The last route I needed to secure for our Finland trip was for our second destination, Copenhagen. We wanted to have two European destinations and decided to checkout this city in addition to Helsinki. To recap, I have already secured the flights to HEL and back from CPH. We split the itinerary into two one-way segments, so could not take advantage of a free stopover, which comes with roundtrip itineraries of most programs. Hence, we need a way to get from HEL to CPH.
We explored taking a boat to Stockholm, which is connected by rail to Copenhagen. However, the cost, travel time, and logistics required was quite complex and seeing Stockholm was not our priority.
Using ITA matrix, I identified several air carriers and the possible prices.
For this flight I can use BA Avios on Finnair, but the redemption isn’t the best use of the miles compared to the least expensive cash itinerary.
For example, I priced a midday departure out to 4,500 miles and about $60 in taxes required per person. The same flight costs about $100 per person. Using 4,500 miles to cover $40 is not ideal (less than 1 CPM). I don’t have an abundance of Avios and I would need to transfer valuable Chase UR points to make this work. UR points are worth much more than 1 CPM (I value them conservatively at 2 CPM).
If I determined that miles was a good redemption, after confirming the amount of miles needed, I would log into my Chase Ultimate Rewards account to make the transfer (which posts instantly). In past experiences I was able to refresh the BA website and purchase the flight. In our case, miles is not the best option, so I will stick with the flexibility of a cash fare. Furthermore, this gives me more flexibility to determine when I want to leave Finland, since award availability is currently limited to that one Tuesday in that week (which works out ok in my current calculations). And if I purchased the SAS flight, my Star Alliance Gold status gives me free luggage as well, in the case our luggage doesn’t meet their carryon requirements.
Thus, I will continue to monitor prices and award availability. If things don’t change significantly in about a month, I will most likely purchase a cash fare with the best schedule.
What is your experience with open-ended, or open-jawed itineraries? Do you sometimes feel nervous about not having everything booked, or does the mystery and potential for more options excite you?