Open Jaws, Fuel Dumps and Hidden Cities… Oh My!

A few days ago I shared a great trick to remove certain fuel surcharges when using Aeroplan miles to fly from the US or Canada to Europe on Lufthansa. If you are a fairly astute reader, you would have also noticed that certain applications of the same trick can be very useful when it comes to paid fares. Thanks to the trans-atlantic metal-neutral joint venture within the Star Alliance, you can also book United flights under a Lufthansa codeshare if you are looking for a nonstop flight to/from cities other than Frankfurt or Munich. Since you guys liked the last post so much, let’s see what I’m talking about.

Since we’re talking paid fares, let’s look at economy class for the time being (which is what most mileage running is all about… unless you’re one of the lucky few heading to Seoul for $1700 in GlobalFirst). We’ve already established than an open jaw saves a few hundred in fuel surcharge compared to a normal round trip, so let’s see what this looks like in practice.

Standard round trip New York to Frankfurt on Lufthansa

Standard round trip New York to Frankfurt on Lufthansa

Let’s take a look at a “simple” open jaw first.

Open jaw New York to Frankfurt to Vancouver on Lufthansa

Open jaw New York to Frankfurt to Vancouver on Lufthansa

Not a bad saving at all, especially for the West Coast.

Now the things I talked about before – namely creating an open jaw where, on the return leg, you route via your point of origin works again for a paid fare. Suppose you wish to travel from New York to Frankfurt – the standard fare would be $950. But how about…

Open Jaw on Lufthansa routing via New York

Open Jaw on Lufthansa routing via New York

Over $250 is saved on this round trip with a simple open jaw, but this time you route back via your home city. This is a form of hidden city ticketing, where you simply throw away the last leg. I’ve also included a clever airport switch here so you can claim your bags too, if you plan to check any. So if you live in a city with more than one airport- take note!

Back when I first introduced fuel dumping on Aeroplan I talked about the difference between Aeroplan and paid fuel dumps. Paid fuel dumps have two variables – the base fare and the fuel surcharge, where Aeroplan dumps only have the surcharge variable. So what if you could simultaneously reduce both the base fare and the surcharge?

Suppose this time, I’m looking for a round trip from Chicago to Paris.

$1250 fare from Chicago to Paris flying United (Lufthansa)

$1250 fare from Chicago to Paris flying United (Lufthansa)

Fairly pricey at $1250, don’t you reckon? (Note that also the joint-venture between United and Lufthansa I talked about earlier comes into play here). Let’s put our imagination caps on for a moment and assume you’re a poor soul with no miles to burn for this trip (or there could be no award space… given the status of *A partner space right now – not that far fetched to be honest). Now, you can do the same open-jaw on Lufthansa to get the price down even more. Here goes…

It's a miracle - $800 open jaw for the same flight, but returning to Montreal via Chicago

It’s a miracle – $800 open jaw for the same flight, but returning to Montreal via Chicago

Not only has the fuel surcharge dropped by $250, but the base fare drops by another $250, for a net saving of $450. Still not a rate that I would jump for joy at, but neat improvement, you’d agree, no?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and can put some of these tricks to good use. Of course it’s always a better idea to have a stash of miles tucked away for these sorts of trips, so consider if you haven’t already the American Express Aeroplan Gold Card before the limited-time offer of 30,000 bonus miles expires. Thanks for your support as always, and as they say in my beloved Lufthansa FCT, “Gute Reise”!


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Comments

  1. Thanks for the post.
    I guess this would only work if you only had carry-on luggage since checked baggage would be checked through to the destination?

  2. @Bob – All the transits mentioned in the post are thru US airports. Whenever you land at a US airport from an international flight (except Canada), you will have to clear customs first. So you will get your bags back (even though they are tagged all the way thru). There is a baggage drop area after clearing customs for connecting passengers. If your ultimate destination is in the US, then you don’t drop the bag back and simply walk out of the airport or to your next flight.

  3. @Bob – All the transits mentioned in the post are thru US airports. Whenever you land at a US airport from an international flight (except Canada), you will have to clear customs first. So you will get your bags back (even though they are tagged all the way thru). There is a baggage drop area after clearing customs for connecting passengers. If your ultimate destination is in the US, then you don’t drop the bag back and simply walk out of the airport or to your next flight.

  4. Pretty neat.. I was in the process of checking out fares from Boston to London and this shaved off a significant chunk..

  5. How do you put the information in ITA for the open jaw? Do you just put in CDG-YUL and look for the one that goes through ORD? Or multi-city on the first page? Is there an advanced routing code to specify a specific layover city?

  6. Wow this really works. however this does not work as well when going to other cities not FRA

    would love to read similar tips on other cities/airlines

  7. I work as a travel agent here in Australia, and although I know what fuel dumping and triple strike are, if we attempt anything along those lines, the airline will hit us with a sizable ADM (agency debit memo) ie. a fine. They’re well aware of this ‘glitch’.

  8. Jeff
    1. The link to previous article doesn’t work
    http://canadiankilometers.boardingarea.com/2014/07/04/aeroplan-fuel-dumping-lufthansa-style/

    2. Great original content vs. other BA or Canadian blogs. I wish bloggers can post something NEW for us to learn about, instead of repeating the same things (CC, Uber, etc…)

    3. I may be confused here, so what was the “bug” that Aeroplan fixed in early 2014 (the original Aeroplan LH open-jaw YQ dump) vs. these 2 “tricks” you blogged

    In short, I want to fly ex-YYZ to Europe (obviously avoid LH on Aeroplan originally). Although, LH J sucks anyway

    • Thanks for the kind words and for pointing out the broken link!

      There was another fuel surcharge reduction for Air Canada open jaws that I previously blogged out along with the Lufthansa one. If you’re flying ex-YYZ to Europe check out Swiss (via Montreal) if you can book last-minute enough (typically under 7 days). Otherwise Brussels or United might have to be the way to go.

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