So I got a newsletter from my beloved only-major-airline-in-the-area-so-I'm-forced-to-use-their-frequent-miles-program airline (herein known as NWA) complete with my name in the headlines:"LJS you can save money using our Cash and Miles program"
I was enraptured. Two of my most favorite things 1) Travelling and 2) saving money; all rolled up into one sweet goodness of a deal!? I was panting with excitement, breathless with anticipation. Where would I go with my 36,000+ miles? Hawaii, Florida, Mexico?!?!
But then I read the promotion in more detail. Below is the most egregious example: Travel to Florida.
OK OK OK, you're reading that it's only $139 for roundtrip to Florida and thinking "that's not so bad, LJS is off her rocker" right? BUT! There are two issues, the first making me think that NWA is so very evel and the second making me think that people are seriously off their rocker to not research before spending money on travel.
So, in my very best McLaughlin voice...
If you were to buy miles from NWA, it would cost you about 3.8 cents for EACH mile. But the value of each mile is variable, depending on the normal cost of the trip.
So....0.038*10000=$380 at the high end. So that in addition to, at least, $139, and you're looking at a very expensive roundtrip ticket that would otherwise cost you...
...about $125-150 (taxes not included) from Detroit. A quick search on travelocity found this for me and potentially saved a bunch of money. Even better, most of the cheapie fares were through NWA's partner airlines, so you'd be earning miles not spending them.
All told, if you did the miles and cash "deal", your miles would only bring a value of 1.2 cents/mile which is a really poor number because it is the bare minimum value of a mile.
Bottom Line: Be smart about using your frequent flier miles. Know their value and use them wisely. I'll be saving my miles for Hawaii, where my miles would be worth anywhere between 2.5 and 4.0 cents/mile. :D