I am adding this question to a prior post...BUDAPEST, VIENNA AND POSSIBLY PRAUGE?......looks like we may use FF Delta points and wondering if anyone on this forum has flown into Budapest or Prague on Delta. Is one better than the other? We like renting a car and will probably do that for some of the trip but are trying to lock down a place to fly in and out of. Isn’t it better to fly in and out of the same place if one of us is using FF points? Thanks so much for your help!
IMO, no real difference. Just find the best schedule and car rental rates if renting.
Isn’t it better to fly in and out of the same place if one of us is using FF points?
Usually no. But maybe in this case.
Every frequent flyer program is different. They all have their own rules, some of which are oddball, and which may only apply in some narrow circumstances. I can think of only 1 reason why there would be an advantage to flying in to and out of the same airport, if using FF points. If, as I assume, you are trying to go "open jaws" (flying A to B on the outbound, returning C back to A on the return) then in many FF systems you would book that as two "one way" flights rather than a traditional round-trip. In most cases that's unimportant. There is one potential gotcha with Delta (see below). Things to watch out for would be:
- A few FF programs price a one-way flight at the same cost as a round-trip flight (which effective doubled the cost of one-way flights). Delta used to do this, but gave up that several years ago. So one way FF trips on Delta now cost 1/2 the price (in miles) of a round trip. So far, so good.
- You may pay slightly higher government-imposed fees and taxes because you are booking two tickets rather than one. This difference is typically just a few bucks and would not dissuade me.
- Delta does some really sleazy things to their frequent flyers (eg they hide their award chart, so you can't predict what an award flight would cost - they'll say "it costs whatever our computer says it costs"). That's really annoying and IMHO shows they have a lot of contempt for their FF program members, but that's who they are. But here's one issue that could hit your wallet...it's a little complicated, so stick with me. A few airlines gouge their FF members by imposing what they call a "fuel surcharge". The name is highly deceptive, this has nothing to do with the cost of jetfuel. It's simply a way to extract money out of people who want to use their miles. British Airways is the most notorious for this sneaky practice. "Fuel surcharge" fees can be a little or they can be stunning (hundreds of dollars in some cases). In general, Delta does not charge impose these nasty fees for flights from the USA. So if you use your Delta FF miles to book a flight from the USA to Europe, you don't pay those high fees. That's true if you book a round trip. But if you book a one-way from USA to Europe, and then another one-way back from Europe to the USA, they hit you with a potentially large fee for the return flight - because it's a flight that "originates" in Europe. How much is this fee gonna be? Depends on multiple factors. Might be a little, might be hundreds. Only way to know is to go through the booking process and see what they do to you. My advice: Delta miles are OK for flights to Europe. They're not so good for flights coming back from Europe. In a few weeks I'm flying to Europe on Delta using my FF miles (in business class, too). But I'll be coming back using United FF points, because they don't try to ding me hundreds of bucks in so-called "fuel surcharges".
To answer your question directly: You will need to crunch the numbers and see if it's worth it to you in this specific case.
There's generally no penalty to fly in to one airport and return home from a different airport. In your case, there's the sneaky little extra factor noted above (because of the following combination: you're on Delta airlines + using miles + flying home from Europe + on a separate "one way" ticket). The exact fee depends on the mysteries of Delta's computer-driven system of sticking it to their customers, so you will need to try a dummy booking (that is, go part-way through the booking process, see what the fees are, and make your decision based on the numbers). Compare the extra fees Delta will try to sneak in, weigh that against the other benefits of flying open jaw. The benefits of going open jaw can be very significant, but depends on details...
You will need to look at the big picture.
On one side, add up all the benefits you get from flying out of the airport that works best for your trip. These can be significant - I believe that flying Open Jaws often effectively extends your vacation by 1-2 days, since you don't have to circle back to your arrival airport; don't forget to factor in all the costs associated with that - trains, hotels, etc. But I think in general, for most of us, the commodity that is most highly constrained is time. Most of us can find another couple hundred bucks if we need to, but it's hard to manufacture extra days (jobs make that inconvenient). I'm a big believer in flying open jaws - it makes my trips much better.
