Why does Delta charge so much for "free" international flights?

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by royce242, May 30, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. royce242

    royce242 Silver Member

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    It's usually a $10 surcharge to use Delta FF miles for US domestic flights. Ok. Far enough.

    But why on earth do they charge outrageous amounts of money when redeeming miles for international flights? Like, hundreds of dollars for example to get from Zurich to Miami? American and US Airways don't charge nearly that much.

    I mean, it doesn't even make sense to use the miles for such flights.
     
  2. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    It's called Fuel Surcharges (YQ usually).

    You also have to factor in the taxes such as International Departure Taxes, Passenger Facility Charges, Airport Improvement Taxes, Customs, Security, and so on.
     
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  3. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    I just paid a whole bunch of money (or so it seemed) for Mrs DTWBOB to use a "free" companion ticket for a trip we wanted to take where the tickee prices were coming in a bit higher than I like for that route.

    DTWBOB
     
  4. royce242

    royce242 Silver Member

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    That sucks.

    After my experience trying to get a free intl flight with Delta, and the all the fees airlines are charging to redeem miles, and now AMEX charging fees to transfer points into miles, I'm almost leaning towards towards giving up the churn game.
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    They've renamed them to International Surcharges since it turns out they're not tied to fuel prices.

    DL charges more if you originate outside North America because all their competition in those markets charges more, too. Also, the fees to transfer points from AmEx to DL are many years old, at least 7 and probably more.
     
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  6. adrianors

    adrianors Silver Member

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    I paid +-80 bucks + 60k miles for a roundtrip GIG-CLT with DL a couple months ago.
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The YQ/YR surcharges are illegal for any trips originating in Brazil. The cash you paid was legit taxes/fees.
     
  8. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    AC and BA really are expensive for their reward seats TATL from Canada, in some cases all those extra YQ's, APD, and all the extra fees, taxes, and whatnots almost equaling the base fare cost if paying for a ticket rather then using miles to redeem a flight. Kind of takes the steam out of a "free" ticket.
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    There is no APD unless you're leaving the UK. TATL from Canada would only incur Canadian taxes (which aren't cheap) and PFCs.

    The flight from the UK to Canada would have APD and UK PFCs which are very high. German, French and Dutch PFCs are generally high, too.
     
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  10. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    The OP was talking of reward flight fees, which are usually, not always, booked as roundtrips. My examples were for AC or BA from YYZ-LHR and back, which would get both the very high YQ's and the UK APD on departures from the UK. On some flights that I've been looking at, the paid base fares for RT's are actually less then the total YQ, APD, security and airport usage fees, and other charges combined. Using your reward miles for those flights meant you're not paying a base fare but still incurring all those extra fees and charges, plus additonal fees if you have to call the airline to set up the reward flights instead of booking them online.

    Finding another airport with reduced departure fees for the return flights will reduce some of the charges, but the YQ doesn't change very much, if at all. Look at flying into the UK on AA, UA, DL, US, etc. and back to NA on nonstops from DUB or BFS as an open jaw from the UK arrival airport, and see the substantial difference in the departure fees.
     
  11. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    The potency of points/miles for flying in economy on many international routes is really quite limited these days, as the fees are such a big part of the cost for those flying on paid tickets.

    The ratio of fees to ticket prices for j and f seats, however, remains favorable and miles/points pack a bigger punch for those seeking to sit, and valuing sitting, up front.
     
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  12. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    I've always thought that it was only DL that charged this for Europe originating flights. Of course AA charges some fuel surcharges for BA and IB no matter where they originate, but certainly thought that they don't charge it for their own metal. Does UA charge it on their own metal originating in Europe?

    Always seemed like a bogus DL charge to me.
     
  13. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    While I agree that the ratios are more favorable when using award miles for F and J seats then on Y seating, still using my example of flights out of UK airports, where the UK APD increases appreciably as you move up into J and again higher into F seating, that would change the ratios in your figures somewhat.
     
  14. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    I have a TLV-JFK, ATL-JFK-TLV award open jaw r/t in December and the fees only came to $46.82. I consider that very reasonable -- and the trip is in Biz Elite.
     
  15. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    My trip to Dubai was the same. (RT J from FLL) My RT J FLL-OTP was $100 and change.
     
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  16. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    There is no difference in the APD between f and j. The two variables for determining the APD tax are which distance band your flight falls into and whether or not you are in the lowest cabin or not.

    The tax at a given distance in a premium cabin is double what it would otherwise be on back. There is no further surcharge from j to f.

    Noting that 2:1 tax ratio, in general, the cost of revenue tickets in premium cabins is often well in excess of 2x an economy ticket, making the tax less significant, as a percent of the all-in paid cost, for premium cabin pax.
     
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  17. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    Noting that my example is for a TATL from YYZ-LHR, which is a long distance band, being 3,253 miles, the APD increases for J and F appear to be significant enough to many travelers who are aware of the increases that many try to avoid UK outbounds in their scheduling plans.
     
  18. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    The increase in tax to a premium cabin is double the economy cabin at any distance.

    I agree that the tax is burdensome for any longhaul flight and indeed many pax avoid the port as a result.

    Funny...put a tax on things, and people want to do them less. :)
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    UA doesn't charge it on any metal. Aeroplan/AC charges it on some. Many carriers based elsewhere in the world also charge it.
    That's surprising. Most non-US/Canada/Brazil originating trips are hit with the surcharges.
    No surprise there at all.
    It very much depends on the program you are redeeming miles from, their policies and the routes you're flying. And it hasn't really changed all that much in the past 3-5 years.
     
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  20. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Yep. That's why I said "many," not "most" or "all."
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014
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  21. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    The ex-Europe international surcharges are why I rarely book award travel ex-EU for myself and use the miles to bring friends/family to me.

    When DL aligned its fares with AF and KL several years ago, this became more prominent.

    I'm not inclined to pay $400-600 in fees plus miles when I can purchase a mileage-earning ticket for a bit more.
     

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