"Free" J class YYZ-LHR tickets cost $1136

Old Apr 30, 13, 8:49 am
  #1  
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"Free" J class YYZ-LHR tickets cost $1136

It really annoys me that an Aeroplan J class ticket from YYZ-LHR has fees of $1136.46 when you can generally book a Y class ticket for less than that (yesterday I booked an Aeroplan J class reward for my wife and also booked a Y class ticket for her sister - the Y class ticket was $1064)

Why isn't the Fuel Surcharge of $770 part of the ticket? And how do they come up with a Fuel Surcharge of $770 in J class vs $412 in Y class?

I can understand making me pay the taxes, fees, etc but the fuel surcharge is a scam IMHO. What fuel price is the base from which they would not have a surcharge? Why don't airlines accept the fact that oil is not going back to $40/barrel and just increase the Base Fare? When I buy a loaf of bread it doesn't have a base cost of $1.50 plus a $1 wheat surcharge because wheat prices have gone up.

(If this is discussed in another thread then please point me there).
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Old Apr 30, 13, 8:54 am
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Where have you been? Yes, Aeroplan is useless. Except perhaps for SE types with access to much watered down IKK.

It's not a fuel surcharge, it's a co-pay.

On this sort of itinerary, my formula says that using miles in J yields about 1.4 cent/mile.

Surely, in Y, considerably less. Perhaps less than the toaster rate of around 0.8 cents.

If one does not have SE status, Aeroplan is more or less worthless. No point in bothering. Just like Air Miles, on which I gave up ages ago.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:15 am
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I haven't been on these forums but I book these tickets a couple of times a year for my wife and the surcharges keep increasing and are getting more annoying. I do fly enough to be SE (now S100k) as I fly to Europe about 5 times a year and to Asia about 2-3 times per year. But what is the rationale to having surcharges rather than eventually rasing the fare?

How do you do your calculations on the value of a point? My numbers are a bit different. The Base Fare for a J class YYZ-LHR on this flight is $3748 and you can get this on Aeroplan points for 90,000 points. That is $0.042 / point. Subtracting the other incremental fees off the value of this flight ($358 higher fuel surcharge vs Y and additional $108.84 in UK duty) brings a value of $.0365 / point. (3748-358-108.84)/90000

The Base Fare for Y class is $425 and that costs 60,000 points so the value of a point is similar to what you get at $.007/point.

FYI - here is a good story on fuel surcharges from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Frequent flyers have been treated like dirt for the past decade as the airlines continue to roll back the value of loyalty to the point where it’s almost cheaper to shop around for a fare rather than accept a “free” flight redemption.

The centrepiece of the cost of a frequent flyer redemption is now the fuel “surcharge”, which has kept rising even though fuel prices are now falling.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:25 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk.

This is a topic that has been much discussed ... it's a grievance that everyone shares. The "fuel surcharge" is also just called a scamcharge around here - if you search for that word, you'll find lots & lots of hits. Here are some of the more recent threads...
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by wayner92 View Post
How do you do your calculations on the value of a point? My numbers are a bit different. The Base Fare for a J class YYZ-LHR on this flight is $3748 and you can get this on Aeroplan points for 90,000 points. That is $0.042 / point. Subtracting the other incremental fees off the value of this flight ($358 higher fuel surcharge vs Y and additional $108.84 in UK duty) brings a value of $.0365 / point. (3748-358-108.84)/90000
But an Aeroplan ticket is much more restricted than even a Z fare, let alone J. Even with IKK access, which improves things a bit, it apparently goes into R (upgrade) space. And look at what happens in case of IRROPS.

My valuation is based upon the price of a latitude flight pass, which used to $1400 each way from western Canada (now a bit more). So, $2800+ various surcharges, being equivalent to 90,000 miles plus the miles that you would have collected on a revenue ticket.

:Last time I looked, for a round trip YYC-FRA (better than LHR), I ended up with 1.6 cents/mile. I sort of regretted it. Best are rewards initiating in Brazil.

(I got one of these last year by embedding one round trip initiating in GRU into another one initiating in Canada.)
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:35 am
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It is kind of tricky when calculating the value since it is questionable whether you use the additional J class fuel surcharges to reduce the value of the points - same thing with the UK J class duty.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 9:58 am
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How has this not been litigated as a class action?

No one person in their right mind would sue AE/AC ("Don't blame me! It's the other guy!") given the amounts involved, but when you put it together there is some real dinero at stake.

I don't think people would object to REASONABLE fees, but when you get into these absurd scenarios where the YQ and other fees on a reward ticket sometimes EXCEED the value of a cash fare in Y, then I'm sorry... that is just plain wrong.

