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Actually found low award space, but refusing to book it

Actually found low award space, but refusing to book it

Old Jun 18, 11, 2:51 pm
  #1  
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Actually found low award space, but refusing to book it

Using a lot of the tips from some of the great FTers on the DL forums here, I was able to find low award availability for a multi-leg journey, with stopover.

EDI-ORD-LAS (via AMS and MEM), LAS-YYC (via MSP) and YYC-EDI (via AMS).

Better still, when I phoned in to get them to put all the one way legs I found together, it actually came up with low 60,000 award level. ^

The only beef? The "taxes, fees and fuel surcharges" (fuel surcharges being bottom line revenue to the airlines and not a bona fide government tax or fee of course) came out to be a whopping $732 in addition to 60,000 miles.

Then, I priced out the exact same trip for a purchased itinerary. I got a combination of the lower U and T fares available, and it priced up as $1212 including tax.

The long and short was that it was only $480 more to buy this intercontinental ticket with stopover than it was to use miles. While I realise SkyPesos are widely seen as pretty devalued, 60,000 for what is in effect a $480 rebate of the ticket seems pretty weak, and less than a 1c per mile value.

FWIW, I calculated the "true" taxes on this ticket to be approx $248 USD. That means almost $500 in fuel surcharges and foreign origin award ticket fees which is pure revenue to DL and KL in addition to the 60,000 miles. Disappointing and underwhelming to say the least.

Realising that this is not new of course, but providing a data point.
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Old Jun 18, 11, 3:41 pm
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This is all AF's fault. I'd be curious to see the breakdown on the taxes and fees, which you can get on the screen before you go through to purchase.
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Old Jun 18, 11, 4:36 pm
  #3  
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Actually it is not all AF's fault. DL is the one that imposes the international origination surcharge, which comprises a huge portion of the taxes/fees.
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Old Jun 18, 11, 11:48 pm
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
Actually it is not all AF's fault. DL is the one that imposes the international origination surcharge, which comprises a huge portion of the taxes/fees.
Try running the itinerary starting from LAS, my guess is if you find low the taxes won't be that, proving fti's point. Blame DL.
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Old Jun 19, 11, 12:16 am
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I have a similar observation. I finally found availability on DL partner's to India. The even more strange thing is that none of the other alliances have availbility in the same time frame and this is during christmas. I never dreamt of finding this at 80K.

Anyways some strange things. I was under the impression that the only partner that charged YQ was MH, does SU also do this? My taxes with two SU segments came to $290. I priced an itin with more SU legs and it went to 380. So I'm guessing the YQ is from SU and not KLM.

Another point is that I am leaving IAH to SVO thru AMS on KL. There are the foll options:

(1) KL 662 IAH-AMS 4:10PM - 8:20AM+1 connecting to KL 903 AMS-SVO leaving at 11:40AM

(2) KL 668 IAH-AMS 9:30PM - 1:05PM+1 connecting to KL 907 AMS-SVO leaving at 8:35PM.

I tried to get option# 1 so as to connect to the SU flight to DEL in time, however dl.com does not show option# 1 and neither could two agents (one a supervisor). They (agents and dl.com) can do option#2. The agents mentioned that KL was not allowing them to sell option# 1. I also noticed this on kl.com's award booking engine, but it is allowed on the paid tickets. When I check for just IAH - AMS and AMS - SVO individually on dl.com/phone/kl.com option # 1 is available.


Is this true? Is there something I can do to make them sell it? I was able to resolve this by substituting the AMS-SVO flight with an SU flight, but I would like the KL flight as I will have more connection time at SVO. With AA & US, if I meet reasonable routings test, minimum connect time, I can practically take any flight I want.
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Old Jun 19, 11, 4:00 am
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
Actually it is not all AF's fault. DL is the one that imposes the international origination surcharge, which comprises a huge portion of the taxes/fees.
Well, it's not AF charging it, but it's AF wanting DL to charge it to keep European SkyTeam flyers from choosing SkyMiles over FlyingBlue, since FB charges those fees.
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Old Jun 19, 11, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by SamuelS View Post
The long and short was that it was only $480 more to buy this intercontinental ticket with stopover than it was to use miles. While I realise SkyPesos are widely seen as pretty devalued, 60,000 for what is in effect a $480 rebate of the ticket seems pretty weak, and less than a 1c per mile value.
I respect your decision and would probably do the same exact thing. However your logic is fuzzy.

You are keeping $480 in your wallet for 60K miles PLUS you are receiving the flights to and from your destination. Looking at the $480 as a rebate is the fuzzy part. Without using miles your wallet would be $1212 lighter... but you would keep the 60K. Which, at 1c per mile is $600. $1212 - $600 = $612.

