My Prague Booking Dilemma – Share Your Opinions

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Prague Booking Dilemma

My Prague Booking Dilemma – Share Your Opinions

I shared with you in my app-o-rama post that I had used some of my newly minted Delta Skymiles to book a ticket to Kyiv.  On that same trip we will be hitting Prague too and I needed to book a flight home from there.  That left me with a decision to make on which award option to take.  I have a few different choices but I am not sure which one to take.  And this isn’t about product or airline so much because I will be flying in the cheap seats.  Yes bloggers do fly long haul economy, THE HORROR!  So I figured I would lay out the options and have you peeps weigh in on my Prague booking dilemma.

Details of the Trip

I was looking for a flight back from Prague with no more than one connection.  There are no direct flights from Prague to Detroit so I had to deal with at least one connection.  I had planned on using my newly minted LifeMiles for the return on Lufthansa but the dates I need are not showing availability, yet at least. Let’s get into the options I have.

Prague Booking Dilemma

American Airlines

Surprisingly, American Airlines has a flight on their metal and it is looking like the best choice right now. It connects in Philadelphia and has a decent layover. The price is right too!

Prague Booking Dilemma

30,000 miles and a very attractive $46.53 in taxes.  American Airlines for the win! I was surprised AA didn’t populate my search with 4 layover flights etc.

British Airways

I decided to scope out the same flight but booking it with British Airways Avios.  I was curious to see how many taxes BA would charge. If only their new credit card perk worked on flights from Europe 😥. I was also thinking about that juicy 40% American Express Membership Rewards transfer bonus. This is what they came up with:

Prague Booking Dilemma

That is equivalent to 23,750 Membership Rewards points and $201.33 when taking the transfer bonus into account. Or 6,250 miles cheaper than AA but $154.80 more in taxes and fees. That would be like buying American Airlines miles at 2.5 cents a piece which is not ideal, although Ryan may disagree with me.

But the real perk of going this route is the flexibility Avios bookings offer.  If I decided to cancel it the cost is only $55 versus $150 for American Airlines. Which brings me to my third option.

Lufthansa

I know that I said above Lufthansa does not have any availability that works right now but they do like to release award seats a few weeks out.  Especially business and first class seats!  I am sitting on those newly minted LifeMiles from my app-o-rama and those are not miles I want to sit on long term with their recent troubles.

My thinking is I could book the American flight with British Airways Avios.  Then I could keep checking for Lufthansa business class space to open up.  If it did I could cancel the Avios booking for $55 and go ahead and fly home in a little luxury.  There are some risks involved here and it would end up costing me around $130 in taxes and cancellation fees which is higher than just booking the flight with American miles.  But the payoff would be a more enjoyable experience with miles I don’t value as highly as American or Avios miles.

Final Thoughts

I am currently leaning towards booking the flight with American Airlines miles. The simplicity of it is attractive, the price is right and I like keeping cash in my pocket (it is the cheapest option).  But the Lufthansa route is attractive because I have not flown their product yet.  I could also see some people leaning towards the Membership Rewards to Avios route if they value AA miles highly.

Share your thoughts below.  Which option would you choose and why?

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32 COMMENTS

  1. if no cancellation
    24k MR + 201 vs 30k AA plus 46
    Advantage to AA- save 155$ in exchange for 6k additional AA miles, and spend AA miles instead of MR points, which is more valuable.

    if cancellation
    24k MR + 256 vs 30k AA plus 196
    Even- save 60$ in exchange for 6k additional AA miles, again, spend AA miles instead of MR points.

    In both scenario, AA is either better or it is a wash.

    • The second calculation is off since it would only be a cost of $55 if I cancelled with BA and not $256.

  2. How set are you on visiting Prague? The reason I ask is that I just came back from a trip to Kyiv and Prague. Loved Kyiv. Hated Prague. This is obviously my personal view, but I found it to be shared by a shocking number of people I work with (of course, they only shared this opinion after the fact and not before I went). We liked how pretty the buildings and castles are, but it looked more like a movie set and not a real city, and the things that we disliked are: (1) overcrowding and how dirty the streets are, (2) extreme monetization of everything — you can’t enter churches without paying!, (3) how rude people are relative to other countries we’ve been to, (4) the emphasis on the culture of drinking cheap beer — lots of trashy looking drunk people wandering the streets. We actually cut our trip short by 2 days and went home from Prague earlier. In my view, if you’ve been to other countries with beautiful castles and churches (Italy, Denmark, Hungary), there’s no reason to visit Prague.

    • My buddy who I am going with is pretty set on Prague. I know many people like Brussels and I felt the same way about it as you did Prague. It will be interesting to see if our thinking lines up after the trip 🙂

    • I am in Prague right now and love it. It sounds like you spent all your time in Old Town which is like saying you don’t like LA but you spent all your time in Hollywood.

      I am from the US. Prague streets are much cleaner than US streets. I have been in Prague two weeks and have seen only one drunk group of locals.

