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TMLAalum

FF miles to London

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In the past, when we've looked to use AA miles into London, the fees have been in the hundreds of dollars vs. the $5.60 we paid to use miles to FRA next month.

Are the high fees still in place? We could use UA miles- are their fees as high?

 

If we book a cruise out of Southampton can any experienced  flyer suggest workarounds to flying into London? Thanks.

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There are 2 reasons you can encounter high fees flying to/from London: high departure taxes out of UK airports and high carrier surcharges. The first is paid on all airlines, the latter in your case only if you use your AA miles on British Airways. If you flew on United the fees would be less as they do not have carrier surcharges on any airlines.

 

The way to avoid the departure taxes is simple: depart from a non-UK airport. Over the last few years we have taken the train from London to Brussels, Paris and Dublin, and each side jaunt has still cost us less than the departure taxes x2.

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@Twickenham

Thanks! I'm looking at two cruises: Oceania 9/7/20 from Lisbon to Southampton and Azamara 9/2/20 from Southampton to Lisbon. We would likely fly home from Paris so would just need to book an LCC from Lisbon if we chose Azamara or if we decided on Oceania, then more options- Eurostar, train + ferry, or plane.

 

It's the transatlantic flights that are leading me to Oceania although I like the Azamara itinerary better.

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In case it's any help, since you mentioned you have UA miles, TAP (Air Portugal) is one of United's Star Alliance partners, so you might be able to get a reasonably priced flight with them from Lisbon, if they have the routing you need.

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Any extra charge on a UA award flight are airport taxes and fees, not UA fees. We just booked SFO-YUL-FCO, then return VCE-MUC-SFO, business class award seats. The fees going to FCO were less than $6. The fees coming back were about $65. Those are per person. 

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For anyone really curious about taxes and  associated with tickets, the easiest way to see them is to do a route search on ITA Matrix and then select a flight for the route you like. Where you can then see how a round trip flight for USA-CDG will have 9 different government taxes and fees including 'France Air Passenger Solidarity Tax',  'US September 11th Security Fee', 'United States Custom User Fee' and 'France Civil Aviation Tax Domestic and International' 

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On 9/6/2019 at 7:01 AM, TMLAalum said:

@Twickenham

Thanks! I'm looking at two cruises: Oceania 9/7/20 from Lisbon to Southampton and Azamara 9/2/20 from Southampton to Lisbon. We would likely fly home from Paris so would just need to book an LCC from Lisbon if we chose Azamara or if we decided on Oceania, then more options- Eurostar, train + ferry, or plane.

 

It's the transatlantic flights that are leading me to Oceania although I like the Azamara itinerary better.

 

With most of these loyalty programs you should be able to a open-jaw flight.  The same when booking a flight that your paying for with money.  You should also be able to do a stop-over.   In the search engine your using that would be the option labelled multi-segment or multi-stop.  

 

United points will pull flights from United and all other star partners including Air Canada and TAP Air Portugal and the various divisions of Lufthansa.  Some of the high fees are true taxes and others are due to airlines having various surcharges.  TAP Air Portugal and Swiss have a reputation for having low or non-existent surcharges.

 

If you are close to the Canada US boarder you want to also look at searching out of your nearest Canadian airport.  The US have multiple taxes, US Agriculture Tax, 911 tax etc.  These are not charged in Canada.   As an example the long-term parking lot in Vancouver has a lot of vehicles with Seattle plates.  From Toronto, Air Canada, TAP and Air Transat, all fly non-stop to Lisbon.

 

 

 

 

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Great tips.

 

Last week a timeshare exchange search yielded a Paris environs "resort" for a week next September. The Azamara cruise works perfectly with the dates of the timeshare trade but the Oceania cruise will overlap the week by 2 days. However, there is a Celebrity cruise to/from Southampton departing at the end of the week that is also a possibility.

 

Doing a dummy UA booking, the fee to LHR is $5.60 and the day flight was showing as an option. We have used UA miles for AC flights several times connecting through YYZ.

 

We don't have enough miles on one carrier to book an FF open-jaw so will likely us our AA miles for Paris and UA for LHR if needed. We'll book a LCC intra Europe.

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Simply just fly to Southampton.   :)   Plenty of inter Europe/British Isles,  flights.  I've done several.  

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