Category Archives: MileValue

Amazing Drone Footage of Mexico City Airport

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How this only has 3,000 views is beyond me!

A drone was allowed by Mexico City airport authorities and airline pilots to fly over the airport and film taxis, take offs, and landings from a perspective I’ve never seen before. It’s a fascinating three minutes.

Announcing Los Angeles MileValue Dinner Sunday 9/21

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All 30 spots are full and there is a wait list for cancellations that is already 10+ deep, so no new RSVPs can be accepted. I love the great response, so I’ll try to have more.

I’m excited to announce a MileValue dinner this Sunday, September 21, in Los Angeles (90006) at 6 PM. I chose an earlier start time, since it’s a work night.

This is the first one in Los Angeles in eleven months, and I think the fourth LA dinner overall. I love the MileValue dinners in Los Angeles, which have had attendees from all over Southern California at all miles collecting and redeeming levels.

Full details and how to RSVP

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How and Why I Was Totally Wrong about the Avios Devaluation

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Sunday I read a post on Gary Leff’s blog that said that Iberia Avios had massively devalued its award chart for flights on oneworld airlines.

I looked up the Iberia award chart for oneworld flights and came to the same conclusion as Gary–that Iberia had put out a new, worse award chart. I wrote a post Sunday and another yesterday about the changes and how to beat them.

It turns out my posts were mistaken. Iberia hasn’t touched its award chart since November 2011.

The reason I was wrong is that I had misunderstood Iberia’s program. I had thought it was identical to British Airways’ program (except that Iberia charges lower fuel surcharges on its own flights.) In fact, it had always had a far worse award chart for most flights than British Airways offers.

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Iberia’s Terrible Award Chart (Then & Now)

My goal is to know everything about every frequent flyer program to wring out the best deals for myself and pass them along to my readers. I came up short of that goal in my posts about an Avios devaluation that never happened. I’ll keep working towards my goal though, (and tomorrow I expect to make a very valuable contribution to the milesphere.)

  • Who gets credit for figuring out my mistake about Iberia Avios?
  • Why do I now think that we won’t see a no-notice British Airways Avios devaluation?
  • What will I do not to repeat my mistake?

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My Interview at Airline Miles Experts

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Check out my interview at Airline Miles Experts.

It’s short and gives some insight into me, the blog, and my travel mindset. Excerpt:

With many airlines struggling financially, do you think that they will eventually scale back their rewards card offerings?

If so, we should take advantage of the awesome current values now.

If not, we should take advantage now and later.

I sure hope programs aren’t scaled back, but whether they are or not does not change my strategy of maximizing them in the present.



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Pay to Save on Your Big Vacation from The List TV ft. Me

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A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by The List in Phoenix for a segment on using frequent flyer miles.

You can check out the interview here:

If you’re in Phoenix, Tampa, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, West Palm, or Tulsa, you can watch The List every weeknight.

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Just a Few Spots Remain for Saturday Night Dinner in Honolulu

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Just a few spots remain for the dinner this Saturday, May 31 at 7 PM in Honolulu.

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Announcing a MileValue Dinner May 31 on Oahu

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I’m very excited to announce the second MileValue dinner on Oahu on Saturday, May 31 at 7 PM at a Thai place town-side.

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An unfortunately dark picture at the last dinner. I’ll use flash this time!

Some of the airline programs offer Hawaii-based flyers a drastically different value proposition than they offer mainland flyers, so it will be fun to talk to people from a Hawaii perspective that you don’t normally see on any blogs including this one.

Like past MileValue dinners, this one will be:

  • Free, other than the cost of your meal.
  • Split checks, so we can all show off our credit cards. ;)
  • Entrees under $20.
  • Limited to 30 people.
  • Open to people of all miles-knowledge levels.
  • Informational. There will be no prepared remarks, but I will be happy to answer all the questions that you may have about earning and redeeming miles or my recent travels.
  • Possibly full of secret info people won’t post online (and no, I won’t email it to people who can’t attend).
  • Social, a great chance to meet other people in this hobby from Oahu (or on vacation) and talk travel.

If you want to join the fun, there is only one way to RSVP:

Email me at scott@milevalue.com.

I am limiting this event to 30 folks on a first come, first served basis, so that I have a chance to meet everyone. (And I’ll do a better job of this than I did last time!)

Once you email me, I’ll get back to in a few days with the restaurant details.

I’m looking forward to seeing many familiar and new faces at the dinner. Remember there is only one way to RSVP for the dinner on Oahu at 7 PM on May 31: by emailing me.

