Traveling with an infant (less than 2 years old) comes with its own planning, excitement and anxiety. Infant ticketing is most inconsistently defined by various carriers and the rules for the award cost for infant vary wildly specially for international travel. The good news is having knowledge of infant ticketing rules on awards can help decide whether its worth the comfort of traveling on award ticket.
There are 3 ways in which carrier want to charge for the infant's on award tickets:
It is important to note that most often it is the ticketing airlines which decides the price of the infant ticket and on an award flight the ticketing carrier might be different than the operating carrier. Also if you have multiple carriers on award ticket than it might complicate ticketing the infant and best advice would be to avoid such award tickets.
So, given the above costs and "gotcha's" for premium cabin award it is best to go with the ticketing carrier which either charges in "miles" for infant or has a flat dollar or mileage cost. Given that premise below are the best carriers for award ticket solely based on "Infant" ticket cost (Note: You will still need to weigh if it is best carrier based on award ticket cost for the parent and award availability).
Aeroplan (Star alliance):
Aeroplan charges flat mileage or dollar amount based on class of service for international travel on any of star alliance partner awards:
British Airways (Oneworld alliance):
British Airways charges 10% of mileage cost of Adult award ticket + taxes & fees. Do note that the taxes & fees are typically same as what would be applied to adult ticket, so depending on the operating carrier it may or may not be the best deal but definitely better than paying 10% of revenue fare.
Virgin Atlantic (No alliance):
Virgin Atlantic charges below amount depending on class of service:
Most other carriers charge 10% of revenue fare which can make it prohibitive for infant tickets if you are looking for Business class or First class awards. You can always book an award ticket for the infant but you will need additional award seat available and have to shell out the same mileage amount as the adult award ticket. So, choose wisely the ticketing carrier for award when travelling with infant otherwise it may well break your budget.
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Ever wondered, which airline flies which route and what are the flight options for the given city? Would that not be much easier if there was single source or page listing all the flights departing a airport? or showing flight details between two city pair?. Although no single website exists which could satisfy this needs there are several resources which could help you find that info. Below are some of the useful websites which can help you get that info, which would help you finalize that missing puzzle of your successful award or revenue travel.
Currently in beta flightconnections will help you find what are the "destinations" served from the airport of your desire and if you key in source/destination pair the available airline/flight options between those two airport/city pair. Of-course you could click on one of those airlines and go to one of their "affiliate" booking web-page, but at least you get the info you need.
Open Flights is like a wikipedia of flights. As it is open-source it is maintained by community of volunteers, and thus would have good info albeit some of the info might be wrong. The interesting part is you could view or list flights from a given "airport" or "city" and the data could be either seen as a map or read as a list. You can even sort the data as well as filter per the "airlines". As seen from below snapshots!
This tool would be useful if you know the source and destination as well as the dates of your travel and want to know all the available flight options. So, although limited compared to open flights or flightconnection it is still useful as it can quickly list all the options on various airlines as can be seen from below search.
This website requires a little more info before spitting out the route-map but it is useful if you are looking for a route map by "region" or "airline". You could plug in your short-listing criteria and get set of route-maps which are available. You can see a simple search for American Airlines below yields links to various route maps by region as well detailed info on the "hubs".
Airline Route Mapper
Airline route mapper is another tool which was created by flyertalk member cockpitvisit. You need to download this tool but it does list a fairly comprehensive and updated route map. So, if you are one of those who do lot of search and do not mind installing this tool on your laptop/desktop then this is for you.
Apart from above there is a route map (which might be a little limited in its usage but still useful) for One World Alliance routes which can be found here and Star Alliance routes which can be found here.
Most of the airlines would charge 12.5k miles for one-way travel within the Continental USA at saver level in coach. Thus a round trip travel would come at 25k miles. This would be a good redemption if you plan to fly from east coast to west coast or vice-verse. But what about a short distance travel of let's say from LAX-SFO or DFW-IAH? You would still have to spend 25k miles for this trip unless you have "British Airways Avios" at your rescue. Here is why you should consider using British Airways Avios for these trips.
1. British Airways do not charge any surcharge for flights originating and ending within United States (including Hawaii).
2. The award chart for British Airways is distance based starting at only 4500 Avios for distance of 1-650 miles. Thus for LAX-SFO or DFW-IAH you would only pay 4.5k Avios miles as oppose to 12.5k miles on American Airlines. You can calculate the Avios needed by using this link.
3. British Airways is One-World Alliance member and thus you can redeem the reward on any of the One-World Alliance member or any other British Airways partner airlines. Thus in the U.S.A. you can redeem Avios on American Airlines as well as Alaska Airlines when there is an award available at saver level with them.
4. There is no close-in charges for booking ticket within the 21 days window of flying, thus it is useful for booking last minute flights as well.
Additionally below are other benefits which are "by-mistake" I suppose and could end up any time:
1. When you cancel the award ticket online the cancellation fee is less of the taxes you paid or $40 fee. Thus for your award travel if you paid only $5 as taxes, that is what you will lose when you cancel the award and the Avios will return back to your account.
2. You get priority boarding on American Airlines for any award booked using British Avios.
Although there are few "cons" below which you want to look out for:
1. British Airways Avios are charged segment based. Thus if there is no direct flight from SFO to LAS on any of the partner airlines and you have to fly SFO-LAX-LAS you will need to pay 9k Avios each way as these are considered two separate segments.
