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About two and half weeks ago I received the awesome news that I was going to have the opportunity to attend the London 2012 Olympics.  I was psyched to see up-close the sports that I somehow only pay attention to every four years – Swimming, Athletics (Track & Field), Volleyball, and Diving. I was also excited to see some Team USA basketball. I decided that I would look for flights and hotels upon returning from work that night, though I definitely had some trepidation that I wouldn’t be able to find any reasonable availability…boy was I wrong.

My first step was securing flights and I wanted to use some of my Delta SkyMiles.  I have an insane amount of SkyMiles, though I find myself constantly redeeming awards with my AA and UA miles instead, refusing to book a medium or high level award on Delta.  Delta has three direct flights a day from JFK to LHR, but I was even willing to accept a connection at the low level.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that all three direct flights (for all three potential departure days) had low level award availability at the 60k round-trip pricing.  Business class was pricing at the medium level of 200k round-trip, though I could have grabbed a combo Low/Medium award at 150k with a 5 hours layover in Paris via Air France on the way there and a 9 hour layover on the way home.   I went ahead and booked the economy flight at the low level for 60k miles and created a reminder to check each morning for business class availability.  One day later, business on all three flights opened up on both the departure and return and I changed my flight for an additional 40k miles and about $100 in additional taxes.

Well, two weeks later and it’s more of the same, not only on Delta but UA and AA as well.  Seats are available to the Olympics at the low level in Economy or Business for most of next week:




I expected to see a big tax difference when comparing the AA flights to BA flights, though I was surprised to see Delta’s fees when advancing to the final screen as compared to the other carriers, despite the graphics above (not sure why they are being displayed at $2.50):

AA – Economy ($89.40 each way), Business ($134.20 each way)
BA – Economy ($219.70 each way), Business ($347.70 each way)
Delta – Economy ($88.15 each way), Business ($139.20 each way)
United – Economy ($89.40 & Business ($134.20 each way)

Any readers aware of what the correct pricing for the Delta flights should be?

Anyway, the takeaway here is that low level award flights are easy to obtain, even this late in the game.  I found hotels to be just as easy, some of the rates were so low that i didn’t even bother using points, though point options were readily available, more on this in tomorrow’s post. It sure seems like there is excess inventory for both flights and hotels. Event tickets as well have been easy to secure. I was given tickets to a few events but wanted to purchase some others.  I had no problems finding cheap options on the official London 2012 site (where tickets are sporadically released) and on eBay, full updates on event tickets tomorrow as well.

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Whitney August 2, 2012 - 1:47 pm

i’ve randomly done a trial booking in AA econ (specifically AA metal not BA) :

Your Trip Cost:
60,000 miles
+$251.30 USD

Different carriers allocate fees/taxes at different stages of the booking process. Are you only taking the first one-way and multiplying that by 2 ?

I think diff in AA/UA/DL taxes are minimal. Only BA/VS is a true royal pain in the ….

adam August 2, 2012 - 5:50 pm

@Whitney – You’re right, I just repriced a round-trip 60k coach award and the taxes are $178.80 on AA. Business is $268.40.

Gregorygrady August 3, 2012 - 12:03 am

You’d think a blogger with so many miles would have a bit more of a clue about uk apd fees as well as close I ticketing fees. All the fees are the same on those awards with the exception of ba which has fuel surcharges. From your final costs I can tell u have high status on aa but not ua.

adam August 3, 2012 - 10:40 pm

@Gregorygrady – Thanks for the wake up! The whole delta pricing at $2.50 until the very final screen was unusual as it normally adds in the appropriate fees once your select your outbound flight.For example, today it’s displaying the actual fees from step1. I’ve updated the pricing within the post. I’m currently Plat on both AA and UA.

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