gesubsea
Posts: 191
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:10 pm

How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:37 pm

So, just finished an article posted in USA Today travel section (link below) related to what it really costs each of us to travel on the miles that we accumulate per annum. While I think we all can relate to the idea that it still costs us upwards of $100 + $10 ticket fee for a 25,000 point ticket (domestically), I DID NOT know that we are still liable for the exorbitant taxes, fees and surcharges that in many cases represent half if not more of an international ticket!!!

Further to that point, I never thought about how much money we spend on either flights (with a program) or points in relation to a credit card we need to earn just to get one measily 25,000 point free ticket (which is like $2,000 according to USA today).

My question is when was this passed down to the pax as I recall back in 2005, I travelled to Bangkok from Hong Kong in Biz on a United Mileage Plus ticket for 25,000 points on Thai. I do not recall ever paying anything related to gov't taxes other than a $10 ticketing fee during that transaction. Same is true for a trip to the Ukraine on now DL used to be NW mileage for 40,000 miles (on 4 different segments AUS-DTW-FRA-Prague-Kiev) again no added fees accept a ticketing charge of $10.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel...r-tickets-fees-surcharges/1891517/
 
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falstaff
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RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:07 pm

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
My question is when was this passed down to the pax as I recall back in 2005, I travelled to Bangkok from Hong Kong in Biz on a United Mileage Plus ticket for 25,000 points on Thai. I do not recall ever paying anything related to gov't taxes other than a $10 ticketing fee during that transaction. Same is true for a trip to the Ukraine on now DL used to be NW mileage for 40,000 miles (on 4 different segments AUS-DTW-FRA-Prague-Kiev) again no added fees accept a ticketing charge of $10.

I traveled on FF miles on NW DTW-FRA in 2008 and on AA DTW-ORD-FRA in 2009 and there were no excessive taxes, just a small fee, I don't it recall it being more than $50.

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
or points in relation to a credit card we need to earn just to get one measily 25,000 point free ticket (which is like $2,000 according to USA today).

If you going to put a charge like that on your credit card anyway it doesn't make any difference. The problem comes when you go into debt to just get the miles. Lets say you were going to spend $5000 to take trip with your family and you used the credit card to by the plane tickets, hotel, rental car, food, etc, which you would have used anyway, then paid off the trip, like you planned to do anyway, it makes sense to use the card that can earn you miles.
My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
 
JKJ777
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RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:33 pm

I flew from IAD-ICN-NRT-ICN-IAD back in 2011 on KE using DL skymiles. The physical cost of the ticket was $12,500 each for a total of $25K for two tickets. I used 120,000 miles for each ticket for my wife and I and paid $86 in taxes.......Back in 2009, we flew DTW-AMS-ATH, FCO-DTW in business class and used 100,000 miles for each ticket that priced out to $4,200 each. The taxes here were $160 total. Europe seems to more tax heavy when using miles from my experience.
 
sk736
Posts: 547
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RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:35 pm

BA/Iberia probably have the best deal on intra-European award flights - a flat fee of £15 each way for an award ticket.
 
AustrianZRH
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RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:53 am

It completely depends on what FFP you use. LH, e.g., charges full taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges for all flights, totaling up to 600 EUR for a three segment international trip or up to 150 to 200 EUR for an intra-EU flight.

For instance UA, OTOH, does not charge for fuel surcharge, making the numbers closer to 100-150 EUR and 150-200 EUR, respectively.
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
 
gabrielchew
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:49 pm

To answer your orignal question:
How much does a free ticket cost? Nothing, it's free.

However, where have you ever seen anyone advertising a "free" ticket? They are called "award" tickets or similar, and mean you don't have to pay the fare, not the total cost. Sadly, in recent years, airlines have realised that they can separate out the fuel charges as being a tax rather than an integral part of the fare. This they slap on with the other airport fees, and is part of the ever mounting cost of award tickets.

For flights out of the UK, on longhual premium award tickets, the "tax" can add up to hundred of dollars worth, the majority being UK Departure tax and fuel surcharges, both of which seem to rise well above inflation. The best way to look at award tickets as being a way to get to fly premium classes for a lot less than the cash equivilent. e.g. 50,000 miles + $400 tax for a one way F ticket LHR-JFK is a lot better than paying $5000 for a cash ticket (made up values). Of course, the value of your miles (and associcated taxes) varies massively based on the route, airline, and cost of reveue tickets.

Last year I flew DUS-BLL-MAN-LHR with BA miles...I paid 9,000 miles + $42 "tax". A cash ticket on the same route was $1084. Good value?

Quoting GEsubsea (Thread starter):
My question is when was this passed down to the pax as I recall back in 2005, I travelled to Bangkok from Hong Kong in Biz on a United Mileage Plus ticket for 25,000 points on Thai. I do not recall ever paying anything related to gov't taxes other than a $10 ticketing fee during that transaction. Same is true for a trip to the Ukraine on now DL used to be NW mileage for 40,000 miles (on 4 different segments AUS-DTW-FRA-Prague-Kiev) again no added fees accept a ticketing charge of $10.

If that's true, the UA were being very nice. BA now charges as flat cash fee + miles for European flights. Offically this seems to have saved people a lot of money based on the actual taxes they are charging for cash tickets. I don't know what the benefit is for them to do this, but is great for the consumer. On longhual flights, they charge airport taxes, fuel surcharges and departure tax, which all added together isn't cheap. The larger the cash fare portion of the ticket compared to the "tax", the better value the ticket.

Some airlines like Lufthansa really do try and screw their passengers over. A few years ago I bought a revenue ticket LHR-MUC-KIV for £6 + tax (about £100 was tax). When booking the exact same itineratry with miles, the "tax" was nearly £200. Plus the 30,000 miles of course. A complete scam.
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LGW-FNC-PDL-TER-LIS-LUX-LHR-MUC-BRN,BSL-LHR
 
MadameConcorde
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Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:08 pm

RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:43 pm

In France the taxes and surcharges that are being added to "free" frequent flyer mileage tickets are truly horrendous.

We may as well buy the air tickets rather than using FF miles. The cost of a ticket purchase will amount to about the same. Better save our precious FF miles for use elsewhere under different skies.

I can only expect this will get worse with the new Socialist government and the upcoming tax hykes on just about everything and everything imaginable.

    Wow!
There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
 
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TK787
Posts: 3137
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:43 am

RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:34 pm

Actually pretty happy with UA Mileage Plus;
I was able to get 2 X Economy JFK-IST (on TK metal) return ticket for 120K miles with a small amount of fee. That's pretty much free.
 
coachclass
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:59 pm

RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:47 pm

I learned my tax lesson with Lufthansa, too. Love the airline, hate the FF program. (Don't get me started with BA where I lost 65,000 miles. Haven't flown them in 10 years since.) So, I make sure to have STAR miles deposited into my UA account. As a matter of fact, I have stopped using foreign FF programs because of the tax issue and difficulty of using or saving them.
What gets me is the fee ($75) for getting a ticket within 14 days with UA or most others for that matter. The ticketing is all done by computer, so where's the special handling?
 
trex8
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RE: How Much Does A 'free' Ticket Really Cost?

Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:44 pm

Just booked my wife and MIL to LHR from ORD using my UA miles, $179 each in "taxes/fess", they are going different times so 60 K and 85K miles each.

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