Advertiser Disclosure

Calculator: Should You Book a Flight With Cash Or Miles?

Jan. 15, 2020
Reward Optimization, Travel, Vacations & Trip Planning
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Let’s say you’re booking a last-minute flight on Delta and you have the option of either:

  • Paying $450 cash
  • Paying 30,000 Delta miles + $40 in fees.

Which is the better deal?

To help answer this common conundrum, we created a calculator that pairs our airline mile valuations with your own booking options. Enter the airline award program, cash fare, equivalent award fare and any fees associated with your award fare, and the calculator will explain the rest.

Keep in mind that our valuations, while based on real-world data, are only estimates for how much award miles are worth. If the cash and award values are similar, use your best judgment for which option is better for you. Mile-redeeming whizzes might opt to save miles for better redemptions, but in general we encourage spending miles rather than saving them.

 

About the author