It’s true- free flights are rarely, completely free. While some flights using miles can cost just $5.60, making it “close enough” to free- many can cost as much as $1000 in taxes and fees alone- and that’s on top of the miles you’re using. When it comes time to putting your miles towards a dream flight, there’s an easy way to save on surcharges- no matter what the airline.
Shocking isn’t it? Truth be told there are more bugs on airline websites than in the rain forest, which makes using miles for the least amount of cash very difficult. Often unintentionally, many airlines incorrectly calculate the taxes and surcharges for flights using miles and this is never more true than on round trip flights, particularly with mileage programs from Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Aeroplan, Korean and many more.
Let’s start by saying that this does NOT work for every flight- but it works for so many of them. Many airline pricing glitches for seats using miles, come from the round trip cost, where you can be charged more than $500 more than you should. This is even more prevalent, now that certain cities, such as Hong Kong- have banned fuel surcharges, meaning any flights from Hong Kong should not charge them. Crazy! To avoid overpaying, you want to compare the cost of booking a round trip using miles versus the cost of booking two one way flights using miles. The cost in miles should be the same, but the surcharges- vastly different. Remember, sometimes it may be cheaper to not use miles at all.
Certain airlines which will remain nameless because they pay us handsomely to do so, (kidding) will happily take up to $500 in incorrect taxes and fees. But don’t let them. Simply searching for two one way tickets (even on a round trip booking) and comparing the all in pricing of the taxes for both segments together, versus separately can save you a fortune. This can even come in handy if you only need to change half your booking, since they’ll be totally separate. We all like saving a fortune, right?