This commentary originally aired Jan 29, 2014
If you have miles in multiple airline frequent flyer accounts, or if you carry a credit card that allows you to trade points for flights on several different airlines, be sure to shop around before you cash in. Not every airline offers tickets for the same amount of miles.
Want a round trip, business class ticket from the US to Europe? It’ll cost you 125,000 miles after June 1st on Delta but only 100,000 on US Airways before the end of March. Want a round trip, coach ticket to Australia or New Zealand? It’ll be 100,000 miles on Delta after June 1st, but only 75,000 on American.
Those are big differences. Now, at any point, those airlines requiring fewer miles could change their award structure and match competitors. But they usually give you a few month’s notice before doing so, and you can book into the future at the lower rate if you beat the deadline for any changes.
You’ll find different rates on almost all routes, but you must comparison shop. And don’t forget to look at other airlines in the same alliance as the one you have miles on. Scott Grimmer of MileValue.com has put together a handy comparison chart of the award levels of four major airlines. Here’s a link to it.