2 Miles & Points Lessons From The Best Airline Advertising of 2013

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2 Miles & Points Lessons From The Best Airline Advertising of 2013

Million Mile Secrets2 Miles & Points Lessons From The Best Airline Advertising of 2013Million Mile Secrets Team

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After miles and points, I love marketing and branding (yes, I’m the weird guy who watches the Super Bowl for the ads!)  Much advertising is a waste of money, so I was thrilled to see a You Tube video from British Airways which is a just a terrific & powerful piece of advertising.

Most airlines compete on price for coach tickets, and if the price is comparable, folks will go with a brand they connect with.

This spot from British Airways is extremely well targeted (it isn’t trying to be all things to all people), is emotional, and will appeal to immigrants in many countries (though it is specifically targeting the Indian diaspora in the US).  Keep a tissue box handy before watching!

1.   Miles & Points Lesson #1

The best use of miles and points is to USE them for trips.  And to use them how YOU want to use them.  The one who ends the game with the most unused miles has lost.  

It doesn’t have to be a spectacular redemption with all segments in first class.

The best redemptions to me, are the ones which folks typically scorn – i.e. domestic coach redemptions which wouldn’t otherwise happen because you’d rather save the money.

I’ve used miles for job interviews, used miles to visit family, and used miles for family to visit other family members whom they otherwise wouldn’t have met.  Emily visited her grandmother (before she passed) thanks to miles and points.

Tampa Trip Report
The Last Time Emily Saw Her Grandmother

The best use of miles and points are to make happy memories which will stay with you for a long time.  For some, that is flying across the world to take pictures in a lounge.  For others, happy memories are from visiting friends and families & visiting new destinations.  And, yes, you can have happy memories from both domestic and international redemptions!

2.   Miles & Points Lesson #2

Redeeming miles and points for long-distance coach travel on British Airways isn’t worth it.

British Airways also launched a 1-day discounted fare from New York to Mumbai for $1,099 to capitalize on the popularity of the video.  Unfortunately, you don’t get an extra 10% off if you pay with the British Airways credit card.

The offer is valid only up to 11:59 pm Eastern Time today (August 7, 2013).  And you have to travel between November 5 to November 30, 3013.  Diwali (a big Indian festival) is on November 3, 2013, so the fare isn’t valid until after Diwali.  Tickets are usually around this price in November, so this isn’t a great deal.

The bigger lesson is that out of a fare of ~$1,090, you’re paying ~$677 in taxes and fees for this British Airways flight.

A $1,090 Coach Ticket on British Airways has $677 in Taxes & Fees!

You could also redeem 90,000 American Airlines miles or British Airways points for the same round-trip flight.  But, not only will you pay 90,000 American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points, but you will ALSO pay ~$677 in fuel surcharges.  90,000 miles + $677 for a ticket which costs $1090 is a bad deal!

So you’re much better of not redeeming your miles, and paying ~$400 extra to save the 90,000 miles.  Or using more miles and slightly more cash in taxes and fees for a business or first class award.

The good news is that you could redeem American Airlines miles (but not British Airways miles) for a flight on Etihad which would cost you virtually nothing in taxes and fees.  Or use your United miles for flights to India because their partner  airlines like Lufthansa, Swiss, and Turkish Air don’t charge fuel surcharges.

So be careful when you redeem American Airlines or British Airways points for long-distance coach flights on British Airways.  Often times, the taxes and fees aren’t worth redeeming in coach.

British Airways points are best used for short-distance flights.

Bottom Line

Redeeming your miles and points and making happy memories is why I collect miles and points.

The big pay-off is in using your miles for taking trips which you’ll fondly remember afterwards!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Okra. We all need to eat more okra.

Can I trade my mother for his?

Here I am, sitting at work and furtively wiping away the tears that would just not stop streaming!

My wife has not seen her parents for 3 years now. She will be flying home in October, Business Class, all paid by points. No one back home knows she is coming. I can’t wait to hear how they react when they see her standing at the doorstep!

Oh boy, I cried like a baby!

I really do identify with this guy- as a grad student in the US 12 years ago and then as an immigrant I had come to terms with the fact (like so many others) that I would be able to see my family only two years or so. Discovering the frequent flyer community in 2011 was like a dream come true. We don’t do business class trips, my husband and I, since flying coach allows us to make frequent trips home (BOM), while at the same time, being able to save enough miles for award travel to other countries. We’ve also used our miles to bring our parents to visit us, and to travel around the States. One of my favorite redemptions was when I was able to fly my parents business class from Bombay to Sydney so my mum could see her brother as he is in his life in Australia something neither had ever thought possible. So heck yeah, the best redemptions for me are the ones that make all of this possible- coach or otherwise.

That ad make me cry!! So incredibly touching and emotional. Makes me want to show up at my parents’ doorstep across the Pacific and surprise them too.

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