Should I Pay to Share Miles?

Discussion in 'Other frequent flyer programmes' started by FlyingPiggie, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    So, the missus has exactly 15K American Airlines miles, with it being quite unlikely that she'll earn more, or at least enough for an attractive reward of some kind. (she has grown accustomed to flying in J with my miles!) There's currently yet another AA promo for sharing and buying miles so I could move those into my account for $150. Now conventional wisdom says that this would be quite stupid - no extra miles are generated - and so I should try to spend them out of her account.

    However, I've never seen an AA domestic flight (or US-Canada) that had both award space and wasn't already quite cheap. And there's that stupid late-booking fee for AA non-elite rewards (AA often opens space within that window). Therefore I always just pay for my AA flights and earn Tier Points and double Avios, etc. Can't think of any other useful use of 15K AA miles.

    Any other ideas for spending 15K AA miles? Or should I just grab them and then be happy on my next Etihad First Class flight?
     
  2. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Good question. I'll be facing a similar quandary at some point with about 5 lots of ~13,000 Alaska Miles various family members got for free with the Virgin America takeover (nice problem to have of course!).

    On principle, I really hate buying Miles (or paying surcharges) and paying just to move them seems even worse. On the other hand, if you take a step back and view things purely from a rational/value point of view it could well be the smart option.

    If you might be travelling in South America, OZ/NZ/South Pacific, Japan domestic etc then there is potentially good value in keeping them where they are (and maybe adding a few through AA eshop, maybe Starpoints etc) if need to round it up to something specific.

    If you are unlikely to be doing any of that any time soon, but will be redeeming on Etihad etc that you'd otherwise have to transfer more flexible points for then it could easily be worth it in pure value terms.

    One thing to consider is transferring SPG/Marriott Point from your account to hers and then transferring across to her AA account (if you'd be transferring for a redemption anyway).

    Another thing you might want to calculate is the marginal cost of buying Miles in her account to get it to a useful level (maybe via the SPG 30% sale) over the cost of transferring them out.
     
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  3. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    They're certainly at the level where you wouldn't want them to expire. Of course there are various tricks to stop that from happening.
     
  4. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    I'm sure our relationship will "expire" before I let miles from myself or a family member expire! :)
     
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  5. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    I share the sentiment, but sometimes it's a mug's game to "finance" the longevity of miles if you've only got a few to start.

    Maybe you should upgrade your relationship;)
     
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  6. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    Yeah, I've thought about topping up via SPG as well. But then that also runs into the fact that a one-way EU-US is 57.5K miles in J. Except I can do the same flight via AS for 50K with a free stopover to play with. (or an IB+ for 34/42K Avios) So, why pay for SPG points or move mine to her account when I can do Marriott Travel Packages for AS miles...

    I am currently in the middle of a test to see whether AA will accept an E-Rewards credit from into her account from me. E-Miles failed as AA rejected the different names...

    Good luck with the AS. At least you can book nearly every partner online. But I see a lot of US domestic flights in your future! :)
     
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  7. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Haha yea, I was thinking more like Etihad to/from the ME maybe, where you can't really book for a better price anyway (I don't think?).

    On balance, my natural meanness would mean I'd prob just leave them where they are for the time being unless there was a pressing need.

    You know, I do love the US and there's still so many places I haven't been! The stopover on one-ways even on domestic routes could make for some very interesting/cheap routes hopping around a bit.
     
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  8. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    Problem number 17 with her AA account is that, when you provide a home address as Spain, then you can't book rewards online. So I switched it to an address in the States, which then goes haywire when she gets on the phone with AA and they ask her basic details to book a flight in my name from Abu Dhabi to wherever and she then pays the taxes with a Spanish credit card. Alarm bells all over the place... Should probably just share the miles and stop worrying about it.

    Ironically I was on the phone yesterday with Alaska. I have a few AA rewards booked, but when the inevitable schedule change comes they get all locked up. So I needed an agent to accept all of the changes. She was pretty impressed with my BCN-JFK-DCA, overnight layover then down to MIA, stopover there, then MIA-PHL overnight layover before continuing to YOW. :) And that was just one one-way reward!
     
  9. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Yes I can see all sorts of 'fun' with that - one element with Points/Miles that doesn't get mentioned much is reducing hassle as much as possible - or at least picking your battles sensibly. To book an awesome First Class award on a cheap award chart I'll put up with plenty, but if I could just pay £50 for a flight anyway and would otherwise have to deal with massive call centre waiting times and pot luck as to whether the agent has any clue what you're talking about (yes, I'm mostly talking about BAEC) etc, I'd much rather just pay the cash.

    No wonder the agent was impressed - I am!

    ...And people wonder why we keep banging on about Alaska Miles!
     
  10. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    Which leads to the debate about how useful miles are to someone who is willing to circuitous routes to earn and spend, versus someone who wants simple A to B normality.
     
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  11. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    True. I would have probably been happy with a direct BCN-MIA, but since that wasn't available I had to get creative.

    And there's a cheap Hyatt Centric in DC. Very useful since I've told Joe I'm going for 10 Hyatt brands! :)
     
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  12. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Excellent Point! - the challenge has been set. (even if you are still refusing to be our Ryanair conversion guinea pig! :) )
     
  13. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    Just say no, FP!
     
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  14. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    'Flying Guinea Piggie', right?
     
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  15. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    Last Ryanair flight was 2009. Long may it stay that way...
     
  16. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    Was just thinking the other day I haven't been in Peru in over a decade, to eat some guinea pig...
     
  17. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Haha - Ryanair don't fly there (yet) though! Give it a few more years...
     
  18. GnarlyOldGoatDude

    GnarlyOldGoatDude Active Member

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    My wife hadn't flown Ryanair before, but she flew them yesterday. I expected her to be a quivering wreck by the time she arrived in London, but she couldn't speak highly enough of them.
    Who is this person - where is the woman that I married? After a decade of premium cabin travel she enjoyed FR?
     
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  19. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Member

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    :eek: Note my point above about relationships expiring... [head shaking] :p
     
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  20. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Haha - yes that would certainly sting! Putting aside the possibility that your wife may have undergone extensive on board brainwashing, imagine all the money you could have saved over the years!
     
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