

 

Cash price for the room for comparison is below. 

 

I used the Honors rate (I'm obviously a member) and selected the semi-flex option which allows cancelations up to 3 days before arrival.  This is the selection I would have made if paying out of pocket, as it's slightly less than the more flexible choice which allows cancelations up to 24 hours in advance.

 

97678/150000 = 0.65 cpp

 

This is a solid Hilton redemption.  Recently I've gotten about 0.5 cpp, but historically it's been even less than that.

 

 

nNW0Dsk.png 

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On 7/14/2021 at 10:41 AM, cv91915 said:

TAD has 3 Marriott certificates expiring in January, but hopes were dashed when every property in Anchorage priced at 40,000/night (certs max at 35,000).

 

Since I couldn't use these certificates in Anchorage, I'm using two of them in Chicago next month.

 

There were only two properties to consider that were under the 35,000-point/night threshold.

 

Instead of the Courtyard River North I chose the Aloft Mag Mile, as the neighborhood is more residential/quieter.

 

As a frame of reference, if I'd used Marriott points instead of the certs it would have cost 55,000...  so for this redemption, I'll consider the value to be:

 

51422/55,000 = 0.93 cpp

 

Decent.

 

i2Diy0J.png 

 

____________________________

 

For airfare I booked two one-ways.

 

For the first leg (MUD-ORD) I used 13,000 AA miles + 5.60 instead of paying $136.  I apparently have more AA miles than sense.

 

(13000-1120)/13600 = 0.96 cpm

 

Depressing, but whatev.

____________________________

 

For the outbound I used up 99% of TAD's remaining US Bank points, as this may be the last opportunity before his AF hits and we close the card.

 

These points have a fixed-value ($0.015 each), so it took 23,760 points to cover the $356.40 one-way fare 🤮 from ORD-SAN. 

 

(This Chicago "trip" is essentially a 2-day layover spent with old friends on my way to spend a couple of weeks in California).

 

 

 

 

Edited by cv91915
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My last redemption was for a domestic F ticket on United for next month.  Cost was ~100k miles for a ticket that was retailing at ~$1200, so roughly $0.012/mile, which isn't world beating, but I look at it this way, I got the miles by getting the United club card with it's $525AF, so in essence I saved $150 on the cost of the ticket plus get 2 free years of lounge access, which is worth another $550/year, so all in all worked out ok (aside from the fact that between COVID lost traveling time and the club being closed at my home airport means it barely got used).  That card is definitely getting hacked come next AF.

 

Based on my expected travel locations for my new job, I will likely just purchase a Delta club membership and forego a premium airline card since I think I'll mostly be flying Delta and AmEx still hates me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been waiting for a couple of things to be finalized before booking some fill-in trips, but since there is still so much flexibility with airline tickets I decided to just book them and change them later if needed.

 

 One way, SAN-MUD, AA Economy on 8/29:

 

15,500 AA miles + $5.60 in lieu of $156.20 (again, I have more miles than sense)

 

(15620-560) / 15500 = 0.96 cpm 👎

 

------------------------------------

 

One way, MUD-SAN, AA Economy on 9/18:

 

20,000 AA miles + $5.60 in lieu of $399.20

 

(39920-560) / 20000 = 1.99 cpm ✔️

 

For the 9/18 trip there were some itineraries on the same day in the low $300s, and it was even less expensive to travel the day before (Saturday), but I have some schedule constraints that locked me into just a few options on Sunday.

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On 7/14/2021 at 9:48 AM, cv91915 said:

Just booked our Alaska trip for September.

 

53,500 miles + $11.20 per person in lieu of $808 cash.

 

(80800-1120)/53500 = 1.5 cpm

 

Not exactly an aspirational redemption, but we're sitting on over 1 million AA miles, so it didn't make sense to spend $1,600 (even though I could have confirmed SWUs at the time of booking).

 

First Class for the dates we needed was pricing at 120,000 miles each, so TAD convinced me to roll the dice and rely on my status to get us upgraded.  

 

Note: the outbound was only 15,000 miles per person, and there were several return dates in September available for 15,000 as well.  Unfortunately our dates weren't that flexible, so it cost 38,500 miles each to get back. 

 

 

I just canceled and rebooked this for 61,500 miles per person.  Same itinerary is going for $600/person in cash.  

 

Still not an aspirational redemption, but this change got us a much better itinerary that was pricing at close to 100k miles each (in Economy) at the time we booked.

 

We also took the opportunity to shorten the trip by one day after looking at how much extra time we had both before and after the escorted tour portion of our trip.  

 

An 8-day tour only has actual touring activity on days 2-7.

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On 7/15/2021 at 6:44 AM, cv91915 said:

For the first leg (MUD-ORD) I used 13,000 AA miles + 5.60 instead of paying $136.  I apparently have more AA miles than sense.

 

(13000-1120)/13600 = 0.96 cpm


My upgrade went through this morning at 100 hours prior to departure, so I feel marginally better about barfing out 13,000 miles for this relatively short flight.

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5 hours ago, mec said:

I have nothing to bring but more mundane redemptions.

 

4 round trip economy web specials

PIT-PNS 72,000 pts + $44.00

$ 0.01861 pp for a week on the ball stikage coast.

 

 

 

Nice value.  Be thankful that you're not headed there tomorrow??

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