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Old Mar 19, 12, 8:46 am   #1
 
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International redemptions with VS and VA using Elevate points start today (merged)

I hope this isn't old news, I searched and couldn't find anything. Looks like VX gets to pay YQ/fuel surcharge as well! Don't know how else to get $650 in taxes and fees US-London.

"Big news, TheBOSman.

Your Elevate account can take you farther than ever. Now you can earn points and redeem flights across the pond or down under with our international airline partners, starting today with Virgin Atlantic and starting March 22 with Virgin Australia. Take roundtrips from New York, Boston, Chicago, or D.C. to London for as few as 15,000 points,* to Sydney for as few as 55,000 points,** or get around to many more hip destinations worldwide."

*15,000 Points + $650 taxes and fees for Economy class.
**55,000 Points + $749 taxes and fees for Economy class.

Terms & Conditions:
Taxes and fees are accurate as of March 19, 2012, and fluctuate with exchange rates. Applicable taxes, charges, surcharges and fees are payable and communicated by our Call Center at the time of availability. All redemptions quoted are Reward Seats, subject to availability and to the Elevate Terms and Conditions. Reward bookings are not eligible to earn Points. Point levels are based on an adult booking. Infant redemption bookings are not permitted.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 8:52 am   #2
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VX introducing Intl redemptions on VA/VS

https://www.virginamerica.com/vx/red...rgin-australia

https://www.virginamerica.com/vx/red...irgin-atlantic

Includes a lot of YQ and taxes- some sample fares on SEA-HKG in Upper Class were:

Quote:
Upper Class 110,000 (points) $2100 taxes and fuel surcharge
$2100 can get me enough US Airways miles to do SEA-HKG(dest)-LHR(stopover)-SEA AND pay all the taxes/fees in *A business class. AND I'd have some money left over.

So, basically, this is pretty much useless to me.

Here's EWR-LHR:


Code:
Class                Points             Taxes & Fuel Surcharge* 
Economy              15,000             $650 taxes and fuel surcharge
Premium Economy      25,000             $750 taxes and fuel surcharge
Upper Class          35,000             $1100 taxes and fuel surcharge
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Old Mar 19, 12, 10:19 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBOSman View Post

*15,000 Points + $650 taxes and fees for Economy class.
**55,000 Points + $749 taxes and fees for Economy class.
Those are some hefty taxes/fees especially for the NYC-LON
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Old Mar 19, 12, 10:46 am   #4
 
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I like it!!

I like this!! Sure, the fees/taxes are really high, but the # of Elevate points needed seems about right (conversion rate might even be better than domestic US). Glad to see that our Elevate points can be applied towards international travel!!
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Old Mar 19, 12, 11:29 am   #5
 
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WHAAAAT?! These fees are ridiculous.

Last time I flew JFK to LHR on BA for Under $600.

Granted that was a few years ago- but unless you're leaving TOMORROW in the MIDDLE OF THE SUMMER, these fees are way too sharp.

I don't totally get these Fuel Surcharges either.

Why is a VX redeption from JFK to SFO which is 2700 miles, cost $2.50 in surcharges, yet JFK to LHR 3470 cost $650?!
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Old Mar 19, 12, 11:39 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grt2106 View Post
WHAAAAT?! These fees are ridiculous.

Last time I flew JFK to LHR on BA for Under $600.

Granted that was a few years ago- but unless you're leaving TOMORROW in the MIDDLE OF THE SUMMER, these fees are way too sharp.

I don't totally get these Fuel Surcharges either.

Why is a VX redeption from JFK to SFO which is 2700 miles, cost $2.50 in surcharges, yet JFK to LHR 3470 cost $650?!
I've seen BOS-LHR on VS for less than $600 too. It is quite absurd. For departure 4/21 and return 4/24, it is as follows from ITA Matrix:

Fare 1: Carrier VS OKWSLUS BOS to LON (rules)
Passenger type ADT, round trip fare, booking code O
Covers BOS-LHR (Economy)
$83.00
Fare 2: Carrier VS OKXSLUS LON to BOS (rules)
Passenger type ADT, round trip fare, booking code O
Covers LHR-BOS (Economy)
$58.00
VS YQ surcharge (YQ) $430.00
VS YQ surcharge (YQ) $8.00
US International Departure Tax (US) $16.70
US September 11th Security Fee (AY) $2.50
US Passenger Facility Charge (XF) $4.50
USDA APHIS Fee (XA) $5.00
US Immigration Fee (XY) $7.00
US Customs Fee (YC) $5.50
United Kingdom Air Passengers Duty (GB) $101.70
United Kingdom Passenger Service Charge (UB) $53.90
US International Arrival Tax (US) $16.70

Subtotal per passenger $792.50
Number of passengers x1

TOTAL AIRFARE & TAXES $792.50
This ticket is non-refundable.
Changes to this ticket will incur a penalty fee.

So $792.50 minus the base fares of $141 RT does equal $651.50. They're actually underestimating it! Even if VS were to roll the fuel surcharge into the base fare, the Crown takes $154.60. The total government fees alone from both sides are over $200.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 12:21 pm   #7
 
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and we thought BA fees were high.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 2:22 pm   #8
 
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$2100 in fees to redeem? What a joke.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 2:59 pm   #9
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The BA disease of mega-surcharges on awards seems to be spreading.

This is bad news for members of FF programs which have not yet joined the surcharge bandwagon.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 3:33 pm   #10
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The rates are pretty crappy, especially if you are flying on VA and connecting to VX for a domestic add-on. We're talking 100,000 points for ORD-LAX and 150,000 for JFK-LAX. Pretty ridiculous.


