Many of you will have read about this a few months ago, when the rate reduction took place. I did, and I even noted it in my list of redemption sweet spots, but still I completely forgot about it – until I went to lifemiles.com to look for an award ticket, expecting the old price of 12,500 miles each way. I’m now a proud owner of the same ticket for 15,000 lifemiles round trip + $36 in taxes and fees (LM charges a $25 fee for every redemption). This is just a reminder in case you, like me, forgot about this sweet spot. I’m happy though to see the reduced rate reflected on sites like milez.biz; it’s a good idea to look there once in a while.
As you will recall, 7,500 miles each way applies to flights wholly within any of the the US zones (1, 2, or 3). For more info, see this OMAAT post. My flight was within US 2. In this case, I couldn’t have used my favorite domestic currency – Southwest – because I needed a specific time. United was the best choice for operating airline and had surprisingly award availability on multiple nonstop flights. I say “surprisingly” because I’m booking just one month out and historically I often can’t find much availability 6 months out with United. Anyway, I value United miles extremely highly and would have used Singapore KrisFlyer miles if LifeMiles didn’t pan out – which it often doesn’t due to its laughably fragile website. My experience is that if United shows 50 saver options, Aeroplan will show 20 (with some truly asinine choices that no one with a brain will ever take), and Lifemiles will show maybe 5. Yes, Lifemiles is really terrible with availability in my experience, which makes it not worth much to me. But when it works, like this time, it’s great. I didn’t get an email confirmation (yet), but I see a ticket number on checkmytrip.com, so I think I’m good.
For what it’s worth, the cheapest paid fare for the required time is around $320. This particular United flight would have been $340. I’m quite content to have it for 15,000 lifemiles + $36.
As a reminder, AA also has reduced mileage awards that change periodically, though you must have a qualifying AAdvantage credit card. Also, with LifeMiles, flights between US 1 and US 2 are now 10,000 miles – a modest saving.