480,000 Miles (redeemed) later…

As I have blogged before, I have accumulated over a million miles over the years. I have collected these miles by flying, with credit cards and lots of free miles from various sources. I actually have never flown more than 60,000 miles in a any year (I am the ‘unroadwarrior’, after all). Most years I barely fly 35,000 to 40,000 in a typical year. Accumulating these miles took several years. So, redeeming 480,000 of them in just one go was painful.

I redeemed the miles for four seats in business class for a round trip from US to Asia. That’s 120,000 miles per ticket! Taking the whole family on a vacation this summer. While it hurt to see my balance on United fall to below 200,000 after the booking was made, I am sure this is going to be one trip where we will enjoy the flights as much as the actual vacation.

We will be flying three different airlines, due to connections – Lufthansa, Swiss and United. So, three different business class products to enjoy. As I mentioned in my earlier post, for one of the Lufthansa flights, we will actually be in the new 747-8i!

Finding the flights and making the award booking was an experience by itself, thanks to tight award availability and United’s current troubles with their phone and booking systems. I will post the painful details in a later post.

What have you redeemed miles for? Share by leaving a comment below.

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  1. I just redeemed 225K American miles for a trip in first class for 3 of us to Hawaii from Boston during school vacation next year. That was very painful – and it’s been challenging to get decent flights, but I know that our 8 nights in Kauai will be worth it. We will also be redeeming Ultimate rewards points via Chase for free nights at the Grand Hyatt and points and cash for the St Regis Princeville – should be a great vacation, but I had letting go of my precious points 🙂

  2. Nadine, thanks for sharing. I am sure that will be a great trip. Hawaii in FC is worth the miles!

  3. I just redeemed 5 business class seats for an outbound on CX from LAX-KUL. For the return we will have the kids in J and the wife in I in F, BKK-HKG-JFK. That’s 575,000 miles. It was sad to see my account balance go to 28K miles, but that’s what they are there for!

  4. You have the miles, you should used them! Earn and Burn is the right strategy, happy to hear that you get to travel with your whole family in business all with the help of miles!

    It always hurts just a bit redeeming miles and balances droping down, but those picture albulms, scrapbooks and life-time of stories are worth every single mile (or 100,000+ miles).



  5. @Mike, way to go! Enjoy the Business and First class seats on CX! and the trip…

  6. @PedroNY, could not agree with you more. You earn miles to redeem them (and for status…). This is my largest redemption to date. Looking forward to the trip… Thanks for your comment.

  7. This is the year for me to use up my miles. I have three trips from New York to Bangkok and return, one trip from JFK to Barcelona returning from Lisbon and in connection with a cruise, one trip to Dubai, returning from Capetown and I still have 900,000 miles left between my wife and myself.

  8. Wife and I are headed to Argentina in LA C and AA F in August. We both got the 100K BA signup last year and booked the tickets 2 days before the Avios devaluation. We’re excited. Trip can’t get here fast enough.

    Good news: between the two of us, still have 900,000 points and miles.

    Bad news: I have more miles than I do time to use them

  9. My Miles philosophy: Use ’em or lose ’em. Or at the least, use ’em or sit back and watch your their value go down and down the longer you let them collect dust.
    Personally, I find looking at pictures of wonderful experiences with family and friends memorable trips around the world made possible by frequent flyer miles much more enjoyable and fulfilling than looking at a computer screen with a big frequent flyer miles total on my account page. (Especially knowing that that total number is probably worth a little less since the last time I looked at it!)

  10. @chris, thanks for sharing. Depreciation – of money and miles is here to stay. As airlines struggle, I believe that the depreciation will only get worse. Be it in the guise of miles needed to redeem, co-pays, surcharges, fees or just lack of award availability.

  11. A whole heaping pile of miles and points for a 15 day European tour this summer to celebrate my wife graduating from her medical residency. Berlin -> Prague -> Vienna -> Lucerne -> Geneva and first class airfare in both directions…

  12. Nadine – Would like to hear your trip report on Grand Hyatt. I stayed at St. Regis Princeville last year and it is an excellent property with service at its best. We now compare every hotel it to decide if we will stay there again or not. I would like to stay at the Grand Hyatt next time we go to Kauai.

  13. Think of the stories your kids will share about their overseas trip being in BUISNESS class. Not many will EVER have that opportunity. I can’t even county how many trans-continentals I’ve been on – in coach. Still have never been in the front of a place, unless it was a SW-737

  14. @unroadwarrior your offer to accept my miles is tempting. I’ll have to think about it.

    Keep up the great work on the blog!

    P.S. I know wrong post, but I was able to watch the shuttle by jumping over the fence on the roof of my office building. Got yelled at, but it was worth it.

  15. Wow! That’s awesome. Hope you have a great time in India — it’s a beautiful country, but make sure you plan ahead and allow plenty of time for traffic. I’m in India right now on a 120k DL award ticket, and got to experience the A380 in business, AF YUL-CDG.

    BTW — I feel your pain. I redeemed 840k DL Skymiles last year for 7 of us to fly business class to India. Was the first time in India for 5 of us. Saved up for this trip for over 10 years, and was well worth it, had an awesome time, plus got to spend one full day in Paris.

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