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February 7, 2006

Ask Mr. Mileage

Dear Mr. Mileage:

I have a lot of Membership Rewards points. What are my best options for redemption?

Your Wicked Stepmother

Dear Wicked Stepmother:

Needless to say, Mr. Mileage jumped on this request with great alacrity.

Membership Rewards can be converted to 14 different airlines. Skyteam and Star Alliance are represented, Oneworld isn't really - you can get certificates for discounted economy fares on Cathay Pacific and Qantas, but that's not what we want.

Which are the best transfers? The answer depends on where you want to go. All of these awards are in business class. Would I stick you and Dad in Economy?

If you want to go to South America, I suggest transferring the miles to Aeroplan. A Star Alliance flight to South America (that would probably be on Air Canada, United or Varig) is 75,000 miles.

If you want to go to Europe and the distance is under 8,000 miles total (JFK to Berlin is about as far as you can go), I suggest transferring to ANA Mileage Club. The rewards are distance based and the magic number is under 8,000 miles roundtrip. That award is only 65,000 miles. It's the same situation as Cathay Pacific for Star Alliance members. You could fly United, Lufthansa, Air Canada or Singapore Airlines among others.

For Asia, there are two possible options. Mexicana partners with several airlines, including Singapore Airlines. A roundtrip award to Asia is 90,000 miles. Australia or Oceania on either Singapore or Air New Zealand is 100,000 miles. If you'd be better off flying on Skyteam, then Aeromexico may work better. Awards to North Africa are 80,000 miles, Southeast Asia is 95,000 miles, India is 100,000 miles.

Needless to say, first ascertain routing and availability as best you can. The airline that offers the lowest theoretical partner award might not have a partner that flies where you want to go, or if it flies there they may not have award availability. Once you know you can get the ticket, then transfer the miles.

Bon voyage!

Your scheming stepson.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at February 7, 2006 12:20 AM

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You are the master!!!! Now if only I can get your father to commit to a trip...

Love, & thanks.

Posted by: Wicked Stepmother at February 9, 2006 8:17 PM

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