But then there is the foregone miles if you redeem miles. THAT should be the reason you declined this and not the $480 rebate. If you take them up on their offer for an AWARD ticket...

- you lose 60,000 miles
- you lose $732 from your wallet
- you gain no RDMs from flying
- you gain no MQMs from flying
- you take the route they offered.. PERIOD

If you use PWM
- you lose 60,000 miles
- ^ you lose $612 from you wallet [$1212-$600 PWM value] << thumbs up because this is less than $732
- you gain no RDMs from flying
- you gain no MQMs from flying
- ^ you can possibly choose better dates, routes, & equipment

But of course, that would be if you used PWM for the exact ticket you priced in your OP. With PWM you would not have to settle on the ticket that is offered as an award seat.

Consider AMEX gift cards.
- ^ you lose 55,000 miles (11,000 miles for $100 card value = $500) << thumbs up because it's better than 60K
- ^ you lose $712 from you wallet ($1212 - $500) << thumbs up because this is better than $732!
- ^ you GAIN RDMs from flying because you paid for the ticket
- ^ you GAIN MQMs from flying because you paid for the ticket
- ^ you can possibly choose better dates, routes, & equipment

Again, the $712 is based on the ticket you mentioned in your OP. So that number could actually even better since you are free to choose any itin when you buy a ticket.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. A very similar scenario happened with me earlier this year. I had a $ limit on how much I could afford. The award tickets + taxes were not good. I bought the ticket instead and redeemed a slightly lower number of miles for Amex gift cards. I did not use the cards for the ticket itself. I simply keep a couple in my wallet and use them at warehouse stores (BJs, COSTCO, etc), grocery stores, etc. I even used a couple for a car rental.

More money in my pocket + less miles deducted from my account + a better itinerary when flying + earning RDMs & MQMs (and UGs!) when I flew = no brainer.
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Old Jun 19, 11, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by UA Fan View Post
I have a similar observation. I finally found availability on DL partner's to India. The even more strange thing is that none of the other alliances have availbility in the same time frame and this is during christmas. I never dreamt of finding this at 80K.

Anyways some strange things. I was under the impression that the only partner that charged YQ was MH, does SU also do this? My taxes with two SU segments came to $290. I priced an itin with more SU legs and it went to 380. So I'm guessing the YQ is from SU and not KLM.

Another point is that I am leaving IAH to SVO thru AMS on KL. There are the foll options:

(1) KL 662 IAH-AMS 4:10PM - 8:20AM+1 connecting to KL 903 AMS-SVO leaving at 11:40AM

(2) KL 668 IAH-AMS 9:30PM - 1:05PM+1 connecting to KL 907 AMS-SVO leaving at 8:35PM.

I tried to get option# 1 so as to connect to the SU flight to DEL in time, however dl.com does not show option# 1 and neither could two agents (one a supervisor). They (agents and dl.com) can do option#2. The agents mentioned that KL was not allowing them to sell option# 1. I also noticed this on kl.com's award booking engine, but it is allowed on the paid tickets. When I check for just IAH - AMS and AMS - SVO individually on dl.com/phone/kl.com option # 1 is available.

Is this true? Is there something I can do to make them sell it? I was able to resolve this by substituting the AMS-SVO flight with an SU flight, but I would like the KL flight as I will have more connection time at SVO. With AA & US, if I meet reasonable routings test, minimum connect time, I can practically take any flight I want.
YQ--I don't know where the YQ is coming from. During the many changes that we made, what I noticed was that the When AF segments through CDG were replaced with SU segments through SVO, our total taxes went down, and vice versa. But you are saying that taxes went up when introduced more SU segments. I do not know what's going on. DL has some strange things though. Sometimes Taxes on Economy award tickets are sometimes higher than on business class award tickets.

Nonavailability of option 1.---It could be due to married segments. If option 1 is being made available for paid tickets but not award tickets, it means that some segment in option 1 has no award availability. If KLM says there is no inventory, nothing can be done. NW agents were able to call KLM but now I am told they can;t do it. I am not sure if anything has changed on KLM's side, or Delta frowns on this practice.
Since you can resolve this by substituting an SU flight in place of KLM flight, that AMS-SVO seems to be the limiting factor where there is no award availability. That's strange though. The tightest segments used to be AMS-DEL CDG-DEL etc.
Do AA&US not have capacity restrictions for award tickets?
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Old Jun 19, 11, 4:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Yaatri View Post
Do AA&US not have capacity restrictions for award tickets?
They do, its just that lately I have never had a problem, constructing a reasonable itin piece by piece. I now remember a similar problem on the CX - HKG-YVR-JFK flight many years ago.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to get YQ taken out? Got shot down once.
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