If you won’t be on Oahu, hopefully I’ll see you somewhere else along me travels. I’m very likely to hold a Los Angeles dinner on September 20, 2014. (Don’t RSVP now. An official announcement will be made in September if this happens.)

Where should I host MileValue dinners in the future?

MileValue Was Down Twice in the Last Week!

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MileValue has gone down twice in the last week.

The site was down for almost 48 hours starting last Wednesday because I screwed up while moving the site to a private server to keep up with growing readership.

Luckily a loyal reader helped get the site back up about 24 hours earlier than it otherwise would have been up. Check out @pcg on twitter. He’s a wizard with WordPress and web hosting (and judging by his twitter handle, an early adopter of twitter.)

Yesterday, the site also went down for about 12 hours. This time, it was swept up in a huge problem my hosting company, Host Gator, was having with a lot of its sites.

These are two of only three times that the site has had any serious down time in the last two years.

What can you do when the site is down to still get the latest information about miles and points?

Make sure you are

signed up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! It’s totally free, and you can unsubscribe at any time (if you like making huge mistakes.) Subscribers saw my latest posts from right before each of the site’s meltdowns.

In the meantime, it looks like all the site’s hosting issues are solved, so you can look forward to an uninterrupted stream of news and analysis from here on out. (And not the boring kind, the kind that gets you free travel in luxury!)



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MileValue Meet Up in New York City Tomorrow Monday for Happy Hour

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There will be a MileValue meet up tomorrow (2/17/14) at The Australian at 20 W 38th St in Manhattan from 5 PM to 8 PM.

I’ve wanted to hold a meet up in New York City for quite a long time. Unfortunately I will only be there from Monday through Thursday, so I can’t hold a customary MileValue dinner. And I really apologize for not having my other plans set soon enough to give more than 24 hours notice.

But I hope everyone will be able to join me for Happy Hour at the Australian. I’ll make sure I am there from 5 PM to 8 PM, and others can come come and go as their schedule permits. I called and confirmed that The Australian’s Happy Hour will be from 4 PM – 7 PM as usual even though tomorrow is a holiday. The Happy Hour menu features steeply discounted food and drink.

Like past MileValue meet ups, this one will be:

  • Free, other than the cost of your food and drink.
  • Split checks, so we can all show off our credit cards. ;)
  • Open to people of all miles-knowledge levels.
  • Informational. There will be no prepared remarks, but I will be happy to answer all the questions that you may have about earning and redeeming miles or my recent travels.
  • Possibly full of secret info people won’t post online (and no, I won’t email it to people who can’t attend).
  • Social, a great chance to meet other people in this hobby from the New York area and talk travel.

If you want to join the fun, there is no need to RSVP. You can let us know in the comments though.

Where should I host MileValue dinners in the future?

PS: I have about a very, very few of these beauties left in Small and Large only if anyone wants one. First come, first served in person.

Announcing a MileValue Dinner in Honolulu on Saturday, January 25

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I’m very excited to announce the first MileValue dinner since October on Saturday, January 25 at 7 PM on Oahu, either in Waikiki or Honolulu.

As a special treat, I’ve confirmed the attendance of Rene from Delta Points. Rene is the go-to expert on all things Delta from status, to the myriad credit card offerings, to redemptions, to aircraft, to getting bumped, to… you get the idea.

Delta and SkyTeam are major players from HNL.

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Delta is well represented at HNL. There are lots of SkyTeam flights from HNL including Korean’s flights to Seoul and Tokyo plus Alaska’s flights to many west coast cities.

Like past MileValue dinners, this one will be:

  • Free, other than the cost of your meal.
  • Split checks, so we can all show off our credit cards. ;)
  • Entrees under $20.
  • Limited to 30 people.
  • Open to people of all miles-knowledge levels.
  • Informational. There will be no prepared remarks, but I will be happy to answer all the questions that you may have about earning and redeeming miles or my recent travels.
  • Possibly full of secret info people won’t post online (and no, I won’t email it to people who can’t attend).
  • Social, a great chance to meet other people in this hobby from Oahu (or on vacation) and talk travel.

If you want to join the fun, there is only one way to RSVP:

Email me at scott@milevalue.com.

I am limiting this event to 30 folks on a first come, first served basis, so that I have a chance to meet everyone. Once you email me, I’ll get back to in a few days with the restaurant details, which I haven’t selected. (If you know a restaurant that fits the above criteria, let me know.)

I’m looking forward to seeing many familiar and new faces at the dinner. Remember there is only one way to RSVP for the dinner on Oahu at 7 PM on January 25: by emailing me.

