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Old Nov 4, 09, 1:40 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: DEN
Posts: 318
Newbie Question[s - getting from DEN to TLV on miles in WT+/J]

I did spend some time searching the forum, but I had some basic questions that I was hoping someone could answer.

The problem:

I am thinking of the wife and I joining EC in order to take part in the Chase Visa offers for 100k miles at 2k spend and a companion ticket at 30k annual spend. 30k is pretty much our entire cc spend for the year, so this is a big decision.


The goal:

R/T for three (and perhaps 1 lap child) DEN/TLV in WT+ or CW

The Pluses:

BA offers 1 stop routing DEN-TLV via LHR
BA offers free stopover in London.
Reasonable lap child policy; 10% miles not 10% of highest fare in class like most others. I'd rather pay 13k miles than $800 cash for lap child in CW.

The Minuses:

I have no idea what the typical award availability is at BA.

I am having a hard time figuring out what the fuel surcharges would be for the ticket passengers and lap child on that route.

The whole seat assignment fee bothers me. The web site says they waive that when traveling with a lap child, nothing about other young children.

Questions:

Is award availability reasonable like AA or "good luck" like United? Is it common/possible to find 3 award seats in WT+ or CW?

Does anyone know what the current fuel surcharges are for the DEN-LHR-TLV route in WT+ and CW? Do lap children pay them?

Could my 3 year old not be seated with one or both parents if we don't pay the seat assignment fee?

Is Heathrow still a black hole for checked luggage?

Thanks for the help.
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Old Nov 4, 09, 2:24 pm   #2
Senior Moderator and Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
 
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It is possible to find 3 redemption seats in WT+ or Club on the same flights on both DEN and TLV routes - but it may not be on the exact dates you are looking for so a little flexibility does help. You can check availability on-line 24/7 on BA.com.

Fuel surcharges - unavoidable, i'm afraid and they apply to redemption bookings at the same rates as revenue bookings, to children as well as adults. More on that here: http://www.britishairways.com/travel...e/public/en_gb

If your 3 year old is travelling on the same booking the entire party will be assigned seats together three days before departure. Then, at 24 hours ahead of departure when online check in opens, you can change the seat assignments if you wish.

Heathrow in general has improved greatly in the last year or so. Although far from perfect, I rate T5 much higher than FRA, AMS and CDG for convenience and comfort as a transfer point for business class passengers
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Old Nov 4, 09, 2:33 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: UK
Programs: Mucci! And Awards for Gold 8, Silver 4, Bronze 2 and dropping fast!
Posts: 2,631
Hi JSteel and welcome to the BA Board.

My comments below in italics (caveat is that I don't know the TLV route nor do I book from the US). I think you will get your answer from a number of replies, so just wait for them to appear over the next few hours/days. We on this board pride ourselves on responding to requests - especially to help welcome 'newbies' into the fold.

The Minuses:

I have no idea what the typical award availability is at BA. The best thing to do is to log in to your account and have a play around with various dates. the tool is now very good and it will tell you 'there are x seats left'. You can also vary between WT+ and Club quite easily.The general rule of course is that the further out you book, the better.

I am having a hard time figuring out what the fuel surcharges would be for the ticket passengers and lap child on that route. Doing a dummy booking will tell you (but you may have to call BAEC in USA for the lap child).

The whole seat assignment fee bothers me. The web site says they waive that when traveling with a lap child, nothing about other young children. Don't know this one.

Questions:

Is award availability reasonable like AA or "good luck" like United? Is it common/possible to find 3 award seats in WT+ or CW? In my experience yes, we have a family of 5 and I have been able to fly us all in Club UK-US. Some flights the dummy booking will show you even more that that (I think I have seen up to 'only 7 seats left'). If the 'only x seats left' flag does not come up it means there are quite a high number.

Does anyone know what the current fuel surcharges are for the DEN-LHR-TLV route in WT+ and CW? Do lap children pay them? Exactly the breakdown of what is fuel surcharges and what are the 0ther charges varies. You should just take the total - because that is what you have to pay anyway.

