One of the strategies I used last September to fulfill an AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite challenge was booking nested tickets for lower priced multiple trips to Europe from the USA. Today’s fare sale across the USA to Europe, with all three major alliances Oneworld, Skyteam and Star Alliance, is one of these opportunities to book two trips to Europe with nested tickets and get a lower overall fare than buying two round trip tickets to Europe starting from the USA. This is possible today due to round trip airfare from USA to Europe around $500 to $700 while Austria and Germany to USA are priced $400 to $500.
This means two trips to Europe with nested tickets might cost $900 to $1,200 compared to $1,000 to $1,400 from the USA. Travel with more than one passenger on the itinerary and that $100 to $200 savings per ticket is multiplied to $200-$400 for two, $300 to $600 for three and $400 to $800 for a family or group of four passengers.
This opportunity is one that happens to be available today for a limited time until one of these fare sales ceases. I have not even looked at possibilities at the time of starting this article. I think I can find an example in the next 15 minutes to show a good savings with nested tickets for flyers in Chicago.
My general observations are nested tickets offer the most savings for west coast flyers since low ticket prices to any place in Europe occur with far greater frequency from Boston, New York, Washington and Miami, where there are an abundance of airlines flying Europe routes. For example, SAS had a fare sale last week with tickets from Miami to Scandinavia for $418 round trip from September to March 2017.
Loyalty Traveler – SAS Miami to Scandinavia $418 Sep-Mar 2017 (May 23)
The problem with those SAS fares for me were the limitations of Miami as the only low fare airport in the USA. Fine if you are within $100 flights of Miami, but not too good for a west coast person.
Today’s fare war sales from Germany and Austria to Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco and a widespread sale from the USA to Europe for fall/winter travel make the conditions right for finding low fare nested tickets, if you want two or more trips to Europe from the USA over the next 10 months. This article is focused on nested tickets as a cost savings ticketing strategy. I do not show frequent flyer miles for sample tickets in this post.
Nested Tickets Chicago to Amsterdam and Vienna
Today I found low fares on LOT from Chicago to Amsterdam for $517 round trip. (I know most readers are probably thinking Warsaw? I don’t want to fly to Amsterdam via Warsaw! My personal travels have me spending a week in Poland in July. My attitude to Eastern Europe positively changed after Kelley and I spent a week in Lithuania last month).
I will use LOT Chicago to Amsterdam $517 ticket as my USA-Europe example for the outbound flight as one of the nested tickets. Do not get hung up on my selected dates or itineraries. I am searching from scratch for an example that works and not seeking an optimum itinerary, which I would search incessantly, before booking a ticket for myself. (I did that yesterday before booking my Salzburg-Los Angeles-Vienna American Airlines $493 ticket yesterday for Sep-Dec travel.)
Quick search shows it is possible to fly Chicago to Amsterdam in October on LOT with a return in late January. I did not see a low $514 fare return after January.
LOT Polish Airlines Chicago ORD – Warsaw WAW – Amsterdam AMS
$513.86 October 21 – January 21, 2017
This itinerary does not require an overnight in Warsaw. 18 hour layovers are easy to find if you want to see Warsaw.
Nested Ticket Concept Chicago – Amsterdam ticket/ Vienna – Chicago ticket
Using LOT ticket example above for Chicago to Amsterdam I will create a nested ticket itinerary. The concept is I leave Chicago on October 21 and go to Amsterdam and hang out in Europe for as long as desired and then fly home on a completely different airline ticket after 5 days or 10 days or 20 days, or whatever length I desire. I will be back in Europe on another trip in two or three or more months on a second trip.
For this case study, I’ll take 10 day trips as an arbitrary trip length. Most of us have jobs that do not allow too flexible a schedule. (That is one of the primary reasons I chose to become self-employed ten years ago after 25 years in the employment labor force.)
Leave Chicago for Amsterdam on October 21 with LOT. Look for a round trip ticket with a flight departing somewhere in Europe on October 31 to Chicago with return flights on January 11, 2017. I also know there is a fare war still active today with low fares to Chicago from Germany and Austria.