If you won’t be on Oahu, hopefully I’ll see you somewhere else along me travels. And certainly be on the lookout for the announcement of a New York City dinner next month.

Where should I host MileValue dinners in the future?

2013 Year in Travel

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Countries Visited (21)

In chronological order (except for the US, which would be third chronologically):

  • Australia (11 days)
  • New Zealand (10 days)
  • Argentina (5.5 months)
  • Paraguay (8 days)
  • Uruguay (3 days)
  • South Africa (9 days)
  • Germany (7 days)
  • United Kingdom (2 days)
  • Sweden (2 days)
  • France (4 days)
  • Malaysia (8 days)
  • Thailand (7 days)
  • Austria (2 days)
  • Slovakia (2 days)
  • Hungary (4 days)
  • Croatia (3 days)
  • Italy (1 day)
  • Belgium (1 day)
  • Norway (1 day)
  • Netherlands (1 day)
  • United States (3.5 months)

Premium Airline Cabins Flown (12)

In chronological order (with links to trip reports):

Miles Flown (78,953)

  • 78,953 miles flown over 46 segments
  • If I had flown all these as paid flights on one airline like United or American, I wouldn’t even have top tier status!
  • Longest flight: Melbourne to Los Angeles in Qantas Business Class (7,921 miles)
  • Shortest flight: Ciudad del Este to Asuncion, Paraguay (168 miles)
  • Favorite flight: Emirates First Class. It was so over-the-top and fun!

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Favorite Moments of Travel

  • Playing bilingual basketball games with the expats and locals in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Cliff jumping in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Bungee jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand and Soweto, Jo’burg, South Africa.
  • Leading an “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” cheer in Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open (tennis tournament) in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef with my own air supply off Cairns, Australia.
  • Eating Thai curry in Thailand at Thai prices.
  • Biking in the Lake District of Patagonia in Bariloche, Argentina.
  • Spending three days at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
  • Seeing an American-style improv show in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Getting to travel with my brother in Australia and using miles to make his dream of seeing the Australian Open a reality.
  • Getting to fly a friend to Thailand to spend a week together.
  • Meeting new friends along the way.
  • Reconnecting with old friends from previous trips.
  • Visiting family.

What were your travel stats for 2013? More importantly, what were your best travel memories from this year?

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Predictions for Major Changes to Loyalty Programs in 2014

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2013 was a year of several major devaluation announcements including:

  • United (kicks in February 1, 2014)
  • Southwest (kicks in March 31, 2014)
  • Delta (already kicked in on current award bookings for travel that starts February 1, 2014 or later)
  • Hyatt (kicks in January 7, 2014)
  • Ultimate Rewards (with three major transfer partners devaluing–United, Southwest, and Hyatt–the program took a major hit through no fault of its own)

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. We’re still getting outsized value from our miles and points and traveling the world in style for next to nothing.

What’s my outlook for 2014 and what’s my strategy for earning and burning the major points’ currencies?

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas from everyone at MileValue to you and your family.

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Christmas 2008, the View from the Conrad in Punta del Este, Uruguay

There will be no new posts the rest of the week. Check out some of these classics if you can’t take a few days off from thinking about miles!

We’ll be back Sunday with new posts about getting, maximizing, and enjoying miles.

Finally, reader Zack asked me to share something with all my readers:

If you want to do some good today, Hyatt is giving away $1 to Room to Read per social media share until 12/31/13. All you have to do to share the message and have another $1 donated is to go here and click the icon of any social media account that you have at the top of the page.

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I just made my tweet.

Another Deal the Bloggers Killed: The Negative Price Oneway from the Carribean to Europe

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Currently, the following United award (Newark to London, returning Paris to Newark) would cost 60k miles in economy.

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Add in a stopover in Newark on the return, and a later one way trip to Jamaica and the price drops 2,500 miles to only 57,500 miles in economy!

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Unfortunately, this deal I first wrote about last year dies in six weeks! I’m a bit sad this deal will be dying even though I’ve never used it, and it’s pretty niche.

Learn more about negative priced one ways and how I killed them!

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I Was Interviewed by Mighty Travels

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Mighty Travels interviewed me about miles, travel, and this blog. As usual, I went on and on and on and … ;)

My favorite question and answer:

What is your biggest learning from earning so many miles and points?

The best use of miles is often to give them away.

In 2013, I traveled nine months outside the US to 20+ countries. And yet I had more miles than I could use. I booked four trips for friends that they otherwise couldn’t have taken, in all cases either flying them to visit me or to accompany me on a trip.

The happiness I got from those redemptions exceeded the happiness I got from my Emirates First Class redemption.

Read the full interview here.