Could my 3 year old not be seated with one or both parents if we don't pay the seat assignment fee? Read this

http://www.britishairways.com/travel...y/public/en_us

it tells you your options. With children 2-12 you can choose seats 3 days before the flight even if you don't want to pay.

Is Heathrow still a black hole for checked luggage? No, works pretty well now IME. And your flights both go in and out of T5 so reducing the risk of things going wrong.
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Last edited by BA or bust; Nov 4, 09 at 2:39 pm. Reason: I see Prospero was typing fast as I was typing slowly!
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Old Nov 4, 09, 2:47 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Programs: BA Executive Club
Posts: 1,132
If you are booking a companion ticket, if it works like the UK Amex 2-4-1 you don't seem to be able to get all 3 PAX on one PNR when the 2-4-1 voucher is used (you have to book those two seperately from the standard miles redemption ticket) - this may affect the seating arrangements.

Unless anyone knows different (I did manage to do this online several years ago, but have failed in the last 2 years both online and over the phone).
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Old Nov 4, 09, 2:59 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: DEN
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Thanks

Wow, thanks for all the great info and quick too.

I just can't see making this deal work at $724 round trip for CW and especially $610 for WT+. For reference, coach prices are typically around $1100 on that route (non BA). Even a lap child fee would be better than having to pay 3 fuel surcharges.

I would be paying $59 *2 for the annual fee on the Chase card, $118 total.
A whopping $2172 in fuel charges, assuming they don't raise them in the next year, and that is a big if. Throw in the 48k spend or Starwood xfer to get to to CW awards and we are looking at almost $1,000 missed reward from a 2% cash back card. Now we are at about $3300 for 3 CW "award" tickets. That is still a decent deal, however a long way from a "free ticket". Yes I know my standards are very high, or I am very greedy, depending on how you look at reward travel.

At this point, think I will have to keep churning Citi AA cards. I know I can't book BA TA w/ AA miles, but at least they partner w/ El Al. Routing DEN-TLV via ORD and one of a dozen other cities, but save close to 3K.

If citi deal goes away, I might still do it.

Thanks again

Jason
Reward Card Blogger
AskMrCreditCard Blog
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Old Nov 4, 09, 3:10 pm   #6
Senior Moderator and Moderator: British Airways Executive Club
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
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It sounds like AAdvantage might be a better programme for you, if you are comfortable with the connections between DEN and AA's nearest international gateway. It is worth bearing in mind if BA/AA seal their anti trust deal in the coming months this will open up BA TATL flights to AAdvantage members.
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Old Nov 4, 09, 3:32 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: DEN
Posts: 318
How is AA award availability w/ EC miles? 200,000 EC pts should go far according to the award chart, if they are usable.

Does anyone have any experience w/ that?
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Old Nov 4, 09, 3:42 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Paris and London
Programs: Mucci Grandee (Upgraded), BA Gold, AZ MilleMiglia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSteele View Post
Does anyone know what the current fuel surcharges are for the DEN-LHR-TLV route in WT+ and CW? Do lap children pay them?
I did a dummy booking for an adult redemption DEN-LHR-TLV next year with no stopover in LHR (otherwise that would increase the charges) and it comes up as 97,500 miles return plus taxes and charges of a little over 700 USD per adult. In CW it's 130,000 miles plus about 830 USD taxes and charges per adult.

It's certainly true that reward premium tickets are nothing like free. But you are getting fully flexible tickets that you can change for no fee, and are refundable (you get all miles and taxes and charges back if you cancel). Effectively, you are paying a little less than the cheapest discount inflexible economy fare for fully flexible CW.

IMHO it isn't worth the small saving to travel WT+ unless you are really short of miles.
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Old Nov 4, 09, 7:15 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: PDX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSteele View Post
Wow, thanks for all the great info and quick too.

