How much are frequent flyer miles "worth"? Five route/fare scenarios

How much are frequent flyer miles "worth"? Five route/fare scenarios:

Route

Class of service

Airline

Typical round-trip fare if purchased, including taxes

Typical miles required round-trip (airline)

Taxes/fees on frequent flyer ticket

Value proposition What your miles are worth including taxes/fees (cents/mile)

New York to LA

Economy

American

$259

25,000 to 60,000

$5

Poor value. Your miles are worth 1 to .4 cents each. The good news is that it’s usually easy to find seats at the 25,000 mile level on this route, if you’re flexible in your flight times and dates.

Chicago to Bangkok

Business class

Star Alliance partner using US Airways Dividend miles

$6079

90,000

$100 (approx.)

Assuming you can find seats, your miles would be worth 7 cents each, which is good value.

LA to Honolulu

First class

Delta

$1482

75,000 to 180,000

$5

Most likely you’ll have to fork over the full 180,000 miles for this popular route, so your miles would be worth just .8 cents each

San Francisco to New York

Economy to Business class upgrade

United

$2700 for business class, upgraded from $600 economy class

30,000

$100 co-pay roundtrip

Great way to spend miles. For 30,000 miles you get $2700-$700=$2000 in value;  your miles are worth 6.6 cents each

Dallas to London

Business class

British Airways

$5300 (nonstops)

100,000

$665

For 100,000 miles you get $5300-$665 in value for 4.6 cents per mile.

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