Anywhere to compare fees/taxes for redemptions between two locations?

Discussion in 'Miles & points via credit cards' started by cinereus, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. cinereus

    cinereus Member

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    I've been massively frustrated in looking for viable routes to book with points as all the sites and blogs very rarely bother to mention the fees for each redemption and this is probably the most important aspect of working out where the value sweet spots lie.

    For example, a friend wants to book a round trip LON–SYD and has access to MR points. Now there's a lot of different routings possible here and that's just looking at OW.

    Booking on ANA it's about 165k + £157.
    Booking on SQ I'm looking at about 106k miles + £204 (I think). This is only redeeming at about 0.5p/mile.
    Booking on BA it's "only" 65k miles + £492. This is barely better than 0.45p/mile.

    Obviously you can do a lot better. But while there are tons of mileage charts, most people seem to rave about the BA booking because it's "only 65k miles" even though it's actually much worse value.

    Are there any resources like this compiling the best value OVERALL not just the best value for the points side of the equation?
     
  2. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Not really. I've looked at creating a genuinely comparative guide quite a few times, but it's difficult because there are so many factors (programme, origin, destination, class of travel, preferred airline, probability of award space, relative ease of earning different types of miles, etc).

    I'll have another think about whether there's a way of simplifying things in a genuinely useful way.

    I'm not sure about that ANA figure btw - looks high and ANA are Star Alliance not OW.
     
  3. cinereus

    cinereus Member

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    That is the issue - so many permutations! But I wouldn't care about programme, class of travel, preferred airline, probability of award space, relative ease of earning different types of miles, etc

    By far the most important factor is fees (and points if a massive difference).

    BTW,. didn't mean to say ANA was OW. ANA number is via Virgin miles and I got the figure directly from United site.

    30k + 45k each way plus 7.5k for positioning.
     
  4. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Ah - but the programme you use to make the booking is probably the most important aspect, whether you're talking miles/points or fees.

    For example, you've taken the figures for ANA from the United Mileage Plus site there. But, Virgin Flying Club has completely different award charts to United. Using Virgin Miles, the number of miles for Economy return would actually be 125,000 miles (60k + 65k) as you can see on the relevant chart here: https://www.virginatlantic.com/gb/en/flying-club/partners/airlines/all-nippon-airways.html

    Similarly, the programme (and origin, and class of travel, etc, etc) all impact the fees charged - that's why creating a genuinely useful comparison is difficult.

    Some programmes (like United Mileage Plus) don't pass on fuel 'surcharges'; others like Air Canada Aeroplan do for some airline partners in full, partially for others, and not at all for the rest (so the airline you choose to fly with really matters too). Class of travel has a big impact on the level of surcharges and can also impact the taxes significantly too - eg. higher rates of APD in the UK for premium classes.

    There's also then the question not just of the difference between the amounts of miles required (which is important because of opportunity cost of acquisition, if nothing else), but also ease of acquisition/replacement of those points/miles. For example, Alaska Mileage Plan has a great award chart for redemptions on Cathay Pacific and no surcharges, but because it's not a direct transfer partner from Amex MR, you have to go via Marriott. So, rather than getting 1 alaska mile for every 1 Amex Point, you actually end up with just 0.625 alaska miles for each Amex Point.

    Etc...

    It's complicated! :)
     
  5. cinereus

    cinereus Member

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    Fair points!

    I guess the most useful thing first would be a fairly comprehensive list of low outliers (Alaska miles with low surchages, BA from Brazil to London and ex-EU to Tokyo being great examples).
     
    JoeD likes this.

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