Weigh that against how many pounds of flesh Delta is going to quietly try to extract from you for the privilege of departing from Europe on one of their flights using their FF miles. If you're in coach, that might be a minor fee. In business class, I recall seeing fees around $300-$500.
It may be worth it to you, or maybe not. You need to run the numbers and think about it.
Of course, all this depends on you being able to find the seats you want, using FF miles, at a reasonable rate, which is often not possible. As you may know, another way Delta heaps contempt on their FF members is that they use "dynamic pricing" for their FF award seats. You may find that you need to pay 2X, 4X or even higher "miles" for the seat you want. If that's the case, this all becomes moot. Again, the only way to know is to go look, start a booking and see what their computer demands of you. That's how they roll.
Hope the above all makes sense. Good luck!
Ive flown Delta into Budapest maybe 20 times, about half the time open jaw with another destination. My experience has been $0 to $150 added cost. The best deal ive gotten in years was Houston - Lviv then Budapest Houston on Turkish Air. Under $900 and about $50 cheaper than Houston - Budapest round trip on Turkish Air. The flight Lviv to Budapest was on Ukraine Air for about $150.
Otherwise I like David's point of view about the value of time.
Turkish is a great airline.
Thanks friends.....this is great help!
I've not been to Prague, but I've flown into and out of BUD on Delta open jaw tickets using FF with no issues. I prefer open jaw because it gives me more flexibility in my dates. Like you, I like to have my flights booked first and then I can fill in my travel plans. In my experience, there are only certain days of the week that I can fly in or out of BUD. (MUC, for example seems to have award availability every day) On average, the fuel charges are around $100 per passenger.
Your best option is to play around on the Delta web site. Start by selecting a one-way trip and select the flexible days option. This will show you the price in miles for departure on that day. The lowest fare is 30k miles for one way. You should be able to do the same for your other desired locations and then put it all together into a multi-stop trip.
I will say, I would rather fly into BUD than out of BUD, only because the departures on FF miles are usually 6am flights and the airport can be chaotic at that hour. We stay on the BUD side, so we have to leave extra early to get to BUD. I've not had trouble getting through security or getting to the gate, but it does take a while. When leaving from Germany, I'm able to select more civilized departure times and shorter layover times.
I hope that helps!
Since my husband books our tickets, I don't know(nor want to know because I know they can be high!) about the taxes on Delta FF tickets. However, our MO is to do two one-ways so we can fly Delta business going to Europe(usually Heathrow, then take another airline to our European destination) and Virgin Economy Comfort(Heathrow) on the way back, since Virgin's EC is currently better than Delta's.
I will say, I would rather fly into BUD than out of BUD, only because
the departures on FF miles are usually 6am flights and the airport can
be chaotic at that hour. We stay on the BUD side, so we have to leave
extra early to get to BUD. I've not had trouble getting through
security or getting to the gate, but it does take a while. When
leaving from Germany, I'm able to select more civilized departure
times and shorter layover times.
You are correct. I take that 6:30am Delta flight (usually KLM) at least 3 times a year. But we have worked it out to a science. We leave Pest at 4am, use nothing but carryon and preprint our boarding passes, or have them on our cell phones. We wizz through and stop at the cafe just inside security for breakfast before the flight.
We choose the flight because it had the best schedule vs cost for our destination. Later flights usually had crazy short layovers.
But the market is changing and other options are opening up. Turkish Air is one for instance.
As for the car rental: picking up in one country and dropping in another can be expensive. Then there is the cost of parking as the car isn't really useful in any if those 3 cities. You are going to save a bundle on airfare so splurge on the open jaw ticket instead of a car. All of the major sights between the cities are accessible by train or bus. All of the sights in the cities are accessible on foot or tram or metro. Even the best day trips don't require a car.
I haven't flown into or out of those cities so no specific help on the destinations. I did want to comment, however, that for Delta specifically if you book a "multi-city" frequent flyer route (that is, book both your to and from flights in the same booking - not two separate one-way tix on two separate booking #'s) then you avoid the gouging @ David mentioned. We booked into Barcelona and out of Zurich for our upcoming trip and only paid about $50/pp fees. I had looked at two one-way tix and it was about $300/pp fees doing it that way, so the multi-city option is cheaper and easier and very doable. Btw on Delta Zurich is almost always a very good option for FF miles at the lowest tier structure.