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Advice please! What’s my best option for redeeming for EK F?
So I had been planning for over a year to redeem AS miles for 2 F award tickets on EK for next March, HKG-DXB-LAX/SFO-SEA. Then — boom — the big surprise devaluation hit, and what would have cost 200K miles now costs 360K miles. Fortunately we still have more than enough miles to cover the increase, but that’s a lot of miles. (We still do want to fly EK, so not really interested in alternate airlines right now.)
We also have ~160K Starpoints to play with. We can redeem on 110K of them with JAL to get an award for 1 of us HKG-DXB-LAX at 135K miles (the transfer of 110K Starpoints would yield 135K JAL miles). I’d have to buy the LAX-SEA ticket separately, which at the moment costs $188 in F.
On the face of it, this seems the smart move. Get one ticket from AS at 180K miles for HKG-DXB-LAX-SEA, get another ticket from JAL at 110K Starpoints/135K miles for HKG-DXB-LAX, and pay $188 for the final LAX-SEA segment in F. (DXB-SFO would require fewer JAL miles, but as luck would have it, there is virtually no F award availability to SFO.)
But this would come at the cost of almost all our Starpoints, which could be used for so many other things down the road, given all of their transfer partners; it would leave us with 180K more AS miles, though.
What would you do? Go for the cheapest option which is one ticket with AS miles and 1 tickets with Starpoints/JAL miles, or figure we have enough AS miles to do it all with them, save the cash for LAX-SEA, and save the Starpoints for a wide range of future travel options?
As a side note, I’m curious if you all would think of the cost of the ticket on JAL as 110K miles (the number of Starpoints I’d have to transfer) or 135K miles (the number of JAL miles required and what those Starpoints convert to). Mentally it has a big impact on what you think of as the “cost” of the JAL ticket.
Thanks for your help! I’m really curious what you all would do.
Kind of tough. You can still redeem AS miles on other partners – there’s still value there. But if you didnt care much about those partners and only wanted EK awards (regardless of whether now or even further in the future), then I say use the AS miles.
On the flip side, Starpoints might be gone in 2 years, so it [I]could [/I]make sense to transfer them now. However, we dont know how those will convert to Marriott points so its hard to judge. Furthermore, Starpoints are still valuable and more flexible than AS miles.
What are you doing about hotels in HKG or Dubai? You could use some Starpoints for hotels there instead.
Ultimately miles and points are meant to be used. I agree that EK awards are very pricey right now but if that’s something you really want to try, the price isn’t going to get any cheaper and who knows what other complications and devaluations may come in the future? Use your points and enjoy them! 🙂
[QUOTE=”Gaurav, post: 15799, member: 79″]Ultimately miles and points are meant to be used. I agree that EK awards are very pricey right now but if that’s something you really want to try, the price isn’t going to get any cheaper and who knows what other complications and devaluations may come in the future? Use your points and enjoy them! :)[/QUOTE]
Thanks, Gaurav. I totally agree, which is why we’re still going to do it, the question is just which is a better way to go about it. “Cheaper” (AS + SPG/JMB) is always one way to look at it, but there’s also the opportunity cost — and I was just looking for some guidance/opinions about whether the greater opportunity cost of using the Starpoints for other things in the future (even though there are still several good uses of AS miles for us) is more or less important than the cheaper cost of using Starpoints for one of the EK F tickets.
For example, I take a yearly trip to the UK from Seattle and can’t see that changing any time soon (at least I hope not). The fuel surcharges on BA are ridiculous, and so DL is the best option for that. One might argue I should keep the Starpoints for direct transfer to DL for future trips to the UK. (Sure you can use AS miles on DL, but only for roundtrips and only for the cheapest possible awards.)
Would love your and others’ thoughts on this.
Amex MR points are easier to obtain compared to Starpoints so I’d transfer those to DL instead, and you can fly on VS, if you didnt mind a connection. I feel like Starpoints are best saved for airlines that cant have miles transferred from Ames MR, Citi TY or Chase UR points, or for hotel stays.
If you have Chase UR points, those are transferable to United and Korean Air. UA has some pretty good routing rules while KE charges just 80k round trip for business class from US to Europe. While either option will need connections from Seattle, it can be a very good value
It’s worth noting that on occasion there have been issues where when one award is booked from an account, Emirates will pull the remaining space (or at least partners will be temporarily unable to access it). Beyond that, in the case of irregular operations, the person on a single ticket would be rerouted (maybe via SFO, for example), and would be protected all the way back to Seattle. The other person would only be guaranteed a ticket as far as Los Angeles, which could get ugly.
If you were my client, I would advise against the risk since this sounds like it’s a very special trip for you, and would book both tickets through Alaska.
In terms of the math — I’m not sure booking through JAL is [I]that[/I] much better of a deal in your case anyway. Sure, it’s fewer miles, but it’s still 110k SPG points. Plus $188. And a lot of potential hassle. SPG points are [I]much[/I] harder to accrue than Alaska miles, with a higher opportunity cost to their use.
So I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Alaska miles, personally, even though the new pricing stings.