While there is no way to fully avoid fuel surcharges when using Aeroplan miles to book Lufthansa, there is an easy way to at least reduce them.
Upon choosing the round-trip award, Aeroplan priced two tickets at business class 220,000 miles and 3,074.60CAD in taxes/fees. That’s 2,357.90USD at today’s exchange rate.
But looks what happens when you book the awards as two one-ways instead of a round-trip. On the way out, the taxes remains high, costing 1498.80CAD for the two tickets or 1,149.43USD:
But on the way back, taxes totaled only 762CAD or 584.38USD if booking as a one-way:
$1,149.43 + $584.38 comes to $1733.81, a $624.09 savings over the $2,357.90. That $600 can go a long way in Spain! Imagine the savings a larger family could experience.
I don’t know the logic behind this nor do I particularly care. All I know is that taxes/fees departing Europe are generally much cheaper on Lufthansa than flights to Europe when booked on a one-way basis.
Keep that in mind when booking your next trip to Europe. But also keep in mind that when you book two one-ways instead of a round-trip, you lose the ability to add up to two complimentary stopovers for no extra miles. There are also tradeoffs. Also keep in mind, though, that if your intra-Europe segments are on Austrian, Lufthansa or TAP, you are often better off just purchasing these tickets out-of-pocket due to the high surcharges on award flights.
Aeroplan is a great source for booking award travel due to ease of online booking and cancellation, generous routing rules, and competency of the front-line agents.
But don’t forget that for a simple itinerary like this, had the points not already been in Aeroplan a booking on ANA for 88,000 points round-trip (and the same hefty fuel surcharge) may have also made sense, depending upon how much you value your points. ANA tickets can only be booked on a round-trip basis.
image: ERIC SALARD / Flickr