Following up from Monday’s post, I wanted to quickly cover some theoretical “sweet spots” on the Asia Miles award chart that are in reality not actually that sweet. Given the many partners and distance-based nature of the Asia Miles program, a quick glance at the award charts by an inexperienced novice may lead one to conclude that there are more possibilities to “maximize redemptions” than actually exist.
In part 1, I covered what I believe are the true sweet spots of the Asia Miles program: transpacific itineraries from the US and Canada to Asia. As with any frequent flier program of course, Asia Miles only has access to the cheapest saver-level space on its partners, and this is what makes finding award space that is bookable with Asia Miles difficult. Below, I list a few sample “sweet spots” suggested by dubious affiliate bloggers that are actually incredibly difficult to find availability on.
-Philadelphia to Venice on American business class:
On the surface, this seems like a fantastic value, as the flown distance is under 5,000 miles and thus would cost 80,000 Asia Miles round-trip or 45,000 one-way. Anyone who knows anything about AA award space, however, can tell you that snagging an award on this route in business class (or really any AA transatlantic route) is more often than not a pipe dream. Below is what award availability looks like at the saver level for 1 passenger in business class from PHL-VCE from now until near the end of this seasonal service in the fall (flights for 2018 have not yet been loaded into the system). For the next several months, there are only four days on which this flight has business class availability that Asia Miles members can book. Sweet spot? Maybe, if you are someone looking to travel during those four days. Tough luck if you’re anyone else.
-Dallas to Kahului, Maui on American in coach:
Booking through Asia Miles, the round-trip would cost 45,000 miles. While it could be argued that an Asia Miles award would potentially allow for some hopping around the islands due to the program’s routing rules, this could also be accomplished with any other program simply by booking two one-ways instead of a round-trip. Award availability on this route is actually not as terrible as those familiar with AAdvantage might expect. It’s certainly not great, however, and I’d argue that calling this a redemption that maximizes value (AA charges either 20,000 or 22,500 miles one-way versus the 45,000 that Asia Miles charges for a round-trip) a bit of a stretch.
-New York to Madrid on Iberia business class:
Below is one final example of a very promising potential sweet spot that doesn’t live up to the hype in reality. Excepting a couple days with BOS-MAD availability, finding a business class award from the East Coast (or even Chicago) on Iberia business class is much easier said than done. While here I only show Award Nexus searches for 1 passenger in business class for the next few months, this lack of availability extends to the end of the schedule for all of Iberia’s US destinations.
I won’t belabor the point any more, but suffice it to say that a lot of “sweet spots” in the Asia Miles program aren’t sweet spots at all, once the lack of actual award availability is factored in. I’d advise those looking to take advantage of Asia Miles to do some research on what is and is not available rather than simply accepting what an affiliate blogger might tell you.