One bad thing about using miles to fly is that you have to commit well in advance. That disadvantage sank in for me when I heard some chatter online recently about “insanely low” prices to fly to Australia.
Sure enough, right now I could buy RT tickets from SF to Sydney for the dates I want for under $600. The direct flight that I wanted is a little more — $1171 on Qantas. Still, though. It’s a bit upsetting because when I take into account that I spent about $200 per person on fees to use the miles, the $600 flight is only $400 more expensive than the flight I spent 75,000 miles on. Four hundred bucks is the price of a domestic flight, and domestic flights usually only cost about 25,000 miles.
Ideally, we could have bought cheap flights for cash, then used our miles to upgrade instead, had a better experience, and — of course — earned miles for the trip instead of spending them. Once miles are spent, you have to pay a hefty fee to cancel the trip and get your miles back.
So, what’s done is done. When I planned this trip, tickets were around $2,000 each. On the upside, miles tickets have more flexibility than tickets you buy. If we need to change dates we can without a fee, as long as we keep the same departure and destination cities. So, now that I’ve publicly bemoaned this turn of events, I’m not gonna dwell on it further.