Question: Will I pay different taxes on one way vs multi city flights?
Our question of the week: will I pay different taxes on one way vs multi city flights? In our question of the week, we look at whether booking flights separately or together will be cheaper.
Our question of the week comes from Jen in our Facebook group.
Jen asked a long question with dates and itineraries, but the gist of her question is this:
If I buy separate 1-way tickets, will I pay less taxes & fees on a one way vs multi city award booking?
Taxes & Fees On One Way Vs Multi City Flights
With that as a background, are there advantages to booking a one way vs multi city award ticket? Could you save money on the cash portion of your ticket? Let’s look at a theoretical booking to find out.
Separate One-Way Bookings
Using United, since they don’t add extra fees, we can see the required taxes on an award flight. First, we’ll try making separate one-way bookings for a flight over the ocean to Europe. We’ll then return from a separate city, so we’ll have a 1-way home from a different city.
On the outbound flight, we will pay only the mandatory $5.60 in government taxes.
If we return home from a different city, we see the applicable taxes. These fees & taxes total $126.55.
What if we take the above flights and make a multi-city booking? Will we pay more or less in taxes & fees?
The cash portion of the ticket is exactly the same. $5.60 + $126.55 for the separate one-way bookings above adds up to $132.15. That’s the same number we see on the multi-city award.
Just for the sake of comparison, here is a round-trip booking. If we make a round-trip booking to Rome (the outbound flight in our example above), it further demonstrates that cash portions of tickets don’t change.
The cash portion on our outbound flight was $5.60. The return flight shows $64.25. A round-trip ticket has $69.85 as the cash portion. The numbers are the same either way.
It would be nice if you could save money with one type of booking over another. Booking one way vs multi city won’t change the taxes & fees you’ll pay. The only way to affect the cash price on your award ticket is routing. Taking direct flights or avoiding countries with higher fees (looking at you, England!) for your connections can reduce the cash price on your award ticket.