London for Valentine’s Day- Always a good idea!
It is always a good time to go to London for Valentine's Day! Travelmista will be working in London next week. Instead of him flying home for V-Day I am going to join him for the long President's Day weekend. My plan was to use miles to fly over for the weekend and back. But what are the best options for flights using miles with the high London taxes? To be able to select a flight I created a chart for United, American and British Airways miles and taxes.
First, I started with United, I know that to fly to Europe it is 30,000 each way. I value you these miles more because Travelmista has 1K which adds more perks to flying. (Lounge access, free baggage etc). I found out via Twitter that off season flights on American Airlines are only 20,000 each way to London. And finally British Airways is also 20,000 to London. BA is a distance based award redemption. But what you have to be careful about are the fees and taxes associated with flying into London. Every carrier had flight options but what was the most economical for me to get to London?
Depart Feb 13 from ORD to LHR
United- Cost 30,000 miles plus $5 (close in booking fee waved due to status)
ORD4:50pm- LHR5:55am+1day UA 958- Total travel time 10hr & 7mins
American- Cost 20,000 miles plus $77.50 (includes $75 close in booking fee)
ORD-9:35pm- LHR 11:35am AA98- Total travel time 8hrs 0mins
British Airways- Cost 20,000 miles plus $253.20
ORD 5:05pm- LHR 6:45am AA86/ BA0294- Total Travel time
Return Feb 18 from LHR to ORD
United- Cost 30,000 miles plus $173.60 (close in booking fee waved due to status)
LHR 12:05- ORD 3:10 UA 949- Total travel time 9hr & 5mins
American- Cost 20,000 miles plus $248.60 (includes $75 close in booking fee)
LHR 1:15pm- ORD 4:05 AA47- Total travel time 8hrs 50mins
British Airways- Cost 20,000 miles plus $357.98
LHR 1:15pm- ORD 4:05pm AA47- Total travel time 8hrs 50mins
As you can see BA has consistently higher fees and taxes associated with flying even on the same AA flights. So the saying is true that you should use BA miles to fly domestically in the USA and AA miles to fly to London. This goes against what you would believe to be true! So which flights did I choose? Well because Travelmista has to be travel earlier in the week I will be flying by myself to LHR but coming back it would be nice to fly with him. So I booked the American flight over to LHR because of the reduced cost in miles even though I will have to pay a $75 close in booking fee. For the return flight I opted to fly on the United flight with Travelmista because reduced taxes and that I get to spend time with him. In the end it cost me about $250 and 50,000 miles (20,000 AA miles and 30,000 UA miles)
We will be staying at two Radisson properties near Convent Gardens. We earned these points with Club Carlson "Big Night" Promos from the summer of 2012 and the Club Carlson Triple Point Returns from last week's Stockholm Sweden stay. Stay tune for a full trip report on the Radisson stays and the London trip.