tacoronte
Topic Author
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 9:04 am

A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:26 pm

I came across this interesting article on the Seattle Times.

Sign up for a credit card on some airlines and after spending $2,000 you get 100,000 miles, enough for 2 free roundtrips to London from New York on BA- but with taxes, fees and a $350 fuel surchage each ticket cost about $530.

With that fuel surcharge is the BA credit card economically viable for a customer? With a high APR and an anual fee are those "free miles" really "free" not yet adding the fuel surcharge, taxes and fees.

What are your opinions on this? Do you think is a bit sketchy? With AF promotions I've flown MIA-CDG for just $570- taxes and fees included and no debt on a credit card!

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...airlineawardfees05.html?cmpid=2628

[Edited 2011-06-20 10:14:51]
 
AM744
Posts: 1434
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 11:05 pm

RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:34 pm

I hear you. What's with the 'fuel surcharge' fee? Sounds like a non-tax aka operating cost to me. Is it even legal to split the fare that way? I just paid $230USD for a couple of VW 'free' tickets. $100+USD were fuel fee charges. Come on.
 
LAXintl
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Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:40 pm

Not sketchy at all.

We have two things here – first one is the rules and policy of the BA frequent flyer program which collects the fuel surcharge on award tickets, plus the statutory required government taxes and fees for the ticket.


By the way, on the grander debate try winning a car on a game show for example. For that “free” car, you will have to cough up the taxes involved based on the value.
Essentially anything you earn has to be assigned a financial value, and the appropriate taxes get charged off that.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
crosswinds21
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:02 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):

We have two things here – first one is the rules and policy of the BA frequent flyer program which collects the fuel surcharge on award tickets, plus the statutory required government taxes and fees for the ticket.


By the way, on the grander debate try winning a car on a game show for example. For that “free” car, you will have to cough up the taxes involved based on the value.
Essentially anything you earn has to be assigned a financial value, and the appropriate taxes get charged off that.

Yes but with regards to taxes, that's something that's mandated by the government and that the airline has no control over. Fuel surcharges, on the other hand, is a different story. Although I usually side with airlines on most issues, I think that fuel surcharges on award tickets is absolute nonsense. Why? Because it's something that's going directly towards the bottom line of the airline. Under typicaly circumstances, that's fine. With when an airline advertises and sells a "free" ticket, to charge a passegner this heavy fee is preposterous.

These fuel surcharges are discretionary and completely under the control of the airline. They don't HAVE to charge them but choose to do so anyway. Consider how DL doesn't levy a fuel surcharge on TATL award tickets that originate in the USA but does levy a fuel surcharge on TATL awards that originate in Europe - and this is for the exact same flights!
 
ScottB
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:07 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Essentially anything you earn has to be assigned a financial value, and the appropriate taxes get charged off that.

That may well be true, but a "free" ticket which costs $530 when an actual revenue ticket for the same seat runs $758 seems like a pretty poor reward.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
the rules and policy of the BA frequent flyer program which collects the fuel surcharge on award tickets

Which basically just tells you that it's a very poor excuse for a frequent flyer program if you actually want to earn "free" flights.
 
tacoronte
Topic Author
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 9:04 am

RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:14 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
first one is the rules and policy of the BA frequent flyer program

Very true, although like all business they promote the credit card with a xxl font-size "100,000" miles after spending $2,000 and xxs font-size "Plus taxes and fees and a $350 fuel surcharge". Sketchy is probably the wrong word, but "tricky" yes.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
For that “free” car, you will have to cough up the taxes involved based on the value.

  

Quoting AM744 (Reply 1):
I just paid $230USD for a couple of VW 'free' tickets.

Nothing is really free after all with any business. It was just a discount. hehe
 
777STL
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:32 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
We have two things here – first one is the rules and policy of the BA frequent flyer program which collects the fuel surcharge on award tickets, plus the statutory required government taxes and fees for the ticket.

Bingo. BA is terrible when it comes to surcharges and taxes on its award redemptions.

