A few months ago I was able to jump on a great deal for Business Class tickets aboard British Airways from San Francisco to Europe for just $1,700. Although it’s a little bit less of a great deal when you factor in the $250 that British Airways is asking for in order to select seats in advance.
At the time, it was a no-brainer for me to credit this flight to Alaska Airlines, since I’d need the elite qualifying miles to re-qualify for status, and as an existing elite I’d receive a 100% bonus. But now things are a bit more complicated.
As Gary outlines here in his post, British Airways and American Airlines are both running similar promotions that provide up to 25,000 bonus miles (up to a maximum of 125,000 bonus miles) for round-trip transatlantic flights between September 22, 2015 and January 31, 2016. The key difference between the promotions appears to be that British Airways will only permit new bookings between the promotional time period, whereas American Airlines’ promotion applies to pre-existing bookings as well.
The details are spelled out in the chart below:
So here’s where it gets tricky for me – even with a higher class of service bonus and my Alaska Airlines elite bonus, I’d still earn fewer redeemable miles (29,290) than I would with American Airlines (39,645) because of the promotion. But while I’d earn 10,000+ more miles with American, I’d be foregoing the elite qualifying miles that I had been banking on with Alaska to re-qualify for status.
So the question boils down to this: what are those Alaska EQM’s worth? Here’s where my net cost tool comes in handy.
Since I’m valuing any American Airlines EQM’s earned at $0 since they have no impact on my status in any way, at a RDM valuation of 2.0 cpm, the net cost of my flight goes down to $907.
I value Alaska miles slightly higher than American’s (due to the ability to book 1-way stopovers) at 2.25 cpm. Therefore, the question in this scenario becomes what value to place on the EQM’s in order to break even.
The answer is between 0.5 and 1.0cpm, or 0.76 cpm to be exact. And since I’m in need to these miles to re-qualify, you can bet that I’m placing a significantly higher valuation on them than that.
Now, if I didn’t need those elite qualifying miles or if the difference in redeemable miles between the scenarios was bigger, then the answer might be different.
But in this case I am sticking to Alaska Airlines – would you do the same?