LoyaltyLobby reader from Europe sent me an email about very high fees he had encountered, when trying to redeem for an economy award trip to United States compared to paid tickets.
The problem with most of the frequent flier programs today outside of the United States is that they charge fuel surcharges on award tickets. And these fuel surcharges have become very large part of the economy fares. Sometimes this “surcharge” is far higher than the so called fare itself. You can read my take, why airline love these “scam” charges here.
So, LoyaltyLobby reader found out that the Lufthansa fees on award tickets were around $550,when paid tickets for the same city paid on Star Alliance were selling for mere $200 more.
Here’s fare breakdown for MUC-DXB-FRA on LH
I really like to use matrix.itasoftware.com for airfare searches and to get the real breakdown on taxes/fees that airlines tend not to fully disclose on their websites.
Here’s typical example of a economy class ticket from Germany to Dubai and back. The base fare is $103 each way and the fuel surcharge is more than 150% higher than the fare at $316. The real taxes for this return trip are just $87.48. The economy award would cost 40,000 miles + $403.79.
It is usually very bad deal to use miles for economy flights on competitively priced city pairs from frequent flier programs that charge fuel surcharges on award tickets. I would prefer seeing these fuel surcharges abolished altogether.