Picking the right Airline Program!
There are obviously more than 2 airline programs, these are the 2 we focus on at borderfreetravel.com.
Today, I helped 2 different co-workers find flights for 2 different destinations using their points and I learned a couple of new things.
I learned Avios is still my preferred program for flying and here is why.
One person wanted to fly 2 people to Las Vegas from our area, which is Detroit or Toronto.
Using her Avios from Detroit, it ended up costing 60,000 Avios and $20.00
Using Avios from Toronto is a few more Avios, and higher taxes.
Using Aeroplan from Detroit it costs 50,000 Aeroplan and $61.00
Using Aeroplan from Toronto is costs 50,000 Aeroplan and $303.00
So, her best plan would have been the Aeroplan from Detroit which uses 50,000 total points and $61.00.
The thing I don’t like about using your points here are the taxes Aeroplan charges, specifically from Toronto – that’s way too much.
Aeroplan is straightforward in their redemptions for miles in that a flight within Canada and US is 25,000 points plus taxes.(not including short hauls – 15000 points)
Avios is distance based and that is why I like them more.
The flights I prefer (to Florida) are 20,000 from Detroit and 15,000 Avios points per flight from Cleveland which saves us 5000-10000 points per flight.
Also, there are bonus redemptions with AMEX MR points where they sometimes give you up to 50% more Avios when you redeem them online. Last Canadian redemption was for 50% more in March, 2013.
The second scenario involved flying 1 person from our area to Paris, France.
Using his Avios from Detroit, it ended up costing 49000 Avios and $719
Using his Avios from Toronto it ended up costing 49000 Avios and $405
Using Aeroplan from Detroit it was 60000 Aeroplan and $805
Using Aeroplan from Toronto it was 59500 Aeroplan and $615.
So, his best plan would be the Avios from Toronto which uses 49000 Avios and $405.
So, you can see there are differet scenarios depending on where you want to go – and different tax charges for sure.
When I checked Australia for someone, it ended up being through American Airlines from our area (75,000 points), but you need to get those points – there are ways through the Amex cards.
So, now I’ll do some math to see if using these points is worth it rather than paying cash.
Las Vegas scenario – 2 people – 50,000 Aeroplan + 61.00
I have looked for Las Vegas flights in the summer before, and I’m going to give this flight a ballpark $350 figure and checking Expedia as I write this, that is about correct.
So: the 2 flights would be $700.00 total or 50,000 Aeroplan + 61.00
You are getting $639/50000 or 1.3 cents per Aeroplan – not great, but hey you are using them up and getting pretty close to free flights.
Paris, France scenario – 1 person – 49000 Avios + 405.00
He told me he couldn’t find anything under $1400, I looked and found about $1200, so let’s split the difference and call this a $1300 flight.
So: the flight would be $1300.00 total or 49000 Avios + 405.00
You are getting $895/49000 or 1.8 cents per Avios – better!
In conclusion, perhaps open both accounts and gather points in both so when a scenario comes up where using one over the other is advantageous, you have the points ready!
If you do a little math when you book your flights, you can save alot of money!
These are the 2 cards that get you there!
Amex Gold Rewards Card – 25,000 MR points on sign up – fee waived first year.
Amex AeroGold Card – 30,000 Aeroplan (when referred) – fee waived first year.
See our Amex page for details on those – essentially 2 free flights for you there!