Is American Domestic First Class Worth 2.6X More Miles?

by joeheg

For a while now, I’ve been looking for a positioning flight to LAX for our flight on Singapore Airlines to Vietnam. I thought I was fortunate to find a cheap flight with United, even if it left us with an 8-hour layover.

That’s until I received an email from United Airlines that our 9 AM departure from Orlando to LAX had been moved to a 6:45 AM departure. While an early morning flight from Orlando is bad enough, we’re not going to take a flight from 0-dark:30 unless there’s no other option.

Fortunately, that’s not the case as both Delta and American Airlines have morning flights from Orlando to LAX at more reasonable departure times. The latest flight from Orlando is on American, which leaves at 10:45 AM and arrives at 1:15 PM Pacific time. That’s still 6 hours before our LAX-SIN flight, which gives plenty of time for delays

Because of the schedule change, I’ll have no problem canceling our United flight to get a full refund. The big question now is if I should pay extra for us to fly in First Class on an American A321 from Orlando to LAX.

An economy ticket for the 5 1/2-hour flight from MCO-LAX costs $199 or 17,000 AAdvantage miles. A seat in First Class on the same flight is going for 45,000 AAdvantage miles or $695.

On a cents-per-point valuation, the first-class flight is clearly the better deal but is it worth paying 28,000 more AAdvantage points for a seat in First Class?

Of course, the first person I asked was Sharon who said exactly what I expected. She doesn’t care if we fly in economy or first class. Since this is a special trip for my birthday, I should do whatever I want.

I gave a look at our American Airlines accounts and we both have healthy balances from our canceled trip to Japan in 2020. I can easily replenish any miles I’ll use for the first-class transcontinental flight from Orlando to Los Angeles.

If I’m not willing to burn the AA miles for a special trip, when am I going to use them?

So I’m going to book first-class flights from Orlando to Los Angeles on an A321. Since there’s no IFE, I’ll charge my iPad for the trip. I’ll let everyone know if we get a pre-departure beverage service for the 2.6x more miles than it would have cost to fly in economy class.

Sorry to any Executive Platinum members who were looking for an upgrade on this flight.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian October 21, 2022 - 8:45 pm

Good for you. If you have the miles freely available, use them.

Shaun October 22, 2022 - 8:19 am

Are any of the mco-mia-lax flights in the 777 or 787 for that rate? While I’m normally a nonstop type guy, I’d take the extra leg to get lie flat for the 6h long leg


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