The 35K UC award from the east coast to LHR isn't bad, though the $1100 "taxes and fees" component is pretty brutal. Even worse is the $650 in fees on the 15K award. With the base fares as low as $100-150 round trip paying the 15K points just to save that is a really bad idea.

On the plus side, the entire redemption chart - all 1400ish rows of data - is available as a single XML file from the VX website. That made the analysis pretty easy. More details on the rates and some of the quirks in the charts can be found here.

ETA: Looks like you can go the VS route from JFK-LHR-SYD by combining two awards. It would book at 120K points + $2100 in fees versus the VA option of 230K + $850. Both mostly suck.

Last edited by sbm12; Mar 19, 12 at 4:26 pm.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 4:54 pm   #11
 
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Nice to see the start of other airline redemption possibilities but don't think I would ever both to use my points in this way. The fuel surcharges and fees that Euro carriers charge for Awards are just ridiculous. AF/KL/BA/VS etc. all keep raising their fees making their frequent flyer program redemptions less and less attractive.

I wish international carriers would go back to just having the fare and taxes rather than having fees that are several times higher than the base fare.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 5:13 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfozrhfco View Post
Nice to see the start of other airline redemption possibilities but don't think I would ever both to use my points in this way. The fuel surcharges and fees that Euro carriers charge for Awards are just ridiculous. AF/KL/BA/VS etc. all keep raising their fees making their frequent flyer program redemptions less and less attractive.

I wish international carriers would go back to just having the fare and taxes rather than having fees that are several times higher than the base fare.
The original appeal of FF programs was free travel. Travel discounted 30% has MUCH less appeal. Programs that offer free travel, even at much higher point levels, will have an advantage. Compare Southwest's absurdly priced international redemption option, which is just below 1 cent of ticket per point. People who want a FREE trip will prefer that program even if the value per point is lower than for VX.

Award surcharges IMHO are a loyalty killer the moment the customer learns of them. This often occurs at redemption time, which means that the customer's loyalty stays killed for years. Unless the customer assumes that all airlines play this same game. That assumption has been and remains incorrect, but it's becoming less and less incorrect over time.
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Old Mar 19, 12, 10:34 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
The rates are pretty crappy, especially if you are flying on VA and connecting to VX for a domestic add-on. We're talking 100,000 points for ORD-LAX and 150,000 for JFK-LAX. Pretty ridiculous.

couldn't believe it when I saw the same. Insane. 80k LAX-BNE, 180K ORD-BNE. Guess I'll leave from LAX
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Old Mar 20, 12, 2:22 pm   #14
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Virgin's Unite

Copied from blog:

The sexy and sometimes sleazy (if you don't like short skirts on long legged pretty ladies and suites on well-groomed handsome men), revolutionary game changing airlines from London, Sydney, and San Francisco have finally came together to further unite their frequent flyer programs as one large partnership! Still 3 different program, the Virgin Frequent flyer programs now allow members to redeem points on ALL 3 airlines, created a mini virgin alliance in the sky! In 2010, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America started to allow frequent flyers to earn points and miles from flyer each other airlines, so no matter what program you were a member of, points/miles could be earned on all three airlines.

Remember though, not all frequent flyer programs are created equal, and each program has different ways to earn points/miles and different requirements for spending.

However, with these newest announcements Virgin America Elevate members can now book roundtrip flights on Virgin Atlantic from New York, Boston, Chicago, or Washington D.C. to London for as few as 15,000 Elevate points and from San Francisco to London for as few as 25,000 points + $650 in taxes and fees. Furthermore, as of March 22nd, Elevate members can book roundtrip flights on Virgin Australia for as low as 40,000 points + $749 in taxes and fees from Los Angeles to Sydney. Points can also be used for redemption in Prem Economy and Biz with higher surcharges and more points. Furthermore points can be used to all destinations that Virgin Atlantic flies to LAX to Dubai anyone? Although fees are quite steep! You might be better off buying a ticket unless going prem or upper class! Find your reward costs here. Again I would say economy tickets are NOT worth it, Prem econ and Upper class are debatable!


Virgin Atlanticís Flying Club program members can book domestic flights on Virgin America, such as from San Francisco to New York for as few as 25,000 Miles, or Los Angeles to San Francisco for 10,000 Miles +$5 taxes and fees. Also, Virgin Atlantic Flyers can also travel on Virgin Australia from Sydney to Los Angeles from 94,000 Miles + $749 in taxes and fees!

Obviously theses fees, taxes, fuel surcharges, etc are SKY HIGH and are NOT the best redemption opportunities for flights to/from London and Sydney, especially for coach! However for Virgin Atlantic flyers, the domestic US flight taxes and fees are not only low, but have low redemption thresholds!

Virgin Australia Velocity flyers, your redemption opportunities is based on how many miles the trip is. Therefore a reward ticket on VX from SFO to LAX would be 6,900 points, where as NYC to LONDON would be 23,900 on VA. Use the guide below (on blog) for a cheat sheet. Nowhere on the Velocity rewards site does it lay out what taxes and fees will be, but I would say, expect similar fees as the other airlines.


Point Tip:

Remember Virgin American and Virgin Atlantic are transfer partners with American Express, so Membership Rewards points can be transferred between Membership rewards and these airlines and then used to fly to Australia, opening up 1 more way to get down-under for almost free!
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