I recently had my first experience booking an international award ticket with miles for my 8 month old son. While he’s already been on 17 flights including long-hauls to Hawaii, those were all domestic so he flew for free.
US carriers all charge 10% of the current fare for infants on international tickets.
While that’s not a big deal on a coach redemption, it is for our upcoming trip to Argentina. A ticket in First Class on AA would be 125K AA miles for my wife and I, and $900 (10% of the First Class fare) for little Rafi. Yup, $900 for the privilege of holding him in our laps for a 10 hour flight. And that’s a relatively inexpensive first class ticket.
So I started doing some more research. It turns out that many foreign carriers don’t charge as much to bring infants along. The catch-22 is that most foreign carriers charge fuel surcharges on award tickets that negate the savings of not paying for an infant.
I did come across 2 airlines in my research that have favorable infant ticket policies that don’t always charge fuel surcharges on award tickets.
British Airways doesn’t charge fuel surcharges for any flights that are wholly within the Western Hemisphere (only partners AA, Alaska, and LAN have such flights).
They charge 10% of the miles for an infant. So for a flight from JFK to Buenos Aires the cost of a round-trip ticket is 50K in coach, 100K in business, and 150K in first and the cost of an infant ticket bought at the same time as a coach ticket is 5K in coach, 10K in business, and 15K in first. No extra cash payment is due.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards into British Airways miles at a 1K:1K ratio and Starwood Starpoints into British Airways at a 20K:25K ratio.
Air Canada doesn’t charge fuel surcharges if you fly on the following partners: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Brussels, Continental, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAM, Turkish, United, and USAirways. They do charge a fuel surcharge on the following carriers: Adria, Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, and THAI.
They charge a flat fee for infants of $50 in coach, $100 in business, and $125 in first.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards into Air Canada Aeroplan at a 1K:1K ratio and Starwood Starpoints into Air Canada Aeroplan at a 20K:25K ratio.
What we wound up doing was booking 1 ticket using AA miles and 1 ticket and the infant ticket using British Airways miles, which saved us from the $900 fee for booking the infant ticket through AA. Of course we’re all traveling on the same exact flights on AA in first class, it just took a little extra coordination (holding the AA ticket, booking the British Airways ticket, and then booking the AA ticket) to get it done.
Want to start collecting points that give you the option of transferring points into those miles? Take a look at the DansDeals credit card page, accessible by clicking on the tab on top of the DansDeals site banner, for a list of my favorite credit cards.
Know of other airlines with favorable infant policies and flights without fuel surcharges? Hit the comments!