For reference, I just booked a ticket through UA, on LH, STL-FRA with miles and only paid $140 AI. I've also booked an award ticket on QF, J class, LAX-SYD and only paid $150ish for that as well.

The Seattle Times is using a rather extreme example to prove their point, me thinks.
PHX based
 
RussianJet
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:03 pm

May well be all according to the rules, but as an inducement or reward it is total rubbish.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
 
eastern023
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:11 pm

If you want to redeem those on some OneWorld partner flights there are no extra fees but the taxes (i.e: AA or LA) I got the BA Chase offer. I know is always tricky with flights to europe.
AA will Rise Again!
 
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Tugger
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:14 pm

I did not realize that airline tickets did not include the cost of fuel anymore.

So nowadays you just buy "the seat" and then everything else is extra (food, baggage, fuel, entertainment, etc.)? Perhaps they should make you pay an extra fee for cushions on the seat, after you do not absolutely need them really and they do cost a lot to keep clean and "cushiony". Do I have to pay an extra fuel surcharge if I am a CoS?

Amazing how air travel has fallen as a quality business.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
anstar
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:15 pm

Top tip is to never redeem for economy flights - it doesnt make much sense with all the charges. Best value redemptions are usually First or Business
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:18 pm

Airlines came up with fuel surcharges as a way of getting around paying larger commissions to travel agents and to raise prices on corporate contracts that generally specify a discount off the base fare. That they can collect them on award tickets is just gravy.
 
bwaflyer
Posts: 496
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:44 pm

I think it is a country difference. Many European frequent flier programmes charge fuel surcharges on reward tickets, which isn't normally done by US carries

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
By the way, on the grander debate try winning a car on a game show for example. For that “free” car, you will have to cough up the taxes involved based on the value.

Another difference, in the UK, if you win something (Lottery, game show etc) it is tax free.
 
L1011
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 8:02 am

RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:44 am

I got my 100,000 miles for signing up for a British Airways Visa. I've already booked two round-trip tickets using these miles for AA flights, and I only paid $10 in taxes and fees for each ticket. That's a pretty good value. One ticket was RIC to HNL, and the other is RIC to LAS. So you might want to consider using your miles for U.S. domestic flights.

Bob Bradley
Colonial Heights, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
 
Viscount724
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RE: A "free" Ticket That Cost $530

Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:16 am

Quoting crosswinds21 (Reply 3):
With when an airline advertises and sells a "free" ticket, to charge a passegner this heavy fee is preposterous.


They stopped using the term "free ticket" long ago after they started chargin taxes/fees etc. on redemption bookings.

Quoting ScottB (Reply 4):
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
Essentially anything you earn has to be assigned a financial value, and the appropriate taxes get charged off that.

That may well be true, but a "free" ticket which costs $530 when an actual revenue ticket for the same seat runs $758 seems like a pretty poor reward.

Agree for Y class but not for the premium classes.

Quoting anstar (Reply 10):
Top tip is to never redeem for economy flights - it doesnt make much sense with all the charges. Best value redemptions are usually First or Business

Agree. I never use frequent flyer miles for Y class fares. Most of the time I can find a full revenue ticket for about the same fare. In Europe virtually all carriers charge fuel surcharges plus government/airport taxes on redemption bookings.

I still have quite a few BA Executive Club miles from previous business travel but I no longer fly BA as I hate connecting at LHR. However to clean out my last 100,000 BA miles I booked a J class round trip GVA-LHR-YVR late last November. The total of fuel surchrages and taxes/fees was about $600. However that's still a good deal compared to the full J round trip fare of over $5,000. Unfortunately, due to a major snowstorm my flights were cancelled 2 days in a row so I cancelled the trip and still have the miles. They might expire unused. It took BA 3 months to refund the fees/surcharges to my credit card.

Hotel loyalty programs are much better as you really do get something free when you redeem their points since they don't charge any fees and they absorb the taxes. So "free nights" really are free.

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