Award upgrades and carrier-imposed fees

Old Jan 26, 2022, 6:49 pm
  #1  
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Award upgrades and carrier-imposed fees

I'll be travelling ORD-PRG in August, and I'm trying to figure out if an upgrade will be at all feasible, or if I should just go ahead and book premium economy with cash (I don't have a lot of miles and it's questionable if I'd get the 50k required for the upgrade in time anyway).

The fine print under the upgrade award chart says this: "Upgrading from Economy Class to Business Class or First Class results in additional premium cabin taxes and carrier-imposed fees, including but not limited to flights originating in Great Britain and France."

Are Great Britain and France special, or will I have to pay the difference in carrier-imposed fees regardless of where I connect? Can I calculate what that will cost by taking the difference of the copays for an award ticket (example in the screenshot $1577 - $587 = $990)? If so, unless there are any tricks I haven't considered, I'll stop worrying about the upgrade and probably just book premium economy.

Okay so apparently I can't post a screenshot with a new account, but hopefully I've described it well enough.
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Old Jan 26, 2022, 7:03 pm
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uiucengineer Welcome to FT

Originally Posted by uiucengineer
I'll be travelling ORD-PRG in August, and I'm trying to figure out if an upgrade will be at all feasible, or if I should just go ahead and book premium economy with cash (I don't have a lot of miles and it's questionable if I'd get the 50k required for the upgrade in time anyway).

The fine print under the upgrade award chart says this: "Upgrading from Economy Class to Business Class or First Class results in additional premium cabin taxes and carrier-imposed fees, including but not limited to flights originating in Great Britain and France."

Are Great Britain and France special, or will I have to pay the difference in carrier-imposed fees regardless of where I connect? Can I calculate what that will cost by taking the difference of the copays for an award ticket (example in the screenshot $1577 - $587 = $990)? If so, unless there are any tricks I haven't considered, I'll stop worrying about the upgrade and probably just book premium economy.

Okay so apparently I can't post a screenshot with a new account, but hopefully I've described it well enough.
UK & France have high departure taxes. UK (for most, but not airports) has a class of travel based departure tax (APD). For UK this is not payable for transits or arrivals.
An AA award on BA has carrier-imposed fees.

If you 100% want a better seat pay for it up front. Upgrades are not guaranteed. Very likley will be more pax wanting than upgrade seats. Having high AA status can help you on the upgrade list.
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Old Jan 26, 2022, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
uiucengineer Welcome to FT


UK & France have high departure taxes. UK (for most, but not airports) has a class of travel based departure tax (APD). For UK this is not payable for transits or arrivals.
An AA award on BA has carrier-imposed fees.

If you 100% want a better seat pay for it up front. Upgrades are not guaranteed. Very likley will be more pax wanting than upgrade seats. Having high AA status can help you on the upgrade list.
I understand the need for payment of the difference in taxes (though your explanation of the taxes is helpful), but what has me confused is the carrier-imposed fees.

I'll have platinum status in a couple weeks, which I know isn't great.

If I was going to try for the upgrade, based on my searching, the only way to get a reasonable fare on AA metal would be to book the transatlantic portion separate from the flight into PRG, which seems like a hassle and risky. I'm guessing the answer is 'no', but are there any tricks to make that less of a hassle or less risky?
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Old Jan 26, 2022, 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by uiucengineer
....the only way to get a reasonable fare on AA metal would be to book the transatlantic portion separate from the flight into PRG, which seems like a hassle and risky. I'm guessing the answer is 'no', but are there any tricks to make that less of a hassle or less risky?
In these times and possibly in August 2022, booking separate tickets and doing a self connection has risks, including late flights, schedule changes and possibly CV19/immigration issues.
EU is not large. PRG is not far from MUC by train.
For me would be booking in 1 ticket. All about risk vs spending another $100, $250 what ever
An old thread. Routes will be out of date. (open the wiki)--->Where exactly does AA fly to Europe? Which routes have good business seats?

