Thursday, May 8, 2014

My highest domestic economy redemption yet!!

Here's another real-world example for you: a good friend in Detroit wanted to come visit us in NYC for a long weekend. Fares between Detroit and NYC are notoriously high for last-minute travel so the only way it was going to work is if I could find a reward seat. As I mentioned before, flying on points is usually best when you either book very far in advance or very last minute, and since he was proposing flying here tonight or tomorrow, I was somewhat hopeful. 

As I've discussed in my tips, I priced out the flight and the cheapest non-stop I could find was a whopping $844 – even when I tried different days and times. Going with a 1-stop option got the price down to $550, but that's still really expensive and it tripled the length of travel time for him. 

I logged in to and found out that a non-stop itinerary was going to be 65,000 miles (32.5k each way...

United was a little better, but he would have missed all of Friday coming on the Saver seat, so it would have cost 30,000 miles to get him here Friday morning and home Monday evening. 

I logged in to British Airways and lo and behold, I found Saver award space on their partner American for 9,000 points round-trip at exactly the times we wanted!

So if we go back and do the math, I managed to get 9.4¢ per mile ($844 ÷ 9000) on a domestic economy redemption!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Skymark starting A380 service between Tokyo and NYC in fall

Looks like another airline is trying the "no economy seats" thing. This time, it's Skymark, a discount carrier from Japan. They're outfitting a double-decker A380 with 34" Premium Economy downstairs and 60" angled lie-flat business class seats upstairs.

While this type of service always sounds glamorous and exciting to me, I'm not particularly optimistic it will do well. There have been several attempts at this and none of them seem to last very long. British Airways had their "OpenSkies" brand offering all business class flights between NY/DC and Paris but they eventually decided to install a normal compliment of economy class seats. Singapore Airlines discontinued its all-business class flight from Newark. SilverJet, Eos, and MaxJet all offered similar service and all are now out of business. The only surviving example I know of is British Airways' JFK – London City service.

Given how short the flight from NYC to London is (just over 6 hours in the air), people might be more inclined to spring for a bit of luxury to make the 15 hour trip to Tokyo more pleasant. If nothing else, I hope the addition of 400+ seats a day on the JFK – NRT route will drive down prices on the other carriers.

full story here