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American miles/taxes for going into and out of Heathrow.

Hi forum friends ,

Does anyone know what the price for taxes would be, using American miles, flying into and out of Heathrow? I seem to remember the cost was pretty high (as much as a low fare ticket) in a discussion here a while back. Thinking it may be better to fly into other nearby countries/airports to maximize the FF miles (maybe CDG) and visit another location. I seem to remember that one direction was much more costly. Thinking of a late 2021 or spring 2022 trip, if things get better,

Thank you for any information you can share.

Posted by
1062 posts

Hi Susan. Yes, any ff flights going thru Heathrow are more expensive than most other airports because of taxes. Also, many of AA's ff flights to Europe use one or more legs on British Airways. In that case there is a HUGE extra fee (not a tax, just a BA fee), often several hundred extra dollars. When I search for AA miles flights to Europe, I rule out any that include BA flights. Anyway, you can find out exact costs; just try some sample bookings; it will show exact cost in miles and $$. You will see what I mean. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
9070 posts

Last November, I thought things might start to settle down in the spring and looked at flights in April using miles. For one business class seat (JFK-LHR-JFK), BA wanted fees of $1700. That's not only nearly double what it used to be but half of the cost if I actually bought the ticket.

AA for similar flight times wanted fees of $600.

I didn't book either. (I decided to wait to see what happened and things just got worse.)

Posted by
6976 posts

Did a search using miles; for a flight arriving at LHR, $5.60 in taxes and fees
For a flight departing the fees were $317.45

Posted by
2140 posts

The extra hit is for a flight leaving Heathrow that originates there. If connecting through there, it is apparently not applied. Practical example: A few years back our son did spring semester in St Petersburg. Flights were BA, through Heathrow, bought on AA. The return flight arrives too late to make last flight out of Heathrow, and he had to overnight for his connection. Since he had friend in school at LSE, we decided he could stay there a couple nights for convenience, and save the running around for for the flight the next morning. Had he flown the next morning, it was considered a connecting flight, no extra charge. Flying a couple days later, on same AM flight it was now an exiting flight, extra charges, it was considered a 3 city multi-trip..

Posted by
333 posts

I would suggest going to AA.com and putting the information in for the trip you want. You don't have to buy it but you will get the the answer directly rather than asking here for guesses.

Posted by
164 posts

Thank you very much for your replies. I think we will fly into Heathrow, but will return from another airport/country. Keep safe everyone!

Posted by
7950 posts

My experience using United miles is that flying into London is not expensive, but flying from London back to the U.S. is. I’m working on an England/Scotland/Ireland trip for next year and we will do it in that order.

Posted by
443 posts

Do keep in mind that your time has value. Most Americans don’t get a lot of vacation time. So it is one thing to say plan a Paris and London trip so you fly out Paris in order to save money But if you are staying in London the traveling out of London to save money may very well cost you a day of your vacation. And considering how expensive travel to Europe tends to be and how limited Americans tend to be for vacation it may be a bad value.
The same argument I use against staying at cheeper hotels way way out of town, often you lose so much time traveling that you could spend one less day and aford the hotel closer in and still have the same number of hours in London (or whatever city).
If you are spending 10 grand for 20 nights in Europe (randomly picked numbers) that is 500 per day. Saving even 600 or 800 but having to spend an extra day in travel is not really worth it monetarily and that is ignoring the vacation days issue.
Plus you spend money to get to the cheeper airport, are probably more restricted in travel times from a smaller airport and may have to spend an night near said airport. That could easily add up to a few hundred dollars spent to “save” the fee for London,
Note I am not saying avoid doing this I am just saying make sure you look at all the cost to this including lose of time.
And obviously if you are going to multiple locations then this is less an issue.

Posted by
4507 posts

At least some of the growth in transatlantic flights from Ireland is from people doing the "Dublin Shuffle", ie taking a flight from Great Britain to Ireland in the evening and departing the next day. A risk maybe but often a good saving especially if paying the "standard" rate of APD of £176 even with the overnight cost. In your case you could spend some of your time there of course.

Posted by
2643 posts

I always fly into and out of Heathrow. I find if you watch the fair a bit at odd hours, you can get a fairly equally priced flight. Or you might prefer to take a tortuous route to your destination for very cheap fares. However, we all have our preferences on how to save...or not. That being said, I don’t fly American but rather British Airways as it is more comfortable, IMO. You can usually see what American flights will be via BA. If you are flying out of Logan, you might look at the day flight. Sorry, this is coming out sounding rude, which it isn’t meant to be.

Posted by
17869 posts

From my origin I've been able to get very good fares flying to somewhere on the continent and home from London. Perhaps Dublin is a bit cheaper, but not by enough to cover the cost of traveling from London to Dublin. I agree that taxes are astronomical if one looks at frequent-flyer tickets, but for cash purchases on multi-city tickets originating at Washington-Dulles as well as for round-trips to London, I'm not seeing major impact. Perhaps it's different if one starts the round-trip in London or is originating elsewhere in the US.

Posted by
3419 posts

In 2016, light years ago now, I flew British Airways RT Seattle-London Heathrow for a 6 week trip. I did a big loop starting in Bath upon arrival the beginning of May, going as far north as Orkney, as far east as Canterbury, as far south as Hastings, back west to Winchester and spending my last week in London in mid-June.

I didn't pay any attention to the Heathrow taxes thing. All I cared about was that I could get that RT ticket from the west coast for less than $1000. I think paying attention to the total cost in all its forms is sometimes a better strategy than making itinerary changes just to try to save money.