And I know someone is going to step up and say "Well, it's their program and you have to play by their rules". But the reality is that people have spent great wads of money expecting something that approximates FREE award travel. Because that's what Aeroplan's adverts say... they don't say "get a $200 discount on trips to London when you use 60,000 Aeroplan Points".

Maybe it's time to start calling around... hello Tony Merchant, are you listening?

EDIT: Sonofagun, I looked at Merchant Law's website and there already is a class action against Air Miles for its bogus fees

https://www.merchantlaw.com/classactions/airmiles.php

There is one against AE too, but only in relation to expiring miles. I'd happily get in on one against AE for its ridiculous fees.

Last edited by heraclitus; Apr 30, 13 at 10:04 am
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Old Apr 30, 13, 10:48 am
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Aeroplan awards are really what SPG calls cash and points redemptions for their hotel rooms. At least the hotels are honest in what this is and still offer free awards for more points. The airlines still believe that they are fooling people with free rewards.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 10:52 am
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You can fly YYZ-ORD/IAD/PHL/EWR-LON and avoid the $800 scamcharge
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Old Apr 30, 13, 11:35 am
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Several months ago I looked into booking a YYZ-LHR-YYZ ticket in J. At the time, the fuel surcharge and fees/taxes combined was $900-something. That was the final straw for me and I'm now actively trying to bring my account balance to zero for good. Amusing that the fees have gone up even further since.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by HomoEconomicus View Post
Several months ago I looked into booking a YYZ-LHR-YYZ ticket in J. At the time, the fuel surcharge and fees/taxes combined was $900-something. That was the final straw for me and I'm now actively trying to bring my account balance to zero for good. Amusing that the fees have gone up even further since.
My account was down to zero late last year. However somehow it's back to about 140,000. With no redemption planned until maybe late in the year.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 12:24 pm
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To be fair to AC, this is not all their Fuel Surcharge. Of the $1136, $770 of it is the Fuel Surcharge. The UK government is gouging as well. You pay a UK Passenger Service Charge of $64.57 plus a UK Air Passenger Duty that is $108.84 for Y and $217.68 for J. That is purely a tax, it has nothing to do with trying to cover their airport costs,etc.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by rankourabu View Post
You can fly YYZ-ORD/IAD/PHL/EWR-LON and avoid the $800 scamcharge
Yes but then you have to deal with US customs and you are also wasting a few hours each way, especially if you go to ORD. And doesn't that mean that your main flight is on United - Canadians love to hate AC but there service, lounges, IFE are generally far superior to what you get on US based airlines.

It is partially a question of how much extra time are you willing to waste and also put up with other hassles, like clearing customs an additional time each way. These Aeroplan reward tickets are usually when I take along my wife when I am on a business trip so I am not paying for my ticket, only hers (with points + scam charges + legitimate other fees).

Maybe I should look into One World since much of my overseas travel is to LHR or HKG so I could use BA and Cathay rather than AC. How is One World for these scam charges and am I better off joining BA's FF plan or Cathay's?
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Old Apr 30, 13, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by wayner92 View Post
Yes but then you have to deal with US customs and you are also wasting a few hours each way, especially if you go to ORD. And doesn't that mean that your main flight is on United - Canadians love to hate AC but there service, lounges, IFE are generally far superior to what you get on US based airlines.

It is partially a question of how much extra time are you willing to waste and also put up with other hassles, like clearing customs an additional time each way. These Aeroplan reward tickets are usually when I take along my wife when I am on a business trip so I am not paying for my ticket, only hers (with points + scam charges + legitimate other fees).

Maybe I should look into One World since much of my overseas travel is to LHR or HKG so I could use BA and Cathay rather than AC. How is One World for these scam charges and am I better off joining BA's FF plan or Cathay's?
BA scamcharges are the same or worse than AC. Not sure about Cathay's. One advantage of Aeroplan is that you can choose your own routing for the same mileage, and minimize or avoid scamcharges altogether.
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Old Apr 30, 13, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by wayner92 View Post
Yes but then you have to deal with US customs and you are also wasting a few hours each way, especially if you go to ORD. And doesn't that mean that your main flight is on United - Canadians love to hate AC but there service, lounges, IFE are generally far superior to what you get on US based airlines.
I'll give you time wasting.

Everything else is not worth spending $800 more for.

AC service and IFE far superior to UA J - are you kidding me???
AC IFE doesnt work half the time! And service.... LOL...

And in Y, there is economy plus.

US customs are a non-issue with NEXUS.
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