I just can't see making this deal work at $724 round trip for CW and especially $610 for WT+. For reference, coach prices are typically around $1100 on that route (non BA). Even a lap child fee would be better than having to pay 3 fuel surcharges.AskMrCreditCard Blog
I'm a BA newbie too. I've tried to check out the charges on the BA site myself but since I don't have any miles yet in my FF account it won't show me any cost totals. So a CW award from Denver to London would come to $724? What would the typical fees and taxes and fuel charges be on an economy award? If it's still around $724 that's a bit ridiculous as I can find regular fares cheaper than that. In this case there's no way I'd waste my time with even a 100,000 mile bonus on their VISA.
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Old Nov 5, 09, 1:59 am   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brasov02 View Post
I'm a BA newbie too. I've tried to check out the charges on the BA site myself but since I don't have any miles yet in my FF account it won't show me any cost totals. So a CW award from Denver to London would come to $724? What would the typical fees and taxes and fuel charges be on an economy award? If it's still around $724 that's a bit ridiculous as I can find regular fares cheaper than that. In this case there's no way I'd waste my time with even a 100,000 mile bonus on their VISA.
As quoted on BA.com, the charges and fees for a cash booking for travel in WT DEN-LHR return is $387.24 per passenger. Charges and fees for an equivalent redemption booking will be similar.
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Old Nov 5, 09, 5:58 am   #11
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Paris and London
Programs: Mucci Grandee (Upgraded), BA Gold, AZ MilleMiglia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brasov02 View Post
I'm a BA newbie too. I've tried to check out the charges on the BA site myself but since I don't have any miles yet in my FF account it won't show me any cost totals. So a CW award from Denver to London would come to $724? What would the typical fees and taxes and fuel charges be on an economy award? If it's still around $724 that's a bit ridiculous as I can find regular fares cheaper than that. In this case there's no way I'd waste my time with even a 100,000 mile bonus on their VISA.
As Prospero says, about $400, and you can check (approximately) by doing a dummy cash booking.

Sure, you can find regular fares cheaper than $724, but they are non-refundable non-changeable Y fares. $724 gets you total flexibility in CW.
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Old Nov 5, 09, 9:06 am   #12
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: DEN
Posts: 318
Quote:
So a CW award from Denver to London would come to $724?
Not really. That was my calculation of a DEN-LHR-TLV RT for fuel surcharges only. I know taxes are more, but I am assuming that would (should) be the same on any award or purchase. Here is how I figured the $724.

http://www.britishairways.com/travel.../public/en_gb#

I assumed DEN-LHR is over 9 hours, although now I see the DEN-LHR is less, but the LHR-DEN is more, due to winds. As a pilot myself, I know that this could be different depending on the month flown.

If they are both 9 hours than you have $205 per sector, or $410 RT. Add the LHR-TLV RT at $157 per sector, $314 RT and that is how I got to $724. If they go by scheduled times on the outbound, that would reduce it to $676.

BTW, They do a masterful job of making fuel surcharges as opaque as possible on the web site. No breakdowns, just a general reference to the chart, and all the taxes are lumped in together, as if their fuel surcharge was just another tax. How this is legal must be the subject of another thread. Does the "fare" given have any meaning left?

Anyways, I really would like to know what success people have had booking AA awards, domestic or international with BA miles. The Chase card might be worth it even if BA metal awards don't make much sense.

Again, thanks for all the info. This is a fantastic forum.
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Old Nov 5, 09, 9:16 am   #13
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Delaware, USA
Programs: BAEC Gold
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSteele View Post
Anyways, I really would like to know what success people have had booking AA awards, domestic or international with BA miles. The Chase card might be worth it even if BA metal awards don't make much sense.
It is as easy/hard to get AA award flights with BA miles as it is with AA miles. I've never had issues with that--and I also use BA miles to book on CX and other OW partners. So BA miles are a nice thing to have even if (actually, especially if) you do not use them for BA flights.
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