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Two one-way awards now more than round trip, is this new? [Not entirely]

Two one-way awards now more than round trip, is this new? [Not entirely]

Old May 18, 2023, 9:26 pm
  #1  
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Two one-way awards now more than round trip, is this new? [Not entirely]

I often have an open jaw trip to Europe which includes a tentative stop. I pay my own ticket and always try to use up miles or get creative with planning. Let me give a specific example. In March 2024, I will be going PHL-LHR-ZAG and returning CDG-PHL. The main trip is for work, PHL-CDG round trip. But for only the cost of a ticket from ZAG to CDG (less than $100), I can add in a stopover in Zagreb for a few days to visit family and friends. The mileage cost of PHL-ZAG is the same as PHL-LHR-ZAG, currently 21,500 miles plus taxes of about $40. If I book it as r/t also returning CDG-PHL, the current r/t total comes to 42,000 miles and about $120 fees. If I book it as 2 one-way fares, PHL-ZAG lists as 21,500 miles and CDG-PHL lists as 26,000 miles. (The total fees remain the same.) That's an increase of 6,000 miles.

My old method has been to book 2 one-way tix. If the Zagreb visit fell through, I could either stay in the UK to visit friends and family, or book a one way to Paris, also less than $100, and simply throw away the BA portion LHR-ZAG. It allowed for a way to have great last-minute flexibility for a pleasure portion which meant a visit to the UK or Croatia almost for free. Also, dropping the BA segment LHR-ZAG never caused any problem. But if I get a r/t ticket and try to drop the LHR-ZAG segment, the return might recalculate and jump way higher. Right now, two one-way tix cost 6,000 more. The return CDG-PHL often sells out in lower mileage; that's why I'm working now on March 2024.

Maybe I'm just trying to squeeze too much out of a mileage ticket (which sounds better than being called cheap/frugal). But a former decade-long strategy seems to have bitten the dust. I'll be working on this over the weekend. I welcome any thoughts; yes, I do realize this is a first world problem! Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old May 18, 2023, 9:31 pm
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Reported by bloggers last week.


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Last edited by Microwave; May 19, 2023 at 11:20 am Reason: Removed blog link that did not comply with FT rules
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Old May 18, 2023, 9:41 pm
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This chart confirms it. Oh well; another strategy to rethink. Thx for the chart.
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Old May 19, 2023, 1:31 am
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I started noticing this on certain domestic routes a few months ago. It appears now to be widespread as reported.
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Old May 19, 2023, 2:41 am
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The blogger calls it a “relatively new development” but it’s been the case for several months, if not more than a year.
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Old May 19, 2023, 3:08 am
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Originally Posted by AirborneLocksmith
Reported by bloggers last week.
Typical bloggers.

Reported by FTers two years ago.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/33375195-post292.html
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Last edited by Microwave; May 19, 2023 at 11:21 am Reason: Edited quote of edited post
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Old May 19, 2023, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by armus
The blogger calls it a relatively new development but its been the case for several months, if not more than a year.
Agreed, this has been my experience for quite sometime. I don't think this is really a new development. I think a lot of people simply did not bother checking round trip vs. one-way because they assumed one-way was half the price of round trip. But my wife and I stumbled across this "anomaly" quite awhile back.

Regards
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Old May 19, 2023, 9:17 am
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It raises an interesting strategy topic in regards to booking awards:

Book 2 one-ways at some sort of premium - but it gives you the flexibility to edit travel dates, shop for other one-way awards after booking to see if you can secure a better one way rate, or a better overall routing/equipment. Most of these via a cancel, redeposit, and re-book function. But you might be able to do some of this via a schedule change parlay.

Or book a single round trip and grab the discounted miles cost, and lose some of that flexibility.

I don't have a feel for what sort of "premium" I would be willing to pay, I guess it would depend on each award search result?
5% premium, sure I will pay for the flexibility, 25% I might bite the bullet and do the RT booking.
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Old May 19, 2023, 11:26 am
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I've updated this thread's title to more accurately reflect its contents, and also removed a blog link that was not compliant with FT's rules surrounding linking to external content such as blogs.

~Moderator
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Old May 19, 2023, 4:34 pm
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So, what happens if you book roundtrip at discounted rate, but then have to cancel the return part, how many miles do you get back? Half of the roundtrip? How is that calculated with the rt discount?
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Old May 19, 2023, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by nk15
So, what happens if you book roundtrip at discounted rate, but then have to cancel the return part, how many miles do you get back? Half of the roundtrip? How is that calculated with the rt discount?
If you cancel the return before travel starts, the outbound would probably be recalculated with the one-way rate.
Using the table I posted above, if you have a 42k miles round trip LAX-LHR-LAX trip and cancel the return, the ticket would likely be repriced as a 25k miles LAX-LHR one-way.

If you cancel the return after the flying the outbound part, who knows how they'd handle it. Perhaps the same calculation would apply and they'd refund 17k miles.
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Old May 19, 2023, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by AirborneLocksmith
If you cancel the return before travel starts, the outbound would probably be recalculated with the one-way rate.
Using the table I posted above, if you have a 42k miles round trip LAX-LHR-LAX trip and cancel the return, the ticket would likely be repriced as a 25k miles LAX-LHR one-way.

If you cancel the return after the flying the outbound part, who knows how they'd handle it. Perhaps the same calculation would apply and they'd refund 17k miles.
DL has had roundtrip award levels that are cheaper than 2 one-ways since around 2017 (although on competitive domestic routes where all revenue fares are one-way, it's generally the case that all DL awards on the route are also one-way awards). On DL, awards become non-refundable once travel begins. With a DL roundtrip award, the return award still retains value for 1 year from date of issue, but value will be reduced if you don't use it to return from original destination (or region) as you will no longer meet roundtrip booking terms and they will re-price outbound award as a one-way. AA seems to have a similar policy as only wholly unused awards are refundable according to program T&Cs.

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Last edited by xliioper; May 19, 2023 at 7:55 pm
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Old May 21, 2023, 1:59 am
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During the booking process the miles for each direction are listed (at least on the regular website) and I assume that’s the # used if you cancel the return.
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Old May 21, 2023, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by armus
During the booking process the miles for each direction are listed (at least on the regular website) and I assume thats the # used if you cancel the return.
That would be the best case scenario.
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Old May 21, 2023, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by armus
During the booking process the miles for each direction are listed (at least on the regular website) and I assume that’s the # used if you cancel the return.
If they did that, it would defeat the whole purpose of the roundtrip booking requirement. Why book a one-way award when you could book a roundtrip (with random return) and then cancel return in order to get a cheaper one-way award? This is also true with revenue fares that have a roundtrip booking requirement. You can't book a roundtrip and cancel return and get full credit for return fare unless you meet the original roundtrip booking requirements for return. If you book roundtrip refundable fares, they also won't refund full value of return fare if you cancel after having taken outbound fare (they will reprice outbound as a one-way fare).
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