Google Flights Vienna VIE – Chicago ORD October 31, 2016 – January 11, 2017
- $466 American (Lower $451 AA fare requires LGW-LHR transfer. No thanks.)
- $475 United
United Airlines ticket
Vienna – Brussels BRU (Austrian) – Chicago ORD (UA) – Amsterdam AMS (UA) – Vienna VIE (Austrian)
$474.26 Oct 31-Jan 11
This is an example of nested Star Alliance tickets with LOT Polish and United.
- October 21 Chicago to Amsterdam
- October 31 Vienna to Chicago
- January 11 Chicago to Vienna
- January 21 Amsterdam to Chicago
Logical question is how to get from Amsterdam to Vienna?
An abundance of cheap intra-Europe flights makes that easy and cheap. Europe has more people in a smaller space than USA and there are numerous low cost carriers operating routes between all the countries. All this low cost carrier competition in Europe means many low fares are also offered by alliance airlines, just as in USA.
Austrian Airlines Amsterdam AMS – Vienna VIE
$107.76 (96.83 EUR) Oct 30 – Jan 17
Nested Tickets Total Ticket Price
- Chicago to Amsterdam October 21-January 21 $514 (LOT Polish)
- Vienna to Chicago October 31-January 11 $474 (United)
- Amsterdam to Vienna October 30 – January 17 $108 (United for Austrian flights)
- Total for all three tickets $1,096
Two trips to Europe $1,100 Oct 22-31 (9 hotel nights) January 11-21 (9 hotel nights)
- Chicago to Amsterdam October 21 (8 hotel nights)
- Amsterdam to Vienna October 30 (1 hotel night)
- Vienna to Chicago October 31
- Chicago to Vienna January 11 (5 nights Vienna)
- Vienna to Amsterdam January 17 (4 nights Amsterdam)
- Amsterdam to Chicago January 21
This is two trips to Europe with a focus on Amsterdam and Vienna. There are many other low fare airports in the USA and Europe for potential nested ticket airports. There are also opportunities with Oneworld and SkyTeam Alliance programs.
Two nested tickets for Ticket 1: Chicago to Amsterdam $514 and Ticket 2: Vienna to Chicago $474 create a nested itinerary for two trips to Europe at $550 each.
These tickets are more expensive to book as USA originating tickets. The LOT ticket is still $514 round trip Oct 21-31, but the January 11-21 trip to Vienna at $722 on Turkish costs more with traditional ticketing.
Turkish Airlines $722 January 11-21, 2017
Nested tickets are $988 + $108 to travel between Amsterdam and Vienna for $1,096 total airfare. Two tickets starting in Chicago with LOT and Turkish is $1,236.
Nested Tickets: [ORD – AMS] + [VIE – ORD] + [AMS – VIE] = $1,096 in airfare.
Traditional Tickets: [ORD-AMS] + [ORD-VIE] = $1,236 in airfare.
Nested tickets save $140 per person.
This nested ticket example is only 11% savings in my first search. In my real travel last year from California, I saved about $1,000 on three tickets with the price of my ticket California to Copenhagen SNA-CPH $675 and two Bergen, Norway to San Francisco tickets at $760 for $1,435 on three trips to Europe. The two Bergen to San Francisco round trip tickets at less than $400 each would have been about $800 to fly SFO-BGO. I reduced my ticket price from $2,275 to $1,435 with nested tickets flying SNA to Copenhagen, then Norway to San Francisco on two trips and finishing the third trip to Europe with a flight back to California from Copenhagen on my initial ticket.
There are opportunities arising all the time with nested tickets for a variety of locations around the world. This is one potential nested ticketing example available today for passengers wanting to visit Europe two times by winter 2017. There are hundreds or more possibilities for itineraries using nested tickets with a USA to Europe sale and a Germany/Austria to USA sale happening across all alliances for travel in 2016 and early 2017.
Other Loyalty Traveler articles related to today’s fare sale
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Promotions Guide May 2016.