Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Redeeming Amex Membership Reward Points and Avios for a Holiday

I am on a roll here. My miles redemption practice started with helping out my friend last year to plan his honeymoon using Avios and then I planned a spur of the moment trip to San Francisco for the MLK weekend, using Avios again. Earlier this month I decided to go on a holiday for my second marriage anniversary and my wife and I decided on Miami. And the points and miles redemption began again.

Over the last one year I have accumulated a small stack of points and miles, thanks to the AoR on my account and my wife’s account. So I decided to first use these for the holiday booking rather than spending money. 

Here’s how I went about it and the end result.

For the outgoing sector, the cheapest option was Delta at $96 per person. For 2 person and assuming just one luggage it was coming to $ 217. The next best was Southwest for $111 per person, so it came to $222 for 2 people. However, the only problem with these options was that they were all for reaching after 2.30 pm, robbing half my Saturday. Redeeming miles on Delta wasn't turning out a good option as they would charge miles for a return flight – which I wouldn't opt for as I wanted to fly out of MCO.

I decided to put my stash of Avios to good use and we found flights from AUS-MIA via DFW for 12,000 Avios and $5 tax per person. But since this was a connecting flight, we would still reach in the afternoon and we wanted to make full use of Saturday. This is where a little bit of flexibility bailed us. I found an early morning flight from DFW and IAH for 7,500 Avios and $2.5 that would bring us to Miami at 9.20 am in the morning.

The additional money we would spend on renting a car was more than compensated by the 9,000 Avios and $5 we saved and by the points we earned for the Hertz rental (I love Hertz points) and by the fact that we would now reach at 9.20 in the morning and not late in the afternoon. I quickly did some search and found a one way rental from Austin to Houston for $40 and we were set to go to Miami. I could have used my Hertz points to get a free car too, but since Hertz charges double points for one way rentals, I decided to pay with money instead. I did some calculation on milevalue’s calculator and found that I got a value of 1.35 cents per Avios. Anything above 1 cent and I consider myself a winner !!!

The return flight was slightly trickier. We would travel to Orlando and I wanted to fly out of MCO and not have to drive anywhere for the flight. A quick search on Kayak showed that Jetblue is the only airline with direct flights and the other option was using Avios for AA via IAH again. Or flying till IAH and driving. I opted for the former. My closest friends are HUGE Jetblue fans and they have always asked us to try them. I had a small stack of MR points that transfer to Jetblue, though not at the rate I would have liked. All the same, I quickly checked for flight availability and point’s requirement. It took 18,500 MR points and just 5 minutes to transfer from MR to my Jetblue account and before long, we had direct flight back from MCO on our preferred date and time. I could have also used the travel option on Amex MR to book the ticket and earn points for this flight, but for some reason, the price was showing at a higher amount and would have costed 22,000 MR points, while earning me JetBlue miles. I decided to save my MR for now.

So the net result is for 15,000 Avios, 18,500 MR points and $ 21.50 (there was a transfer charge by Amex), we had ourselves 2 tickets for the anniversary holiday booked. The return tickets with luggage charge, in cash, would have been almost $450.

Next up was hotel booking – Look out for the next post..


  1. I am so proud of you. Looking forward to the Miami trip.. I am also learning this process and tricks by reading these blogs and started liking it.. I wanna do AOR myself this time.. :)

  2. seems like u will soon become a travel consultant :P


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