After comparing the airline and hotel loyalty programs, a reader asked me to find some way to compare the many different airline award charts. I already have a page with links to all these award charts, but combining them would be valuable for two reasons: (1) Even for the same airline, not all award prices are clearly presented on one page; and (2) For those who diversify their account balances, certain programs may provide value for select destinations.
For example, my first draft of this comparison table has already shown me that United Airlines has relatively expensive first class awards to Hawaii (on three-cabin aircraft), and American Airlines has relatively expensive first and business class awards to Africa and the Middle East. Keep in mind that in creating my table I only incorporated prices for one-way awards and excluded the discounts some programs offer for off-peak awards. I also skipped US Airways entirely due to the impending merger.
Alaska Airlines often has a range of prices because it maintains separate award charts for each partner airline. I excluded Emirates from the first draft because its prices are so high they are a bit of an outlier, but I might add them back in.
This is a very large project. I have only created the first draft, and it is only for awards departing the continental U.S. and Canada. There are probably some inaccuracies in this chart, and adding award prices for departures from every other region will take hours. So, instead of past versions where people would post their (often justified) criticisms in the comments and I would issue an updated version, I have a new plan.
Those who want to contribute to this table by adding award prices for departures from other countries should access the spreadsheet on Google Docs (new link should be working now). If there is an empty cell, please fill it. If you believe there is a cell with an incorrect value, please don’t change it. Instead, highlight the cell and write a footnote at the bottom explaining which cell should be changed and why. Once the document is complete, I have a creative idea for sharing the information using a new WordPress plug-in. There will also be a PDF you can download and keep as a reference. You can download a PDF of the current draft for mainland U.S. departures right now.