Individuals who often travel by plane can rack up large numbers of frequent flier miles. These benefits can be redeemed for free flights once enough are accumulated, but the word “miles” can be somewhat misleading. Customers can often redeem their miles for upgrades during flights as well as additional trips. This use may give a bigger bang for an airline customer’s buck. An upgrade to first class is often an overall better use of the rewards.Triphunter, a popular travel blog, has crunched the numbers and come up with some interesting conclusions. Airline customers who use their frequent flier miles to purchase tickets still have to pay taxes and fees to finish the purchasing process. The miles earned during previous flights often do not cover these extra charges. Therefore, redeeming miles for a ticket may actually be more costly than simply buying one out of pocket and then using the miles to upgrade it to first class. Customers who consider first class seating to be a worthwhile luxury can more effectively cash in on their benefits by getting upgraded for free.
The cost of a round trip ticket can be as much as several times the value of a first class upgrade. Those who take frequent plane trips may find it a better option to spend two or three flights enjoying the amenities of first class seating than getting a single free coach flight after spending a small fortune on other flights just to earn it, not to mention tacking all those extra fees onto the “free” flight.
Frequent fliers must often fly many times in order to earn a ticket, which minimizes the financial benefit of getting one free flight. First class seating will allow a flier to be more comfortable, which may be a more worthwhile benefit than the alternative. Upgrading also usually does not come with additional taxes and surcharges.