Star Alliance flights UK > Peru?

Old Apr 22, 09, 1:04 pm
  #1  
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Star Alliance flights UK > Peru?

According to the BMI Spending Miles table, I can fly from Zone 1 to Zone 4 for 50k miles. I would like to fly from the UK (Zone 1) to Peru (Zone 4) and I can see that the only *A airline that would do this is Air Canada, transiting through Toronto.

However, when I try to look at availability on the ANA website it says no valid route exists and when I called BMI the person in the call centre in India proved to be very unhelpful and wasn't able to tell me if this routing is even allowed or not (she just kept repeating "there is no availability, sir").

When I look for availability instead to Argentina (EZE) it comes up with availability, but with Lufthansa, and doesn't show any routes through the USA.

Is this because flying via Canada would be like going Zone 1 > Zone 3 > Zone 4 and is therefore not permitted, but a transit in Frankfurt would be Zone 1 > (Zone 1) > Zone 4?
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Old Apr 22, 09, 1:08 pm
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I have sucessfully booked flights from zone 1 to zone 4, both ways, on the one hand with a transit in FRA and EZE [...] -> FRA -> EZE -> [...], and also on the other hand with a transit in FRA and YYZ [...] -> FRA -> YYZ -> [...]. I also couldn't find these routing on ANA and bmi didn't find the routing immediately, but after I gave the flights flight by flight to BMI, they said it was a valid routing.

So I would guess [...] -> YYZ -> LIM should also be possible. All the time I was just charged the zone 1 to zone 4 mileage.
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Old Apr 22, 09, 1:14 pm
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It is valid.

Have a look at the ANA masterclass guide thread for some more information on using the ANA tool. Basically you need to search by sector. In this case, check YYZ-LIM

Once you have found availability on that sector, you can then build your route to YYZ, which should be easier.
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Old Apr 22, 09, 1:37 pm
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I put in MAN>YYZ and got availability, but not from YYZ>LIM, but now I know it should be a vaild routing I'll try again and spend more time on it.

Ultimately, I want to fly MAN>LIM // EZE>MAN, so I hope booking it as an open-jaw will be ok. If not, I guess it makes no difference to do it as two singles.
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Old Apr 22, 09, 4:01 pm
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Might be better to go to EZE first then LIM and home via YYZ. This is because there is a punitive departure tax on premium tickets ex-Argentina. There is some debate as to whether bmi should even be charging this (because it seems to be a %age of the fare) but they seem to be doing so.

Perhaps someone can give details if they have recently been charged Argentine departure tax on one-ways ex-Argentina?
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Old Apr 22, 09, 4:15 pm
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By "premium tickets" are you referring to business / first class tickets? I would be travelling economy, so if this is what you mean then I guess it wouldn't matter too much which way round I went. However, if you mean any award ticket, then thanks for the tip, I'll watch out for it.
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Old Apr 22, 09, 4:20 pm
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There is a similar problem with ex-Mexico departures where there is a %age of the ticket charged in VAT. The debate is that the call centre have been incorrectly charging the %age on the full fare instead of the cash element of a cash & miles redemption (quite a difference if it's a J fare).

I believe that it has been successfully challenged recently and reduced but can't put my finger immediately on the thread.
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Old Apr 22, 09, 4:26 pm
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Yes there is a 'Ticket Tax' levied on tickets ex argentina and is levied as a %age of the fare, plus I believe the %age is bigger for business and first.

The situation for awards is unclear (at least it was last time I checked), obviously there is no 'fare' as such on which to levy the tax, but airlines (not just bmi) seem to take full-fare C/F as a basis on which to calculate the tax on awards, which I'm sure you can imagine can add 100-200 to a ticket! It can be avoided by having a return ticket that commences and finishes outside Argenitina. To circumvent it, I positioned to Chile and returned to Europe on the now-defunct Swiss SCL-ZRH run.

Oh and BTW, I wouldn't recommend redeeming for economy, such poor value, have you checked out the miles+cash option, you might be able to afford C? Lufthansa EZE-FRA is really grim in economy.......
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Old Apr 22, 09, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Tiger_lily View Post
There is a similar problem with ex-Mexico departures where there is a %age of the ticket charged in VAT. The debate is that the call centre have been incorrectly charging the %age on the full fare instead of the cash element of a cash & miles redemption (quite a difference if it's a J fare).

I believe that it has been successfully challenged recently and reduced but can't put my finger immediately on the thread.

I'm one of those who successfully challenged the ex-Mexico departure tax.. I posted this info last week under the "successful redemptions" thread for a booking from MEX/FRA/DUB business class:

18750 miles + 105.50 + 329.30 tax (!) + 25 cancel fee for earlier booking.

