Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why the Fuzz - The Value of Miles

Before I finalize my trip reports, it is brought to my attention that there is a heated argument about the use of miles:

Is international first class a waste of miles? (One Mile At a Time)

Redemptions in coach make sense, at least to me! (UnRoadWarrior)

Domestic Mileage Redemptions: Yay or Nay?  (Mommy Points)

Value Your Miles as Money (View from the Wing)

My Worst Use of Miles: International First Class (Frugal Travel Guy)

Why Redeeming Miles for Domestic US Travel Makes Sense (Million Mile Secrets)

And here is my 2 cent for the value of miles:

1. There are always people "influencing" what you want.

Simple - when you have a close one who want to shop for a car, for example, suddenly a lot of people, rather than the dealerships, will become the "experts" of cars, telling you what to buy and what not to buy.

2. The value of an item (including miles) depends on you, not others' point of view.

Who cares what you want anyway? For example - an iPhone. Some people think iPhone is the best phone in the world, and some are not (I am one of them - even I will switch to a iPhone as the use of iPod within days), mostly because of the prices.

If you think it is worth for you, nobody can really judge you at all.

3. You should have a method to justify the way you spend.

Simple - Domestic or International; Premium or Economy - it is all up to you - as they are your miles.

As soon as you have a way to justify, it is all good enough.

For example, I have a friend who I helped him to save up about 80000 United Mileage Plus miles for a trip back to Hong Kong.

But something came up. I helped him to use the miles in a more valuable way - 2 One-way to Europe (United's rule says if you have begun your trip, no change can be made afterward).

In that case - he saved about $2,000 instead of the original $1,000.

4. Not all advices are good for you.

Couple months ago, I posted my opinion about sleeping in the flight:

Sleeping During Flight - Facing the Reality

In conclusion, I said you are the answer.

In this case (the value of miles), the answer is also you.

You have your own travel pattern. So there is no need for you to follow someone's advice (and that's why I don't give out advice here, but only my experience and insights).

So if Domestic are what you do exclusively, I don't see a problem you redeem domestic award (and it will be the question if it is worth to buy or redeem).

Personally, I have only redeemed 2 award tickets for myself - one is for a round-trip ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong by Singapore Airlines during Christmas and New Year, and another one is for my recent trip from Hong Kong to Beijing by Air China.

Both shares the same characteristics - the tickets are simply too expensive to buy.

So what is my value of miles? Selling them to my family members. (Note: My family members know my miles has its cost - flying on revenue tickets. So they don't mind to "sponsor" me in this way - and they think it is fair as well - as the money I get from them are not enough to cover the ticket price if they choose to buy it).

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