      Mark, spend one day doing a free walking tour of Old Town/Jewish quarter and Mala Strana/Prague Castle to see some cool but overtouristed sites and then stay away from that area. I haven’t paid to get inside any buildings in Prague and there is plenty to see and do. Stay in Karlin or Vinorhady.

    • Jason,
      Was quite surprised with your comment about Prague. I live in Prague and in Moravia. Prague is indeed a
      “real city.” Czech people are walking to work every day on Charles Bridge (built 1357-1402) usually 6-7 am.
      You must have done the tourist thing.
      The Castle (from 9th century) is the largest continually inhabited in the world. Prague was NOT BOMBED during WWII so YES, the whole city is a movie set, i.e. why movies are made there. No fake Hollywood stuff.
      You can see actual streets from the 16th, 17th, 18th century…and so on. You cannot see and walk this in Kansas.
      The beer thing is a holdover from the Communist/Socialist era. “Keep the price of beer and bread cheap and the masses will be satisfied.” Travel books arguably say that Czech beer is the best in the world. Why? Different climate, crops and brewing.
      Remember that in the late 1930’s that Czechoslovakia had one of the highest standards of living in the world. They went from #7 to #45 after Hitler and after the Russians came in to occupy.
      Next time get a rent car and get out of the capital city. Prague can be twice as expensive as other Czech towns. But you probably had even better prices in far eastern Kiev, Ukraine.

  3. If you had time and were feeling crazy, you could do the mega cheap business class award flight to Seoul from Prague on the way home. I’ve looked at it a couple of times, but haven’t made it to Prague yet.

      • Czeck Airlines, flying Korean Air metal. The only problem is, according to Seat Guru the plane itself….even J on that feels like Y…..tiny seats & pitch.

      • Prague to Seoul using Etihad miles is massively cheap. There’s a nonstop flight twice weekly, but I forget whether it’s on Korean, TBH. If he has the miles, it would make for an interesting routing. Obviously it would cost more miles to do this, though. Sorry, I don’t understand the 2 and 1 part.

    • No thanks I want to get home as quickly as possible haha – but thanks for the idea. Outside the box for sure!

  4. Book with AA miles, if you need to cancel you can change the departure to a year out from booking for no fee (keep origin and destination the same) and hope for a schedule change that allows you to cancel for free. I’ve done that 4 or 5 times and only been stuck burning the miles once.

    • Although, that being said, I wouldn’t fly AA right now no matter what given their absolutely horrible operations as of late.

      • I am not looking forward to it that is for sure. I did consider the change aspect and I think it is likely something happens over the next 8 months that would work.

          • If they adjust the flight, like make it an hour later etc. then you can usually cancel the flight for free. You can also change the dates of your flight for up to a year on AA as long as the departure and destination airport stay the same.

  5. Not everybody is a morning person and you are planning an extra long day flying westward. where you plan to adjust to later hours. I consider a late departure to be the biggest luxury on a travel day.
    I would consider the departure time and concomitant wake up time.
    I note that LH and BA both have late departures to the USA, not sure how that helps considering your connections.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Donato but I actually don’t mind taking the flight during the day, actually prefer it. And I would rather avoid BA’s taxes and fees if I can.

  6. Thank you for the response regarding morning flights. Just wondering if you would be of the same opinion if your first flight was 9:30 AM with check in much earlier. Just wondering. I speak of experience, I used to take an 8:30 departure at FRA and checked in the night before. When I arrived at the gate they greeted me by name, travelling in economy. LOL, I was the last person boarding a 747.

    • Yeah that doesn’t bother me much. If it was 6 or 7 then that would be a different story. The AA flight is at 11ish so it is actually perfect for me. Sleep decent and still fly during normal awake hours so I am not trying to sleep sitting up 🙂

  7. I flew Lufthansa cheap seats to Prague a couple weeks ago using United miles and a $50 close-in fee was charged to each ticket even though it was booked over three weeks out. I believe this is United passing along Lufthansa’s fee but I have no experience with Lufthansa so maybe someone else knows more. As for the return flight, I ended up booking that AA flight to PHL using Alaska miles.

      • Suprisingly, the American flight was better in almost every way (except one important one). The food and entertainment options in particular were much better on American. On the other hand, Lufthansa arrived on time and American was two hours late.

  8. Can I get you close at least? Iberia is quoting 17K + $165.21 to Chicago for Off-Peak and 24.5K +$165.21 for Peak on BA metal. You can still use the 40% MR bonus that way. Just a thought.

  9. I do not see a date of your intended travel back to the USA. However, there’s lot of United J availability (55K Aeroplan & low taxes) from FRA, MUC, BRU and CDG. If the date and time work out, you can do PRG-FRA/MUC/BRU/CDG-ORD. If not, simply take a cheap economy to any of the 4 cities and do the FRA/MUC/BRU/CDG-ORD.

    • That is a great option CSK but I don’t really want to have 2 stops on the way home. I will keep it in mind when I hit up FRA in the future.

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