LifeMiles Set to Increase in Price by 10%

Avianca LifeMiles sell for 3 cents each, but frequent 100% bonuses on purchasing miles have made the effective cost 1.5 cents each for most of us.

LifeMiles have a number of strategic uses like Lufthansa First Class between the United States and Europe for 72,500 miles (instead of 110,000 United miles) or hidden city tickets that get you from the United States to Japan for 12,500 miles.

LifeMiles are valuable enough that I've suggested converting Arrival miles to LifeMiles.

Frontier Airlines Will Now Charge $20+ for Carry On Bags

Frontier Airlines announced today that will begin charging $20+ to bring a carry on bag onto its flights. Personal items that fit under the seat in front of you will remain free.

Frontier, predictably, is spinning this new fee as a good thing the way that airlines always justify new fees: "only pay for what you use and get a lower base fare."

This change is bad for folks flying on award tickets.

Where are the Bright Spots on the Airline Award Charts after the Devaluations

The last year has seen all four of the American legacy carriers make their miles less valuable.

Delta bumped its business class awards up in price.
United put premium cabins on partner airlines out of reach.
US Airways went to the slightly inferior oneworld alliance from the Star Alliance, then bumped up the price of roundtrip business class awards to North Asia.
American eliminated its Explorer Awards and free stopovers on all awards.

But great value awards still exist with all four types of miles.

US Airways Has Eliminated One Sweet Spot to Asia, but There is a Sweeter Spot

US Airways--with absolutely no notice--made some award chart changes today. The big change to Saver award prices is that a roundtrip in business class to North Asia is now 110k miles roundtrip.

US Airways' definition of North Asia includes:

China
Hong Kong
Japan
Macau,
South Korea
Taiwan
and a bunch of 'stans

Business class awards to North Asia had been under-priced at 90k US Airways miles roundtrip, and many people in this hobby had taken advantage with awards that included a stopover in Europe and Asia in business class.

Massive Southwest Devluation Happens Monday, How to Beat It

Southwest Rapid Rewards points are currently worth 1.69 cents each. Starting Monday, March 31, 2014, they will be worth about 1.44 cents each.

What is the exact devaluation?

Among the Six Types of Frequent Flyer Miles, Southwest has a fixed-value program. For every dollar of the “Wanna Get Away?” base fare, you have to spend 60 Rapid Rewards for an award ticket.

So a $220 Southwest ticket with a $200 base fare would be 12,000 Rapid Rewards + $5 in taxes as an award.

Delta Announces 2015 SkyMiles Award Chart

Delta has released its award chart for awards booked on or after January 1, 2015. Check it out here.

Great News: The lowest priced "Level 1" awards (formerly "Saver") will remain at the same price or drop compared to the award chart that goes into effect on June 1, 2014.

SkyMiles have seen a lot of changes the last few months:

First Delta announced a devaluation of its award chart for awards flown June 2014 or later.

The New York Times Understands Miles a Lot Less When It Doesn’t Quote Us

The New York Times just ran a really bad article about Delta's move to a revenue-based frequent flyer program in 2015.

I'm going to delve into the Times article since many MileValue readers discovered the blog from a New York Times article ("How to Get a Seat Out of Your Award Miles") in which I was quoted extensively.

The Top Four Delta Awards You Need to Fly Before It’s Too Late

Note that this post was almost posted yesterday before news broke that Delta is moving to a revenue-based frequent flyer program--at least on the earning side. This post discusses flying before Delta's June 1 devaluation to its award chart, but can also be read as a general plea to burn Delta miles before January 1, 2015 when more changes are coming.

Delta's upcoming June 1 devaluation is a little different than United's was.

Delta SkyMiles Earning Will Be Revenue-Based in 2015 (The Sky is Not Falling!)

Earning Delta miles will be revenue-based starting January 1, 2015. Instead of earning miles based on the distance of your ticket, you will earn based on the price you paid.

 

Though earning miles is changing drastically for Delta flyers, redeeming them might not change so drastically.

What do we know so far and what do we still not know?

I stumbled on this change while researching the Delta award chart for another post. The new change is being teased there. I've supplemented that information with information from this Wall Street Journal article.

Free Oneways Are Still Possible On United Awards

I was nervous that free oneways might be eliminated by United upon its new chart taking effect yesterday. There was a cryptic comment on the new award chart that stopovers on certain awards might require extra miles.

Free oneways rely on a stopover at your home airport to pull them off. If certain free stopovers were eliminated, free oneways could have been eliminated with them.