Forgive the clickbait headline. But truth be told, we really are flying for an out-of-pocket expense of less than $25. How? Thanks for asking!
Not all trips on points and miles are glamourous. Some are rather plain, yet important. Like when you and your wife want to fly to Charlotte for a friend’s wedding in little over than a month from now.
When I first started looking at flights, I was like “That’s like less than 500 miles. It can’t be that expensive of a flight.”
It really shouldn’t be. I mean we could drive there in 7 1/2 hours. So what’s a reasonable amount of airfare. $200 Round Trip? Maybe $250, right?
Nope. Let’s actually start the bidding at $293. That’s if we were willing to be at the airport for a 6:30 AM flight. Oh, heck no! So we are on to Plan B, using our airline miles.
I started my search with American, as they have many daily departures on this route. My hopes weren’t too high as I just read a post by Gary on View From the Wing about how poor award availability on American Airlines has been as of late. To my amazement, I was able to find space for 2 tickets at Saver pricing for a decent time flight to Charlotte. American was charging 7,500 miles for the flight, so that would be 15,000 for the one way trip plus $11.20 in taxes.
I have a good amount of American points stashed away so I could have made this booking. However, this is where my mind goes into miles overdrive mode. I also have points in British Airways program from getting their credit card last year with a 75,000 Avios bonus (Avios is the name that British Airways gives to their mileage currency.) Since the amount of British Airways Avios required for a ticket is based on the miles flown, this short flight would only cost me 7,500 Avios (or 15,000 for the two tickets). This is the same amount as the miles required by American Airlines. Since British Airways and American are partners, any Saver space with American should be available to book with Avios through the British Airways website. An advantage to booking with British Airways over American is the difference in cancellation policies. With American, if I want to cancel the flight I would have to pay $150 to redeposit the miles into my account. If I cancel the same flight booked with Avios, I will only be responsible for the taxes paid on the ticket. I found out about this trick from this Million Miles Secrets article. I can vouch that this works as I’ve rebooked a ticket with Avios before and only had to pay $5.60. The British Airways phone agent even suggested this was the best way for me to rebook my flights.
I booked my flight to Charlotte for $11.20 (and 15,000 Avios). So now, how to get home?
Forget flights on American for Sunday night, as the one way was pricing for over $350 each person. I don’t think so; not for that price. Even flights on Southwest were expensive.
I find this next sentence difficult to write:
Delta Airlines Skymiles to the rescue.
Delta Skymiles have long been the whipping boy of the miles and points blogosphere (they are often referred to as SkyPesos). Most writers love to complain about how Delta no longer posts mileage charts and changes what they make you pay for flights on a whim. While this is true, most other airlines have gotten as bad (or worse) for using your points for economy flights in the U.S.
I found a flight home on Delta which would have cost us $185 each. It meant connecting in Atlanta but that’s not too bad since it’s not out of the way. Delta was also offering it for 14,500 Skymiles. The gold standard price for a one way flight in the US is 12,500 miles (25,000 for a round trip), Now considering that American was asking 20,000 miles for a flight, I bit the bullet and booked the flight home with Delta for 29,000 Skymiles and $11.20
All of these plans might have changed if we were flying on a different day. Frontier flies from Orlando to Charlotte for $105 Round Trip but, alas, they did not have flights on our required days.
I’ve read on how to not get hosed on Frontier tickets, so I was confident I could book without any unknown fees biting me in the behind. Sharon, on the other hand, was still very skeptical about it and is happier with the booking we’ve made. I still think Frontier has cool designs on their planes, even if we don’t fly with them.
So that’s how we are going to fly to Charlotte for $25 (actually $22.40, 29,000 Delta Skymiles and 15,000 British Airways Avios) Since those miles were earned mainly through credit card bonuses, this was really a no brainer. We have no plans for any of those miles in the near future and I can earn 45,000 miles back with another sign up bonus.
What’s your most boring, yet valuable, booking with your points or miles? Share with us here, Facebook or Twitter.