In a few weeks, I’ll be headed to Las Vegas for the New Media Expo with some fellow bloggers. As soon as I found out I’d be going, I had set a mental reminder to monitor EWR to LAS fares, hoping I’d find one in the $250 RT range. Well to my surprise, I found out that my conference partially overlaps with the Consumer Electronics Show, so that’s why it seemed like it was almost impossible for me to snag a decent fare.
I held off on booking until the very last minute, hoping that fares would come down, but they never did. Finally at the 3-weeks-out mark, it was time for me to make a move. Though I usually like to hold on to my United miles and Ultimate Rewards points for more “valuable” International first class redemptions, I could not justify spending $500-$800 on a round trip flight to Vegas, so it was time to dig into my reserve.
Usually when I fly domestically, I resort to British Airways Avios to fly on American Airlines, but because that program is distance and segment based, it would have “cost” me 17,500 Avios each way for the dates I wanted, because there weren’t any direct flights available.
Since I had lucked out with my “delayed” flight experience during my recent trip to Costa Rica, I saw that 12,500 United miles had posted to my account as a “customer care appreciation bonus”. Bingo – there’s my one way to Vegas. I booked EWR-LAS for a grand total of 12,500 miles and $5.00, when the fare was advertised at $442.60, making it a redemption value of approximately 3.5 CPM.
For my LAS-EWR return, I saw that I had 4,500 Rapid Rewards points in my Southwest account that I had sitting there from years back. Since I hardly fly on Southwest, I figured this would be my moment to put those points to use. I instantly transferred 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points into my Southwest account and was able to book my return flight for 9,480 RR points and $2.50. Not bad.
In the end, I am pretty stoked that points and miles were able to save the day once again. What were some instances you experienced where it made sense to you to use “valuable” miles for domestic flights?