A map from Great Circle Mapper

Edit
AA Cargo can give an indication of routes. But need to check which are cargo only and cargo/pax flights

https://www.aacargo.com/ship/schedules.html
e.g.
Download February map
U.S. Outbound pdf
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 26, 2022 at 7:54 pm
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Old Jan 26, 2022, 7:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
In these times and possibly in August 2022, booking separate tickets and doing a self connection has risks, including late flights, schedule changes and possibly CV19/immigration issues.
EU is not large. PRG is not far from MUC by train.
For me would be booking in 1 ticket. All about risk vs spending another $100, $250 what ever
An old thread. Routes will be out of date. (open the wiki)
Ive never actually been to Europe and this looks very helpful. Thank you!
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Old Jan 26, 2022, 7:45 pm
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Originally Posted by uiucengineer
I’ve never actually been to Europe and this looks very helpful. Thank you!
OK. Do not expect it to be like USA.
EU trains are very good and go almost every where
Enjoy the trip
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Old Jan 27, 2022, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
OK. Do not expect it to be like USA.
EU trains are very good and go almost every where
Enjoy the trip
It looks like MUC through AA is the move, thanks for suggesting it. Comparable price to what I'm seeing through BA to PRG, for a bit more I can actually fly out of my home CMI, and the train ride might actually be pretty cool.
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Old Jan 27, 2022, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
In these times and possibly in August 2022, booking separate tickets and doing a self connection has risks, including late flights, schedule changes and possibly CV19/immigration issues.
EU is not large. PRG is not far from MUC by train.
For me would be booking in 1 ticket. All about risk vs spending another $100, $250 what ever
An old thread. Routes will be out of date. (open the wiki)--->Where exactly does AA fly to Europe? Which routes have good business seats?

A map from Great Circle Mapper

Edit
AA Cargo can give an indication of routes. But need to check which are cargo only and cargo/pax flights

https://www.aacargo.com/ship/schedules.html
e.g.
Download February map
U.S. Outbound pdf
While Munich and Prague are not terribly far apart, the train ride from MUC to the main train station in Prague will take 5 1/2 to 6 hours and will require at least one connection.
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Old Jan 27, 2022, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by JPG3392
While Munich and Prague are not terribly far apart, the train ride from MUC to the main train station in Prague will take 5 1/2 to 6 hours and will require at least one connection.

I'm leaning heavily toward MUC for several reasons:
  • It's the only destination in Europe I've seen so far that I can book premium economy through AA for ~$2K
  • I'll get a day in Munich!
  • For only a little more I can fly out of my home town CMI instead of driving to ORD, which is amazing. Departing CMI will actually pay for itself in parking fees! CMI-ORD-CLT-MUC will be a little crazy but it's worth it, I can't stress enough how much I Iove CMI!
  • The outbound train will be a little shorter as I'm actually headed for Klatovy. There is actually a direct Munich-Prague which I'll probably use for the return after spending a day in Prague.
  • The train ride might actually be kinda cool
  • The way the flight times work out I leave earlier and return later and I don't think I actually lose much time at destinations to the train.
So I really appreciate the recommendation to look at MUC. I'm stoked and I'm about ready to book! Still open to other ideas though.
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Old Jan 27, 2022, 11:11 pm
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Originally Posted by uiucengineer
I'm leaning heavily toward MUC for several reasons:
  • It's the only destination in Europe I've seen so far that I can book premium economy through AA for ~$2K
  • I'll get a day in Munich!
  • For only a little more I can fly out of my home town CMI instead of driving to ORD, which is amazing. Departing CMI will actually pay for itself in parking fees! CMI-ORD-CLT-MUC will be a little crazy but it's worth it, I can't stress enough how much I Iove CMI!
  • The outbound train will be a little shorter as I'm actually headed for Klatovy. There is actually a direct Munich-Prague which I'll probably use for the return after spending a day in Prague.
  • The train ride might actually be kinda cool
  • The way the flight times work out I leave earlier and return later and I don't think I actually lose much time at destinations to the train.
So I really appreciate the recommendation to look at MUC. I'm stoked and I'm about ready to book! Still open to other ideas though.
Is an advantage not to transit a 3rd country(UK). Worth paying more for that. Better to keep it simple. For me 2 short haul and one long haul better than a series of medium hauls

