Matt at Saverocity penned an important post about whether or not a $1700 3-cabin first class roundtrip between Boston and Seoul is even a good deal.
He points out that my tweet included #ScreaminDeal #Hurry and wrote,
How about Hashtag #Bollocks #to #you?
The deal, that is, not the tweeter, he is just sharing what his readers want.
Let’s explore this, with a scenario. It assumes that you actually get off the plane, stay say 3 nights, and get out of your hotel room… of course you might just want to fly there and back which is just magical, and I wish you good speed….
And he goes on to posit that you’re going to spend ~ $2400 per person on the trip. That’s still a lot of money, and there are other things you can do with that money.
Matt’s post brings up for me something I’ve learned about the frequent flyer community over time, and that’s that it isn’t really one community, or rather one group of people all with the same set of goals.
There are people who like travel, people who like math games, and people who just like planes. Aviation junkies and travel nuts aren’t the same. Some people want to live as cheaply as possible and that’s why they chase a deal, and others want to get as many experiences as possible and deals let them do that in relative comfort.
That and that decision-making happens at the margin.
If you’re at a margin where $1700 x 2 tickets or a given getaway is the difference between funding an IRA and not, then it’s probably wise to scrap the discretionary trip and set aside money for retirement.
But if you’re already funding your retirement, and one of the things you do spend money on is travel, where you go may be influenced by where you can get the best deal. Should I go to Seoul next, if I haven’t been, or to Buenos Aires? Relative prices matter, whether you can do a long trip quickly because of the relative comfort matters (preferences, age factor here).
A quick search on ITA for BOS-ICN roundtrip in economy, 2-6 nights with a departure any time in August, shows lowest price trips ranging $1149 – $2033 depending on day you leave and length of trip.
The Seoul fare is not even close to FREE TRAVEL. But it compares well with the regular price for coach.
So let me say — unequivocably — from where I’m coming from, this was an absolutely fantastic deal.
If you’re going to take a trip outside the U.S., the fare meant a chance to do it in first class for about the price of coach.
And since it earns a 150% class of service bonus (ean 2.5x flown miles) you’re picking up about an extra 24,000 redeemable miles to boot. Plus the tickets are refundable. So it may be a better financial deal than buying coach, even aside from the inflight comfort (which is something I’ll pay a premium for).
That’s the sort of calculus you’re going to do, or should do — how does this stack up against what you would otherwise be doing? Again, at what margin? Factor in incremental price, tradeoffs, preferences.
Peoples’ tradeoffs are different, their goals and preferences are different. Where Matt — who challenges the idea that a $1700 first class fare (base fare that’s about 90% off the ‘regular’ price) is a good deal — is at, and where many people are in the community.. it doesn’t work for them. And it shouldn’t.
That’s also why there’s a good diversity of blogs, different people writing about similar subject matter from a different perspective.
You find the sites that speak best to you and your interests, or that challenge your thinking, and read those. And there’s enough diversity of voices to do that most of the time.
We often hear outrage! Outrage! At the opinions or advice of others. How could they say that?! Don’t they just realize that…
Not everyone you disagree with is evil or stupid of course, your position may be perfectly logical for maximizing what you value most .. you may be engaging in transcendent criticism where you differ on values, rather than immanent criticism where do differ on how to maximize the same values.
So yes — I think $1700 first class roundtrip US – Seoul is a fantastic deal. But it isn’t something that everyone should do. Given.