Sunday, May 22, 2011

Crisis Management with Miles: Why one-way awards exist.

In my last post, I mentioned that Iceland was making my life difficult (yet again). Last year, my flight to Shanghai was shanghaied by the volcanic ashcloud and this year another ashcloud is causing problems for one of my relatives who was supposed to be on a plane to Reykjavik (KEF). They've been rescheduled for tomorrow, but who knows if that's going to happen at this point.
The lava fields of Helka, another volcano in Iceland, which was once called the "Gateway to Hell".
This one hasn't erupted since 2000, so if I'm really lucky maybe it'll erupt in 2012 and ground one of my planes then too.

Travel disruptions like this are annoying, but this is a good chance to show off what miles and mileage are good for. While I'm still hoping that Icelandic Air will pull through and be able to put planes in the air tomorrow, just in case I've got a one-way ticket for if the cloud gets worse on hold. The total cost? $30 plus 27,000 miles (which I just about earn on a roundtrip back to Seattle from here with my indirect routings and elite bonus). Plus, with United you can hold award reservations without buying them for a little while, so if the planes fly this insurance policy will have cost about 20 minutes of my time and nothing more.

Overall, that's a great deal. If you were to buy a one way ticket right now, the same flights would run you at least $1,100.

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