If you have been banking your airline miles to save for a special trip or to use them towards upgrading to first class, this could be a great time to book your award travel.

The first reason is availability. The number of award seats has gone up in 2019 across most airlines –especially with United and Alaska Airlines.

The second reason is price. The number of miles needed to book a flight has actually decreased over the last five years. The average miles needed for an awards ticket (domestic economy) was 18,243 in 2019, down from 22,002 five years ago.

We all want to the best price for a flight, whether redeeming miles or paying cash so it’s important to understand the math. Before you book your tickets consider the amount of the ticket in miles. Simply divide cash price of the ticket by total miles (points) used. This will give you the value per mile. Here are two examples:

$400 ticket costs 25,000 in miles equates to 1.6¢ per mile.
$300 ticket costs 25,000 in miles equates to 1.2¢ per mile.

A good rule of thumb is 1.5¢ per miles for a coach ticket.

When is the best month to use your reward miles? Not necessarily summer or Christmas vacation. Reward availability is lowest during July and December holidays, and best in September / October (when the kids are back in school). My personal preferred travel months as the beaches are always less crowded.