to travel / saving miles for a rainy day

Another Thanksgiving in Paris!

Bastille Day under the Eiffel, 2007.

I’ve always gotten Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) off. This year, I’m also getting the Wednesday off, so it got me thinking — I should go somewhere! But, it has to be relaxing and thinking about the trip can’t stress me out. As much as I would love to cross another city off my list, I need some R&R in a more familiar setting. Paris quickly came to mind as a bosom friend moved there not so long ago and I like visiting cities where I’ve knocked out most of the touristy sites so I can relax and enjoy the city. Not to mention, I miss quality time with my friend.

I’m not in the mood to spend beyond a crazy bargain fare for a flight. As luck would have it, I have a small hoard of airline miles across American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, and United/Continental. I typically don’t fly airlines that don’t accumulate miles on these airlines and will even pay a teensy bit more in order to accumulate miles on my target (currently United/Continental). Tip: make sure you check the classes of each leg against the airlines’ policy. Some airlines won’t credit you until you fly a certain, more expensive class.

I did a quick search online (too lazy to broaden my search) and American Airlines was the winner. 40,000 miles for a direct roundtrip. After details of the United/Continental merger sifted out, I am wondering if I should’ve focused on AA instead. Their awards have been the most useful. “Cheap” awards in general, great award availability calendar, one-way redemptions, and you can hold a reservation without booking. Not to mention I have a healthy flow of miles on a monthly basis, thanks to my current rent payment arrangement. Here were the losers:

  • British Airways — I need to figure out what to do with these miles soon. I don’t intend on using BA miles on BA flights — flight surcharges — and NYC-Europe will always only be redeemable on BA flights. I might use them on Cathay Pacific, but I haven’t had time to research the upcoming changes yet.
  • Delta — They had some 60k flights. Delta Sky”Pesos” are the most useless miles. It shouldn’t be a surprise that they were the easiest to accumulate.
  • United — their awards are always not to cheap. Also 60k in this case, but with a stop. Who wants to stop at O’Hare?
  • Continental — Also 60k, with stops. Star Alliance options with stops have taken over their award inventory.

Well, it’s a good thing I put the AA award res on hold because my return date is already gone for the 20k bucket. I have more than 24 hours to decide. I’ll probably have this booked by the time this blog goes live.


Keep an eye on promotions for redeeming miles. Some current examples:

I went to Shanghai once for 45k, which I thought wasn’t bad, especially when I got the miles through a credit card offer. I subscribe to a few blogs that are excellent at highlighting these offers.


And this post is one example why I don’t like redeeming miles for “expensive”, domestic flights. Unless, it was for a rainy day.

5 thoughts on “to travel / saving miles for a rainy day”

    1. You do have more reason to love AA — you’re in a hub city.

      The expiring miles thing really shouldn’t be an issue. I’ll save that for another post.

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