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ezzra

Buying and selling airline FF miles

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Does anyone have experience or information regarding fare concaledatores and buying frequent flyer miles

from agents and brokers in order to use said mileage for traveling? the net is full of such offering but hard

to know who to trust...

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In general it is never worth it, you pay more in miles than you would pay booking directly. Only reason to consider it would be that you are short a few hundred miles or something that will expire soon so you either buy some more to book now or have nothing.

 

Using frequent flyer miles is kind of a rip-off anyways: there are very limited seats available per flight so you need to book really early, you need certain ticket types (classes) to be able to upgrade and these ticket classes are much more expensive than what you would normally buy, and you still need to pay taxes and other fees.

 

We had enough miles for 4 return tickets to Europe with Thai and while we expected to fly for free we got a total of 75% discount with booking 7 months upfront (and we end up in Brussels instead of Amsterdam cause Thai doesn't fly to Amsterdam). I wont complain saving a ton of money but frequent flyer miles were not the dream I was let to believe they would be. 

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35 minutes ago, Bob12345 said:

In general it is never worth it, you pay more in miles than you would pay booking directly. Only reason to consider it would be that you are short a few hundred miles or something that will expire soon so you either buy some more to book now or have nothing.

 

Using frequent flyer miles is kind of a rip-off anyways: there are very limited seats available per flight so you need to book really early, you need certain ticket types (classes) to be able to upgrade and these ticket classes are much more expensive than what you would normally buy, and you still need to pay taxes and other fees.

 

We had enough miles for 4 return tickets to Europe with Thai and while we expected to fly for free we got a total of 75% discount with booking 7 months upfront (and we end up in Brussels instead of Amsterdam cause Thai doesn't fly to Amsterdam). I wont complain saving a ton of money but frequent flyer miles were not the dream I was let to believe they would be. 

I agree with a lot of what you said but I only ever use miles for upgrades. Mostly with Emirates and always from business to first I’ve never been refused an upgrade. Only once did I try to use miles to upgrade from Economy to business and the tax cost made me feel it just wasn’t worth it.

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Buying miles from these shady merchants is illegal. You may end up getting your booking cancelled by the airline. They know you didn't earn the miles or purchase them from the carrier. You take a chance. 

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23 hours ago, ezzra said:

Does anyone have experience or information regarding fare concaledatores and buying frequent flyer miles from agents and brokers in order to use said mileage for traveling the net is full of such offering but hard to know who to trust...

I assume you're asking about consolidators who offer "discounted" Business/First fares that turn out to be bought with frequent flyer points that have been traded in the grey/black market. All of the airlines have a clause in their conditions of membership that prohibit selling of points, and sometimes these are even enforced. Some airlines eg. SQ have tightened up so that someone using their points for someone else must have already included that person on their nominees' list, which tends to cut out the consolidator. Others like QF ask how the passenger is related to the points owner although AFAIK it's not audited or challenged. There is a grey market of people who exchange points/benefits in one programme for points/benefits in another in the Coupon Connection forum on FlyerTalk but you have to be a member in good standing to even access that forum

 

You probably stand a good chance of finding informed opinions by typing your question into Google - you'll find people in the travel industry and travel bloggers who have screeds of advice/opinions on the topic

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2 hours ago, ThaiBunny said:

I assume you're asking about consolidators who offer "discounted" Business/First fares that turn out to be bought with frequent flyer points that have been traded in the grey/black market. All of the airlines have a clause in their conditions of membership that prohibit selling of points, and sometimes these are even enforced. Some airlines eg. SQ have tightened up so that someone using their points for someone else must have already included that person on their nominees' list, which tends to cut out the consolidator. Others like QF ask how the passenger is related to the points owner although AFAIK it's not audited or challenged. There is a grey market of people who exchange points/benefits in one programme for points/benefits in another in the Coupon Connection forum on FlyerTalk but you have to be a member in good standing to even access that forum

 

You probably stand a good chance of finding informed opinions by typing your question into Google - you'll find people in the travel industry and travel bloggers who have screeds of advice/opinions on the topic

You only have to google airlines miles or similar to come up with dozens of litimitate business who sells points to qualify for any class and it seems to be quite a brisk dealing with these points mainly from US sources,  they're charging around 1.5cent to 2.0 cent per mile and you only pay them when those miles are credited to your membership program...so they can't be illegals or trying to cheat you right?...

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7 hours ago, ezzra said:

You only have to google airlines miles or similar to come up with dozens of litimitate business who sells points to qualify for any class and it seems to be quite a brisk dealing with these points mainly from US sources,  they're charging around 1.5cent to 2.0 cent per mile and you only pay them when those miles are credited to your membership program...so they can't be illegals or trying to cheat you right?...

My experience since 2014 (airline and consolidators) has been that the most economical or cost/beneficial use of points is for long haul flights, business or first, ticket or upgrade. Some airlines (and also consolidators) are far better than others). I fly the US/BKK route when a one way business ticket can be had for 90k points (and small fees) on 5* carriers.  When my points are gone the best consolidators have given me fares 1650-1800 business one way.  NlOf course not cheap but far better than the airline direct price.

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In general this is mostly a US-thing, due to the history of those miles they once long ago they started to give out there. The remarks above that is near impossible or not worth it are more valid for Asean and EUR major airlines. So in short: starting from TH its generally worthless, unless maybe, perhaps, to the USA or from a prebooked return from there. Also note that more and more airlines are switching to giving out ´miles´ not on miles flown but on money spent on fares. This return on investment is roughly in line with what banks offer- less as 1%. Still an airline broker ar Thai agent MAY be able to scrape a little off online fares, though the ´discount´ is more often in much more lax fare rules as the price of the ticket itself.

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On 1/18/2020 at 4:20 AM, Fairynuff said:

I agree with a lot of what you said but I only ever use miles for upgrades. Mostly with Emirates and always from business to first I’ve never been refused an upgrade. Only once did I try to use miles to upgrade from Economy to business and the tax cost made me feel it just wasn’t worth it.

Agreed, the best value for miles is usually found in upgrades rather than ticket purchases.  Emirates shouldn't be charging anything for Economy to Business upgrades unless you were departing from the UK (and a couple of other minor countries) and it's really the government that is demanding higher APD for non economy class tickets rather than Emirates.  It's avoidable by doing your upgrade on board, but that too has its problems.

 

OP.  I have purchased miles several times on popular on line auction sites so not quite what you're asking about.  All I would advise is be very careful and make sure you fully understand what you're doing.  The  whole area is fraught with danger but the rewards can make it worthwhile.

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