On this Fabulous Friday, LoyaltyLobby toasts the season with a look at Duty Free prices at various airports around the world, in particular for Champagne.
The concept of Duty Free has lost it’s allure a little bit in the past decade or so (at least in the western hemisphere) due to savings becoming less significant compared to e-commerce options.
In the European Union, the term of Duty Free has been abolished and is now called Travel Value due to taxation reasons. In Asia and the Middle East however, going on a shopping spree during your travels is still a very popular exercise on the way to your next destination. This goes for both, Airport and Inflight shopping.
Just last week I was once again surprised how much travelers on Koran Air spend on Duty Free products during their flights and it explains that their Duty Free Catalogue is a small almanach. The Korean Air Airbus A380 even features it’s own Duty Free shop for the ultimate Buy on Board experience.
As usual, rule number one for whatever you purchase is that you better know the average retail price for the product you’re about to buy. Not all items in Duty Free are good deals, in fact some Duty Free shops are well known for being more expensive than just purchasing the same item in a retail shop downtown (Los Angeles LAX immediately comes to my mind, especially in regards to alcoholic beverages).
Personally I buy either Champagne or on occasion Eau de Toilette at Duty Free. That allows me to pretty much know the retail prices for these products exactly and I’m able to compare if the offered price is a good deal or not.
In the past few weeks of traveling I had my eyes on Dom Perignon for the current Christmas and New Years season. I flew out of Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul-Incheon and Beijing. Each of these airports offered different deals but in the end I ended up purchasing two bottles in Hong Kong (2,200 HKD for 2 bottles [Package Price]) and just this week another one in Beijing at the Arrivals Duty Free (839 CNY after a 10% Off Promotion). The price in Beijing was the lowest for a single bottle of Dom Perignon I have seen for a while with the 839 CNY equaling 118 EUR / 130 USD.
Even regular retail champagne such as a bottle of Veuve Cliqout can sometimes be much overpriced such as at Rio de Janerio airport with 71 USD per bottle (and Los Angeles charges about the same at DFS while you can get the same bottle at Trader Joes for ~40$). Germany has very good prices for champagne at their Duty Free as well, it’s definitely worth a look!
Singapore Airlines offers Transit passengers at Singapore Changi Airport 2x 20 SGD cupons to be used for Duty free purchases until March 31st 2016 (access their offer here). I remember that Krug Champagne was quite reasonable priced at Singapore Changi last time around.
For select items it can make sense to compare prices at Duty Free and take advantage of existing promotions such as package deals, coupons or membership cards. Many Duty Free shops also allow you to earn miles with the popular frequent flyer programs in the respective country you’re in.