Our last trip to China involved a redemption of 55K frequent flier miles for business over and 67.5K miles for first class on the return, as that was all that was available. That is the second time I booked a segment of international first class. The first time I did it was Sydney to Los Angeles and I did not see the added value. When we decided to come home early from China, we were thrilled that they found us seats back in business class. That was all we needed. We didn’t need to meet “Dom” and his buddies. Just get us home in comfort.
Let’s be honest here: Most of us can’t and won’t pay for first class seats with CASH. In all reality, most of us can’t and won’t pay CASH for business class international, either. It is just too expensive and makes no sense. But if you can get business class for miles (which is way out of our price range anyway), why pay the extra miles for first class?
As for using miles for domestic itineraries, Hell Yes I Do. I am accumulating miles on credit card sign-ups for under .2 cents each. That is less than one quarter of one cent each. If I can use 25K miles and fly from Savannah to Sioux Falls and save $600+ Hell Yes, count me in for redeeming for domestic coach. I’m not trying to impress anybody. Just get me from point A to point B. I didn’t buy a new car until I was 60 and the suntan I got on my used sailboat felt just a good as the guy’s with the new boat. I just didn’t have a boat payment.
I love my wife, the Katybug. She has set some pretty reasonable guidelines for our travel. If the trip is over three hours, try for domestic first class and if international long haul, get business class redemptions. My guidelines for domestic paid tickets is to get at least two cents per mile and always leave enough miles in each airline account for at least one international business class award.
Hotel redemptions: I redeem for regular rooms and mostly at three or four star hotels. No suites for me unless I receive them for free based on my status with a hotel program. If I find curly hairs behind the bathroom door or toothpaste spit on the sink drain, I’m outta there. If it’s clean, quiet, and safe, I’m a happy camper. The St. Regis and Conrads make me feel like I need to wear shoes. I’m a flip flop and Waffle House kinda guy.
Here’s my summary of travel suggestions for the extreme ends of the scale:
If you are forcing your partner to endure coach travel for extended hours of time on international itineraries, consider moving up to business class. You are just using miles anyway.