I explained very carefully and made her write this down. The problem is with Mexican VAT. You are charging me 2.5% of the full C-Class value of the ticket ($4270) and should charge 2.5% of the actual cash amount of the redemption ticket (105) I was put on hold and was told that taxes were correct. I asked her to check again with taxes department. To be fair to her, she walked to the taxes department, clutching the piece of paper with my message on it. Another 15 minute wait, and I had a result:

18750 miles + 105.50 + 45 tax (much better) + 25 cancel fee for earlier booking.

Worth persisting...

Grantosol
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Old Apr 22, 09, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by BHDBOY View Post
Perhaps someone can give details if they have recently been charged Argentine departure tax on one-ways ex-Argentina?
yes, I have successfully had the AR departure VAT on tickets ex-EZE refunded by bmi for 4 tickets (3 future bookings, and one flown 4 months ago). They quickly admitted the error and made the refunds within 2 weeks (although trying to get ICC to charge the correct taxes in the first place is a little more difficult - and I just let them charge the incorrect amount as I wanted to secure the seats - and opted for chasing the refund later).
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Old Apr 22, 09, 5:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Grantosol View Post
I'm one of those who successfully challenged the ex-Mexico departure tax.. I posted this info last week under the "successful redemptions" thread for a booking from MEX/FRA/DUB business class:

18750 miles + 105.50 + 329.30 tax (!) + 25 cancel fee for earlier booking.
What was the 105.50 for? Was this a cash+miles award or were the taxes/fees 434 in total??!

Originally Posted by cmcbugg View Post
yes, I have successfully had the AR departure VAT on tickets ex-EZE refunded by bmi for 4 tickets (3 future bookings, and one flown 4 months ago). They quickly admitted the error and made the refunds within 2 weeks (although trying to get ICC to charge the correct taxes in the first place is a little more difficult - and I just let them charge the incorrect amount as I wanted to secure the seats - and opted for chasing the refund later).
This is VERY interesting and certainly worth knowing. I was surprised that a return flight from Zone 1 > 4, while technically "free" as I have enough miles for a return trip, would end up costing me 300-400 in tax. Still, as I hope to travel in peak season, when a return economy ticket normally costs 800, I would still be saving 400.

Can you give me some idea of what taxes I should expect to pay for an open-jaw MAN>LIM and EZE>MAN? Also, who did you call/email to sort out the tax refund and what was the procedure? I doubt someone in a Indian call centre would help me...
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Old Apr 22, 09, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by trf0412 View Post
Can you give me some idea of what taxes I should expect to pay for an open-jaw MAN>LIM and EZE>MAN? Also, who did you call/email to sort out the tax refund and what was the procedure? I doubt someone in a Indian call centre would help me...
Use the ITA tool here to work out taxes - use the multi-segment option and put in the each leg you want to travel - then use the "Show booking details" to see the full tax breakdown.

regarding my tax refund I started with and email to dc.admin(AT)flybmi.com
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Old Apr 22, 09, 7:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Grantosol View Post
18750 miles + 105.50 + 329.30 tax (!) + 25 cancel fee for earlier booking.

I explained very carefully and made her write this down. The problem is with Mexican VAT. You are charging me 2.5% of the full C-Class value of the ticket ($4270) and should charge 2.5% of the actual cash amount of the redemption ticket (105) I was put on hold and was told that taxes were correct. I asked her to check again with taxes department. To be fair to her, she walked to the taxes department, clutching the piece of paper with my message on it. Another 15 minute wait, and I had a result:

18750 miles + 105.50 + 45 tax (much better) + 25 cancel fee for earlier booking.
I'm a bit confused as to how the taxes suddenly dropped from 329 to 45! 2.5% of a total fare of $4270 is only $106 (approx. 73), so even if they were to reduce this to 2.5% of the actual amount paid - 105 (approx 2.60), this doesn't explain the sudden decrease.
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Old Apr 23, 09, 2:39 am
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Originally Posted by trf0412 View Post
By "premium tickets" are you referring to business / first class tickets? I would be travelling economy
In which case you'd be better off paying for the fare and collecting the status/destination miles! The bmi FFP only works well when flying in premium classes.
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Old Apr 23, 09, 3:45 am
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Value for miles burning always depends on the revenue fare for the flights you want. Is Peru a cheap destination from the UK?

I would imagine access to south America will improve significantly when Continental becomes a Star member later this year and even further when TAM joins.
Originally Posted by Tiger_lily View Post
I believe that it has been successfully challenged recently and reduced but can't put my finger immediately on the thread.
It was here (towards the end): http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/bmi-d...op-mexico.html I wrote to CR and challenged it after making the booking (easier than arguing on the phone to the ICC at the time of booking, in my view) and the call centre should now be appraised of the correct calculation.

I expect the same 'deliberate error' by bmi (calculating VAT as a percentage of the maximum full revenue fare rather than a percentage of the transaction value) is found wherever this type of tax exists. Nice earner for bmi!
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