2. As the distance increases the cost of award ticket would go up and thus could be a bad redemption. For e.g. east coast to west coast travel might cost much higher Avios compared to 12.5k American Airlines or Alaska Airlines miles
3. Not all the partner (e.g. Alaska Airlines) and One-World Alliance member flights are bookable online, and so you will need to shell out $25 per passenger per award telephone booking fee as well as deal with their bad telephone booking staff and the long hold time which is often associated with the telephone booking.
4. The reward can only be booked for One-World and partner airlines if they are available at saver level only.
But overall as stated if you are looking for short distance flights or flight to take on short notice and if the seats are available on saver level, there is no better value than using the British Airways Avios. Also if you have got excited about Avios and want to start collecting them, there is an awesome offer going on for British Airways Credit Card from Chase which currently offers 50k bonus avios after $1k spend on the card for $95 annual fee and would be something you might be interested in.
Most of the credit cards offer some sort of incentive to entice you in applying for them. Sometimes they come up with great offers as well. Below are the few credit credit cards which are offering lucrative bonus miles. These credit cards offer have value of close to $400 to $500 worth of air-travel or cash equivalent. Here is the list:
1. United Explorer Card 50k Miles: United Airlines is having a 50k miles bonus promotion for signing up on their Explorer Card. The details are below:
2. British Airways 100k Miles: British Airways is offering 100k miles in total for signing up for British Airways Visa Card. The details are below:
3. American Airlines 50k Miles (x 2): There are various offers available for American Airlines Credit Card. Since Citi Bank is the card issuer it allows to apply for 2 personal credit cards at same time and thus you can maximize to earn 100k miles by applying for 2 variants of the same card (VISA & AMEX) or (VISA & MasterCard) using 2 browser trick. Also as an added advantage you only get one credit card pull on your credit report since two credit pulls get merged since they are from the same issuer and for the same card type. More info about the 2 browser trick can be found here. There are various offers floating at the moment with annual fees of ~$95 (waived for 1st year) and I am listing all the offers below. (HT to flytertalk page here)
a. 50k miles after $2500 spend in 4 months (Note: No Admirals Club passes or statement credit; Thanks to FT member jeanie). -- Expired, No landing page, but still working
b. Up to $150 statement credits for the eligible AA purchases made within 12 months of card membership, 45k miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 4 months, 2 Admirals Club passes. (Thanks to FT member jeanie)
c. Up to $100 credit, two admirals club passes, 50k miles (40k miles for $2k within 4 months of opening + 10k miles after $5k within 12 months of opening), 2 miles/$ on AA: Direct Links:
American Airlines rewards can be redeemed for One World Alliance member flights as well as any of their partner airlines as well. Also off-peak round trip Europe travel from USA only costs 40k miles.
4. US Airways 40k Miles: You can earn 40k miles after the first purchase. Although the application page says it's only for Chairman's Preferred Members, anyone applying using the link and approved for the card have received all the benefits, but obviously YMMV. The application link is here. Some of the details for the card are as below:
US Ariways Miles can be redeemed on United Airlines or any Star Alliance flights (although with some restrictions) as well as partner airlines. Also US Airways reward flight can only be booked on phone and there is reward redemption fee for both domestic and international awards. US Airways Credit Card is offered by Barclays Bank.
As always most often than not folks buying the revenue ticket are concerned about getting the lowest priced ticket that works for them without any consideration to airline miles earned. For e.g. you might find a flight which has a lowest fares that works for you but does not earn any miles as the ticket might be "highly discounted". But unless you are flying airlines which does not have "any" partners or does not belong to any "alliance" there might be some opportunity to earn miles even though the airlines you booked your flights on does not provide any such mileage credit. Make note of below pointers which would help you earn those miles!
Case 1: You booked the Cathay Pacific (CX) flight in "S" class which would not be earning any CX miles:
Knowing that "S" class would not earn any miles on "CX", you would want to find out if any of the "alliance/partners" provide any mileage credit for "S" class of service. Doing a little research you will see that "British Airways (BA)" provides 25% credit of miles traveled in "S" class while "Finnair (AY)" provides 50% of miles traveled as of this writing. You would need to check out the "relative value" of 50% earned miles to 25% earned miles and decide accordingly. But just using the Frequent Flyer membership number of either of these programs would be a great idea for crediting your miles to them rather than not receiving any miles. You can check out the "chart" for BA here and for AY here.
Case 2: You booked the Qatar Airways (QR) flight in "V/W" class which would earn 25% of actual miles:
Doing a little research you see that Qatar Airways (QR) is a "partner" of US Airways (US) (One World Alliance member) and Asiana Airlines (OZ) (Star Alliance member) which earn 50% of actual miles flown as well as give you access to use those miles for redemption on either One World or Star Alliance. Thus becoming Frequent Flyer (FF) member of either of these two and crediting your miles to them you would not only get a better earning rate but also access to other "alliance" airlines awards. You can check out earning for QR here, US here and OZ here.
Thus checking your options for mileage credit can open up more opportunities than you can think of :)
I love traveling / backpacking. This blog focuses on below 3 aspects of travel:
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