U.S. airlines in 2008 scrambled for ways to generate more revenue amid declining passenger bookings, and one way was to increase booking and change fees to their frequent flier club members using mileage awards to book tickets. When you book a client using mileage awards as part of a vacation booking, remind them that new airline fees have made those tickets no longer “free” of charge. Some fees on display on the frequent flier section of www.creditcards.com show that major domestic airlines start with service fees of $5 to $30 per ticket unless it is booked online. There is also a quick ticketing fee ($50 to $75) if the tickets are booked less than either 20 days or 14 days from departure, depending on the carrier. Worse are the change fees ($50 to $150 for domestic, or $250 for at least one carrier on international) when you change the date or time of a flight, and the redeposit fees ($50 to $150 for domestic, or $250 for at least one carrier on international) for putting miles back into an account from an unused ticket. Some carriers even charge $50 or $75 if the passenger receives a paper ticket rather than an E-ticket.
When your clients cancel their trip for a covered reason under a Worldwide Trip Protector plan, their cancellation coverage includes “airfare cancellation charges for flights joining/departing your land or sea arrangements.” Remind them that frequent flier program award tickets are no longer “free” anymore, and travelers who leave themselves unprotected can face airline service and penalty charges that can add expensive insult to injury after their trip is cancelled!