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Okay okay I know that calculating the actual “cash” cost of award tickets is not a very accurate way of determining the value of different types of award miles.  The reality is that there is no way that I (nor most of you) would pay over $10,000 for any one flight.  Still, I do find it somewhat interesting, so I thought I would look up the cash costs for the various flights in my upcoming round the world trip

(SEE ALSO: Finally got that RTW ticket booked – 159,500 miles and $148.86)

Find how how I took a first class flight  that could have cost $27,732 for PENNIES.  Using airline miles makes flying international first class travel possible!

American miles for first class on Japan Airlines and business class on Cathay Pacific

I paid 62,500 American AAdvantage miles for a first class ticket from Cincinnati to Singapore.  We’re flying economy to Chicago, then first class on Japan Airlines from Chicago to Tokyo, and business class from Tokyo to Singapore (via Hong Kong).  We do also have an 18 hour overnight layover in Hong Kong.  I couldn’t get any flight pricing engine to price that as one ticket, so here it is broken down into 2 segments:

First, the route from Cincinnati to Chicago to Tokyo


And here’s the continuation, from Tokyo to Singapore via Hong Kong in Business Class. I am bummed we won’t be able to do Cathay First Class, but there’s just not a first class cabin on any flights from Tokyo to Singapore)  There is one from Haneda airport, but we decided not to deal with switching airports in Tokyo.


Total cost of the trip: $16,837, which means that the 62,500 miles that we used have a redemption rate of 26.9 cents per mile!

Using Alaska miles to fly Emirates first class

Google Flights doesn’t price out Emirates tickets, but I was able to book the multi-destination trip from Singapore to Dubai (stopover) to New York on

(SEE ALSO: Stopover, layover, open-jaw? What are they and what’s the difference?)

It priced in Singapore dollars and I couldn’t figure out how to easily change it


But SGD 10,759.70 is equal to $7662.51 USD.  That trip cost 100,000 Alaska Airlines miles (per person) which means that those miles were redeemed at 7.66 cents per mile.

Getting home

Because Alaska Airlines partner awards have a restriction that you can only use one partner, here in the Alaska Airlines dead zone, that means that we had to book a separate award to get us home from New York.  We booked a 4500 Avios ticket home, back before they moved the shortest redemption up to 7500 Avios

(SEE ALSO: How you can still book short haul flights with Avios)

This was a redemption of 2.82 cents per mile, though you could certainly make an argument that it would have been worth it to just pay the cash ticket.  Certainly if we had to pay 7500 Avios (though I might have just booked it with ~8000 ThankYou Points in that case)

Final totals

So our total mile cost was 167,000 miles, if we count 3 different mileage currencies as equal.  That is of course ridiculous, but this isn’t a scientific study anyways!!! 🙂 That’s for a ticket that “would have cost” of $27,723,70, meaning that our average redemption rate was 16.6 cents per mile!

Again, this is not a scientific study, since I think there are very few people actually paying $27,000 / person for airline tickets, but it goes to show you the power of miles


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