Although it’s only been a week since I have been home, I am now planning my next trip to France—in the Spring 2015. I hope to go for 2 months; however, let’s see how the costs pan out.
In my research, one of the best tips I can share has to do with using one’s frequent flyer points. I have a ton of points with Aeroplan, which is a Star Alliance member along with Lufthansa, LOT, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and many more. I collect my Aeroplan points primarily through Air Canada; however, the tax and fuel charges by Air Canada, when I am using my Aeroplan points is ridiculous. For a one-way, direct business flight from Toronto (YYZ) to Paris (CDG), the tax is $492.16 and 45000 Aeroplan miles. That’s just one way! Round trip would be $984.32 and 90000 miles. Economy is $584.3 and 60000 Aeroplan miles return. One might as well just pay for a flight. Certainly you are getting kind of a deal going business class; however, the taxes/fuel surcharges are insane!
So, what is one to do?
I will use my situation as an example. I want to fly with Star Alliance to Paris. I look for a Star Alliance member that does NOT add fuel charges, such as the following:
-South African Airlines
Many times these airlines will use the same routing and the SAME plane as Air Canada. When you are online and looking for availbility, most of the seats will be with Air Canada. The odd time I will see Swiss or United. And if I am lucky I can just book one of those flights and will automatically see a lower tax. I may have to make a stop on the way to make this happen; however when you are saving hundreds of dollars, it’s worth it.
If you are unable to find any availability online, you can call Aeroplan directly to have them search for flights on particular airlines. Just keep in mind that there could be a $30 charge; however, it’s still worth it as you will be saving hundreds of dollars.
Certainly it’s more work; however, the $700 I might save can be put to better use……in France!