Sometimes, it is best to have total focus on the great news in a world of “Dynamic Award Pricing” and higher and higher mileage requirements as well as taxes and fees. 60,000 miles to Japan in business class seems like a great way to start my week.
I have started to have a hankering to return to Macau and was poking around before bed to see if I could get myself to Asia in February or March for a meager amount of miles. I have often had great success with AAdvantage Award Miles, but I value these miles more than almost all currencies. Hence, I won’t use them unless I find an “outstanding” deal.
Points Deal: CLT to Japan for 60,000 Miles (One Way)
In true unicorn fashion, I was poking around looking for awards to Macau (MFM) but knowing that I needed to get myself to Asia. MFM is a nearly impossible airport to fly to, and HKG is usually the best option, followed by a ferry to Macau. I’ve been yearning to get back since my last visit, which was the opening of Wynn Palace Cotai.
While not available on many dates, a 60,000-mile redemption popped up CLT-LAX-HND (Charlotte, North Carolina to Tokyo Haneda Airport). Since I am based in Charlotte, this was a great find. I admit it is not the optimal itinerary, and I actually refer to it as a “beast” of a flight schedule. There were other more optimal connections/flights, but this itinerary also featured a 777-200 from Charlotte to LA. Bonus: I really do need some Japan!
For those interested, the flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo is on a 787-800.
Note: A Twitter friend @travelsofjustin reminded me that 60k is the “standard” saver redemption to Asia from the USA. (Funny side note: I would like to say X-friend, but it seems to have the wrong connotations, so I’ll stick with referring to “X” as Twitter in this instance.)
What Does This Mean? American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
The bigger concept here is that even in the days of (many airlines) removing award charts and creating dynamic award pricing, there are still unicorns to be found.
Don’t Believe The Hype!
People like to be negative about the value of miles and points, and I get it. Finding great redemptions has become harder and harder. Often, you’ll find redemptions that are hundreds of thousands of miles or require additional positioning that makes one question the value proposition of those miles. Alas, deals are still out there; you have to be flexible and persistent.
Remember, tools such as point.me revolutionize the process of searching for award flights and booking with points. If you haven’t given it a whirl, I highly suggest you do. Also, remember, you need to use the knowledge you gain from tools like point.me to help further refine your understanding of routings and programs. Knowledge is power, but in order to get the best deals, you also have to become an educated miles and points student and consumer.
Wait? How The Heck Do I Get Those Miles?
Where am I getting 60k miles? I thought you would never ask. Flying on AA and OneWorld Partners (crediting to AA) is one way. One of the reasons AA (AAdvantage) Award Miles are so valuable is because AA miles are rather hard to procure. One great way to jump-start that balance is via an AA credit card. Another way, one of my favorites, is to transfer from BILT to AA. BILT is one of the only programs that allows for transfer to AA, and that is a (really) big deal. BILT is also a “big deal” because they allow you to earn points for rent, have stunning promotions (including “rent-day”), and no annual fee.
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”This line is spoken by Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, in the film The Godfather: Part III, directed by Francis Ford Coppola (1990).
My entire point of this post was to be a friendly reminder that “the game is alive” and that you can still optimize and find deals and value even with all of the changes over the past few years. Now that I believe I am going to Japan, my next mission is to figure out how to get to Macau and (eventually) back home. Perhaps I’ll share that story next. Have you started off 2024 with any “wild redemptions?” Please share in the comments or find me on