2

When to Redeem Arrival Miles for a First Class Ticket

At which point does it make more sense to buy a first class ticket rather than redeem miles? Cheap first class tickets (in the form of mistake fares or otherwise) don’t come around often. When they do, it’s always best to compare the mileage requirements vs. the low fare to determine which one is truly the better deal. The table below outlines first class redemption requirements for the major frequent flier programs and, based on the amount of spend that is required to earn those miles, I’ve outlined when it’s better to pay for a ticket out of pocket and/or redeem Arrival Plus Miles. The aim is to make sure you’re getting the best value out of your frequent flier miles.

United Airlines first class

United Airlines first class

The table does not take into account the value of certain frequent flier miles. Personally, I don’t subscribe to a valuation system, but generally airline rewards currencies are valued at 1.4 – 1.8 cents each.

It’s important to note that Delta does not offer a first class product on international flights, which is reflected in the table. Since US Airways will be merging with American Airlines next year, the Dividend Miles program will be discontinued and there may be adjustments to the mileage requirements posted by the AAdvantage program.

 Alaska American Delta United US Airways
US & Canada50,000 - 70,000 miles65,000 miles50,000 miles50,000 - 70,000 miles (distance under 700 miles)65,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus miles Ticket costs less than $1,110 - $1,555 Ticket costs less than $1,445 Ticket costs less than $1,110 Ticket costs less than $1,110 - $1,555 Ticket costs less than $1,445
Intra-State30,000 milesN/AN/A20,000 miles (distance under 700 miles)N/A
When to redeem Arrival Plus miles Ticket costs less than $666N/AN/ATicket costs $444 or lessN/A
Hawaii80,000 - 95,000 miles95,000 miles

45,000 miles saver
N/A100,000 miles80,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $1,775 - $2,110Ticket costs less than $2,110

or

$1,000
N/ATicket costs less than $2,223 Ticket costs less than $1,775
Mexico60,000 - 80,000 miles80,000 milesN/A80,000 miles60,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $1,330 - $1,775 Ticket costs less than $1,775
N/ATicket costs less than $1,775Ticket costs less than $1,330
Central America60,000 - 80,000 miles80,000 milesN/A80,000 miles60,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $1,330 - $1,775Ticket costs less than $1,775
N/ATicket costs less than $1,775Ticket costs less than $1,330
South America100,000 - 125,000 miles80,000 - 125,00 milesN/A90,000 -140,000 miles125,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $2,223 - $2,778Ticket costs less than $1,775 - $2,778
N/ATicket costs less than $2,000 - $3,112Ticket costs less than $2,778
Caribbean60,000 - 80,000 miles80,000 milesN/A80,000 miles60,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $1,330 - $1,775Ticket costs less than $1,775N/ATicket costs less than $1,775Ticket costs less than $1,330
Europe125,000 - 240,000 miles125,000 milesN/A160,000 miles

220,000 miles on partner airlines
125,000 miles
When to Redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $2,778 - $5,334Ticket costs less than $2,778N/ATicket costs less than $3,556

or

$4,889
Ticket costs less than $2,778
Asia125,000 - 200,000 miles125,000 - 135,000 milesN/A160,000 - 180,000 miles

240,000 - 280,000 miles on partner airlines
120,000 - 160,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $2,778 - $4,445Ticket costs less than $2,778 - $3,000N/ATicket costs less than $3,556 - $4,000

or

less than
$5,334 -$6,223
Ticket costs less than $2,667 - $3,556
Middle East140,000 - 180,000 miles180,000 milesN/A180,000 miles

280,000 miles on partner airlines
180,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $3,112 - $4,000Ticket costs less than $4,000N/ATicket costs less than $4,000

or

less than $6,223
Ticket costs less than $4,000
Africa140,000 - 200,000 miles200,000 milesN/A170,000 miles

260,000 miles on partner airlines
150,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $3,112 - $4,445Ticket costs less than $4,445N/ATicket costs less than $3,778

or

$5,778
Ticket costs less than $3,334
Oceania/Pacific140,000 - 160,000 miles145,000 milesN/A160,000 miles

220,000-260,000 miles on partner airlines
140,000 miles
When to redeem Arrival Plus milesTicket costs less than $3,112 - $3,556Ticket costs less than $3,2203N/ATicket costs less than $3,556

or

$4,889 - $5,778
Ticket costs less than $3,112

Subscribe via email for more points, miles and free travel

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Ariana Arghandewal

2 Comments

  1. I’m confused, and maybe I’m missing something: Shouldn’t it be “When to redeem Arrival Plus Miles” —- “Ticket Costs More Than”? I thought the goal is to get the most value out of miles, so it’d be more prudent to buy when a ticket costs less than a certain amount, and more sense to redeem when a ticket costs more.

Leave a Comment