The award fee rules just bit me

Old Nov 13, 08, 12:23 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: DEN
Programs: Frontier Summit, Marriott Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 171
The award fee rules just bit me

Had an award booked for a relative before the fee changes. A while back I had to change the dates and the change was free due to being booked under the old rules. Now I have to make a last-minute date change again and since it now falls under the new rules, there is a $75 change fee since the person on the ticket has no status.

So I thought to keep the ticket as a credit (gift of a round-trip good for a year for $75) and just book another one for 20k and $20 in airport fees. Well that won't work:

Effective September 15, 2008, the following fees apply to award tickets as follows:

* A $25 non-refundable per ticket redemption fee will be charged on EarlyReturns award tickets. This fee is waived for Summit members.

* A $75 non-refundable per ticket expedite fee will be charged for tickets booked within 14 days of departure. This expedite fee is waived for PLUS awards, Weekend Web Fare redemptions and for Summit members.
...

Summit members: The $25 redemption and $75 expedite fee is waived for you and any traveling companions booked in the same reservation; using miles from your EarlyReturns account.
So, because this is last minute (5 days out) and I am not on the award ticket, a new ticket will cost 20k miles + $25 + $75 + $20(gov fees) OR 40k miles + $25 + $20.

So any gifting of awards are no longer free, even for Summits. According to those rules, even a Summit using there miles for another Summit member would be subject to these fees (unless they tag along).
JaggedMind is offline  
Old Nov 13, 08, 1:40 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: LAS-DEN
Programs: WN CP & B-list. Disillusioned fmr UA-1P/2P,F9-Ascent; Fmr AA-Plat,CO-Gold,NW-Silver,TWA-Elite
Posts: 1,610
More annoying nickel-and-dime fees (well, $25 and $75, actually).

I've got one free ticket that I will hopefully use with Frontier. Wife and daughter, together have one. However, to merge the wife and daughter's miles together is $50, then a $25 booking fee. If each of the 3 of us take two bags each way, those two "free" tickets will cost $315 as follows:

Bag fees: $15 for first, $25 for second = $40 x 3 people x both ways = $240
Merging and booking fee: $75.

$240 + $75 = $315.

That is an average of more than $150 per ticket. There are times when the cost at Southwest is only $89 each way, or $178. Even with a good redemption, the cost might be about $300. Thus, Frontier is really only giving about 1/2 of a free ticket. Sure, you might find a situation where you are getting a little bit more. But, "free" really doesn't exist any more.

Its a total rip off.

Over at Southwest, 16 segments get you a free ticket. If you are flying short flights, say 629 miles (DEN-LAS), you only fly 16 x 629 = 10,064 miles for a free ticket, 5,000 fewer miles than Frontier. That can even be reduced more with car bookings. If you get 1.5 segments per car booking and book one car per round trip, then each round trip is worth 3.5 segments and it takes just over 4 round trips (4.6 x 2 x 629 miles = 5,787 miles) to get a free ticket.

Those Southwest free tickets are only good for one year unless you pay a $50 fee. And, of course, Southwest doesn't have the "merge" feature for $50.

But, within that one year, those tickets are fully changable for no charge, and there are no bag fees. They even give several free drinks that can be used either on the award trip or any other trip, or both.

Further, they give you two one-ways per award instead of one round trip. This can sometimes be handy. Frontier will charge you 10,000 miles for a one-way. No extra charge for two completely separate one-ways at Southwest.

I have had really good luck redeeming my Southwest awards. Not perfect, but really good. I couldn't get free tickets near Christmas with Southwest when I could with United, so I burned some United miles. Subsequently, Southwest's prices went down. If I would have paid cash at Southwest, I would have got that money back (in the form of ticketless travel funds). However, again because of those stupid change fees, I'm locked in to burning United miles, now at a reduced value compared to the original booking price.

Give me Southwest, no change fees and no baggage fees any day. I still am not completely sure I will be able to use the miles I've earned at Frontier in a cost effective way.
FCfree is offline  
Old Nov 13, 08, 3:56 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Programs: F9 Ascent, Marriott Plat, HHonors Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 414
With the huge wrong bets that Southwest made on the price of jet fuel continuing to climb, how long can they afford to carry on with the "low fares" and "no fees" campaign? I've read that Frontier actually has lower operational costs, Southwest just had a major advantage due to their hedging, which is now useless.

