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Comment by Donna Esposito on October 18, 2013 at 8:23pm

Ari, I will never buy miles from an airline, even at 1.3 cents. And I didn't know any of your other general rules, but I will live by them from now on. 

Comment by Ari Charlestein on October 18, 2013 at 4:15pm

Correct. That said, with the exception of El Al (and their "Matmid") program, I don't know any airline that charges to join their mileage program.

Comment by Ari Charlestein on October 18, 2013 at 4:08pm

My general rules are:

1) NEVER buy miles from an airline (unless a promotion puts them at a cost of 1.3 cents or less).

2) NEVER redeem miles for domestic trips or any kind (unless they're short flights using BA Avios, or long cross-country business class flights using LH Miles and More).

3) NEVER redeem miles for int'l coach tickets.

4) Try to avoid flying on the airline whose miles you are using. For example, are you using United miles? Try flying on Thai, Asiana or Lufthansa instead!

5) ALWAYS try to include a stopover (and/or open-jaw - depending on airline redemption rules) in each award booking. 

6) If using bank points, make sure they can be transferred (at a 1:1 ratio) to airline partners.

6a) ONLY redeem miles after they've been transferred.

Following these rules will almost guarantee a five cent (or even 12-15 cent) valuation on each of your redeemed miles/points!

Comment by Sam Scribe on October 18, 2013 at 4:04pm

Thanks, Ari and Anil. You've confirmed what I know, which is, it's hard to know what your miles are worth. 20 years ago it was simpler to figure that out, so it was easier to determine if it's worth it to pay a fee (say, $75) for a frequent flyer credit card. Today, too many variables for a quick answer to that question, right? 

Comment by Anil on October 18, 2013 at 3:39pm

Certainly all airlines assign value to those miles. Some airlines even sell you miles to make up any shortfall (at fairly outrageous rates).  The Airlines also sell miles to businesses as a part of company promotions.  

Award ticket for short haul turn out in favor of the airline; Award tickets for long haul international turn out in favor of a smart pax :)

Comment by Ari Charlestein on October 18, 2013 at 3:27pm

Well Sam, this is not actually as simple as it seems. The very short answer is no: Your airline miles can not be cashed out for any value. That said, many credit card points (think AMEX, Chase, Capital One) can be - they often encourage people to use points to pay off bills or to redeem them for gift cards.

Unfortunately, those CC points are often redeemed at a one cent value (as you mentioned). In reality however - when you really maximize the value of those airline miles or CC points on int'l business and first class flights - you can easily get 5, 7, 10 or even up to 15 cents of value out of each point/mile! That's generally where I (and my business) come in. 

Comment by Sam Scribe on October 17, 2013 at 9:49pm

Thanks, Ari. Something has been on my mind as I shuffle through my frequent flyer accounts. There used to be a fairly accurate monetary equivalent of loyalty miles in your account, so if you had 50,000 loyalty miles, you knew its approximate worth in dollars. (One mile equals one cent, or whatever it was.) Does that sort of equation exist today?  

Comment by Ari Charlestein on October 17, 2013 at 12:01pm

Hi Everyone! I'm in the points/miles business, so if there are any questions out there feel free to send them my way!

Comment by Charlie Leocha on June 4, 2013 at 11:30am

Tried to send this from my iPhone yesterday. Bari and Brindisi are only about an hour away from each other. Just take a train or bus to the right airport. It will add about 2 hours to your airport commute. It shouldn't be a problem.

Comment by Elyse Jessica Glickman on June 4, 2013 at 9:36am

I actually found this yesterday and reached out to the people on that list. The info is a bit old and I have heard nothing back yet, but did make the good faith effort.

And a thank you to Ed for taking my complaint seriously.

Anil, these are the same numbers I found on the original web site and on the Ryan Campaign site...tried them again in good faith.

What I may end up doing is cut my losses.  My Eurail pass arrived yesterday, and I figured out how I could get from Bari to Veneto with the time table they forwarded.




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