I tried to book a free roundtrip ticket this morning to Minneapolis; I have over 30,000 points.... more than the 25,000 free roundtrip price.
But... apparently there must be alot of people using mileage right now. The flight was quoting $500 - - ouch, considering I used to pay around $200 R/T. So why not use my points, right? Ha! That 25,000 option wasn't even available... I had to go w/ the 50,000 premium award trip.
I'm booking the flight 3-4 weeks in advance for a trip in August! Not enough points... so I'll be extending my trip, got the price down to $385 (w/ taxes).
Still pretty high for Mpls... flights to Chicago on the same airline are $218 R/T.
Moral of the story - - I think everyone is cashing in their points while the fuel prices are over the top; so plan ahead or pay extra!
Yes, I could have flown a couple other airlines that were about $80 less... but I'm "loyal" to the airline partner I've built my status with. The free upgrades and perks still mean something to me I guess, even though it takes DOUBLE miles now. Ugghhh. :)
Here's an article from Travel+Leisure on secrets of Frequent Flyer points. http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/fly-free-frequent-flier-miles-secrets