In the meantime, Frontier just posted another record load factor, despite the fees. Shouldn't be much longer until they emerge from Chapter 11, stronger than before. And those who fly a paltry 25k miles per year are still completely exempt.

And don't assume that everyone needs to check 2 pieces of luggage per person - what kind vacation requires 12 suitcases for a family of four (2 checked + 1 carry-on)?
DenverF9Flier is offline  
Old Nov 13, 08, 5:31 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Florida
Programs: no elite status, but i get around
Posts: 369
Some confusion from the OP. Since I booked two mileage tickets prior to all the changes, does that mean the "old" rules stay with these tickets? Can I change these tickets once as if it were pre-September 2008?

Thank you.
airplanegeek is offline  
Old Nov 13, 08, 11:39 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mountain West USA
Posts: 436
Originally Posted by airplanegeek View Post
Some confusion from the OP. Since I booked two mileage tickets prior to all the changes, does that mean the "old" rules stay with these tickets? Can I change these tickets once as if it were pre-September 2008?

Thank you.
The rules (contract of carriage) that apply at the time of ticketing is controlling. If no changes are made, then the rules that were in effect at the time of purchase are in effect. If a ticket is changed, then the rules that apply at the time of the change come into affect since its been reticketed.
GreatChecko is offline  
Old Nov 14, 08, 9:37 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Downtown Denver
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Posts: 391
Originally Posted by FCfree View Post
More annoying nickel-and-dime fees (well, $25 and $75, actually).

I've got one free ticket that I will hopefully use with Frontier. Wife and daughter, together have one. However, to merge the wife and daughter's miles together is $50, then a $25 booking fee. If each of the 3 of us take two bags each way, those two "free" tickets will cost $315 as follows:

Bag fees: $15 for first, $25 for second = $40 x 3 people x both ways = $240
Merging and booking fee: $75.

$240 + $75 = $315.

That is an average of more than $150 per ticket. There are times when the cost at Southwest is only $89 each way, or $178. Even with a good redemption, the cost might be about $300. Thus, Frontier is really only giving about 1/2 of a free ticket. Sure, you might find a situation where you are getting a little bit more. But, "free" really doesn't exist any more.

Its a total rip off.

Over at Southwest, 16 segments get you a free ticket. If you are flying short flights, say 629 miles (DEN-LAS), you only fly 16 x 629 = 10,064 miles for a free ticket, 5,000 fewer miles than Frontier. That can even be reduced more with car bookings. If you get 1.5 segments per car booking and book one car per round trip, then each round trip is worth 3.5 segments and it takes just over 4 round trips (4.6 x 2 x 629 miles = 5,787 miles) to get a free ticket.

Those Southwest free tickets are only good for one year unless you pay a $50 fee. And, of course, Southwest doesn't have the "merge" feature for $50.

But, within that one year, those tickets are fully changable for no charge, and there are no bag fees. They even give several free drinks that can be used either on the award trip or any other trip, or both.

Further, they give you two one-ways per award instead of one round trip. This can sometimes be handy. Frontier will charge you 10,000 miles for a one-way. No extra charge for two completely separate one-ways at Southwest.

I have had really good luck redeeming my Southwest awards. Not perfect, but really good. I couldn't get free tickets near Christmas with Southwest when I could with United, so I burned some United miles. Subsequently, Southwest's prices went down. If I would have paid cash at Southwest, I would have got that money back (in the form of ticketless travel funds). However, again because of those stupid change fees, I'm locked in to burning United miles, now at a reduced value compared to the original booking price.

Give me Southwest, no change fees and no baggage fees any day. I still am not completely sure I will be able to use the miles I've earned at Frontier in a cost effective way.
Problem from a longtime WN customer is simple "no Mexico or north of border routes" I fly F9 to get free ride to Mexico, just booked 2 freebies to Cabo in Feb, can't do that yet on WN.
Granted, WN has advantage domestically, F9 is a real problem finding seats. But going anywhere outside of US? I fly F9 and get Summitt bonus miles and go to Mexico.
loboclone is offline  

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