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

October 20, 2010
Fares from Washington DC:

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


    Class of service


    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




    25,000 to 60,000


    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



    $100 (approx.)

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

    LA to Honolulu

    First class



    75,000 to 180,000


    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


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


    $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)



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