After the DoT reaffirmed that airlines had to offer cash refunds for cancelled flights, airlines started getting creative.
Many airlines offered bonus vouchers if you accept a voucher instead of a cash refund. Readers have reported getting bonus offers when calling American, Frontier, JetBlue, and Spirit for example. Those offers are typically a 20% or 25% bonus voucher.
One DDF member that used my hack to get 4 $14.31 Spirit tickets between NYC and Fort Lauderdale for his family wound up getting back $258 for accepting vouchers instead of a cash refund!
Some airlines have offered miles in lieu of a cash refund. Whether that is worthwhile depends on how you value those miles and what you would do with them.
DDFB member Foy asks if he should take a $587 cash refund or 54,300 Turkish miles and wonders if the miles are really worth $1,629 as Turkish claims.
If the miles were really worth $1,629, then Turkish wouldn’t be offering them. However Turkish miles are actually quite valuable.
In this case Turkish is effectively selling the miles for 1.08 cents each. That’s a good rate for buying miles in general, but especially for programs with sweet spots.
Some examples from the post on Turkish miles that I wrote a couple of days ago, along with the actual cost of the ticket at 1.08 cents per mile:
- Fly one-way anywhere in the US, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and USVI, for just 7.5K miles in coach ($81) or 12.5K in business class ($135) on United with no fuel surcharges.
- Fly one-way anywhere to Canada or Mexico for just 10K miles in coach ($108) or 15K in business class ($162) on United with no fuel surcharges.
- Fly one-way to Europe for 45K in business class ($486) on United with no fuel surcharges.
- Fly one-way to Israel for 32K miles in coach ($346) or 47K in business class ($508) on United with no fuel surcharges.
Those are some pretty great values! But then again I try not to hoard miles as they’re always subject to devaluation. Keeping them as bank points shields them from devaluation and you can transfer them to airlines on demand.
And of course the other caveat is that you need to find saver award availability, though that’s currently excellent for travel into 2021.
Additionally, Turkish miles expire on 12/31 that occurs more than 36 months after they were earned, so miles earned now would expire on 12/31/23. Activity doesn’t extend their miles, so it’s use it or lose it.
That’s a good amount of time to use the miles and potentially get a great value from them, but then again, cash doesn’t expire.