"CMI-ORD-CLT-MUC will be a little crazy" No, This is FT. More ff miles - more status earning
A map from Great Circle Mapper

MUC PRG LKKT-->http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=MUC%0D%...+&MS=wls&DU=mi
Train MUC to LKKT?
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 28, 2022 at 12:49 am Reason: added (UK)
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Old Jan 28, 2022, 12:26 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
Is an advantage not to transit a 3rd country. Worth paying more for that. Better to keep it simple.
Hmm you might be right. If I fly into PRG it's a couple hundred cheaper and better options if I book through BA vs AA. Apart from having money stuck with BA if I end up canceling, what are other implications of booking with BA?

How do I figure out what the loyalty points and award miles and does it depend who you book with, who operates the flight, or both (I understand how to figure it for AA on AA)? I'll have platinum and I'll be booking premium economy.

If I book with BA do I lose the ability to request 500 mile upgrades on any US connections? (not that it's really important, I just want to understand the differences).

I guess I would lose the double award miles from my credit card
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Old Jan 28, 2022, 12:38 am
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To me ""CMI-ORD-CLT-MUC" all on AA would be better than BA via LHR (on separate tickets?). Simpler
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 28, 2022 at 1:06 am
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Old Jan 28, 2022, 12:43 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
To me ""CMI-ORD-CLT-MUC" all on AA would be better than BA via LHR. Simplier
Ohhhh when you mentioned extra countries being a hassle, you were talking about connecting flights and not the train? I don't do much international travel.
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Old Jan 28, 2022, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by uiucengineer
Ohhhh when you mentioned extra countries being a hassle, you were talking about connecting flights and not the train? I don't do much international travel.
In some ways EU is like a "country" Minimal borders - same currency (for many)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area
At the end of 2020, the only land borders with border controls (not counting temporary ones) between EU/EEA members, are those dividing Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania from each other and from the rest of the EU.[16]
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Old Jan 28, 2022, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by uiucengineer
I'm leaning heavily toward MUC for several reasons:
  • It's the only destination in Europe I've seen so far that I can book premium economy through AA for ~$2K
  • I'll get a day in Munich!
  • For only a little more I can fly out of my home town CMI instead of driving to ORD, which is amazing. Departing CMI will actually pay for itself in parking fees! CMI-ORD-CLT-MUC will be a little crazy but it's worth it, I can't stress enough how much I Iove CMI!
  • The outbound train will be a little shorter as I'm actually headed for Klatovy. There is actually a direct Munich-Prague which I'll probably use for the return after spending a day in Prague.
  • The train ride might actually be kinda cool
  • The way the flight times work out I leave earlier and return later and I don't think I actually lose much time at destinations to the train.
So I really appreciate the recommendation to look at MUC. I'm stoked and I'm about ready to book! Still open to other ideas though.
My earlier remarks were based on the false assumption that you would be travelling directly from MUC (the Munich airport) to central Prague. Travelling from central Munich to Klatovy is much quicker than the times I indicated. For the day I checked (next Monday, though the trains noted below run daily), there are two good options: 1) Leave Munich Hauptbahnhof at 9:24 AM, change at Plattling and Bayerisch Eisenstein [last station in Germany], and arrive in Klatovy at 1:16 PM. 2) Leave Munich Hauptbahnhof at 10:43 AM, change at Domazlice [first station in CZ], and arrive in Klatovy at 3:10 PM. Special fares as low as 29 Euro are available under certain conditions.

Spending even a day in Munich makes this option more attractive.
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Last edited by JPG3392; Jan 29, 2022 at 2:52 pm Reason: Corrected minor error and typo.
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