Round Trip vs. One Way Flights

Old Jul 27th, 2020, 05:37 AM
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Round Trip vs. One Way Flights

I have an airline credit card with points enough to book a flight from Oregon to Europe, but not enough for the round trip. Will booking that way be a problem? I'm an experienced traveler but have never used points for flights before. Thanks for you expertise in advance!
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Old Jul 27th, 2020, 06:06 AM
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It's all in the numbers. How much would the return one-way ticket cost, and would it be more than buying some additional miles for your mileage account? Most airline frequent flyer programs sell miles at between US$0.02 and $0.03 per mile, so if you're short, say, 15,000 miles, you could buy enough for $300 or $450 for the return, which MIGHT be cheaper than a stand-alone one-way ticket. A lot has to do with when, for how long, and where you're traveling to.
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Old Jul 27th, 2020, 06:39 AM
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Thanks, Gardyloo, for the very helpful response. I'm also concerned that having only a one-way ticket could cause problems when entering Ireland or UK.
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Old Jul 27th, 2020, 07:30 AM
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Why wouldn't you purchase the return ticket before travelling?

Immigration doesn't care if you have separate tickets, but they might care if you don't have one at all (I don't really know).

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Old Jul 27th, 2020, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by enewell View Post
Thanks, Gardyloo, for the very helpful response. I'm also concerned that having only a one-way ticket could cause problems when entering Ireland or UK.
You can just show them your other ticket, the one that has you leaving Ireland/EU. if they ask. Buy it before you go to Ireland and you won't have "only a one-way ticket".
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Old Jul 27th, 2020, 07:46 AM
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Assuming you will use a US passport, I recommend that you click on the Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements link on this webpage:
https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...s/Ireland.html

That page does mention a "return airline ticket", but that really means showing that you will be leaving (EU, I think) within 90 days. They don't care if you return to USA or go onward to Zambia, just that you leave.
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Old Jul 27th, 2020, 09:44 AM
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Some airlines will let you book the round trip, apply your points, and tell you the balance you must pay in cash. Then you have a round-trip ticket as if you had paid for the whole thing. If you can't run a test booking with your airline, get in touch with its points program and ask (I prefer to use a telephone when dealing with points).
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Old Jul 27th, 2020, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for all your answers! Very, very helpful.
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Old Jul 28th, 2020, 10:41 AM
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enewell, you brought back a really interesting memory for me: the questions they used to pose at immigration coming into a foreign country! Like do you have a return ticket, and how much money are you bringing in to the country. If memory serves, it was around the time the Schengen Agreement was implemented in around 1995 that they stopped acting these questions (even though Ireland and the UK opted out of the Agreement). Or maybe they stopped asking because I'm older now, who knows. Now they just ask me the purpose of the visit and where am I staying, not really caring about my response, it seems. The only other interaction I have with them is my request for a stamp in the passport, since everything is electronic these days.
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Old Jul 30th, 2020, 08:49 AM
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That reminds me of the 30+ minutes of questioning and bag search in 1994 when I was trying to LEAVE Israel on an El Al flight.
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Old Aug 8th, 2020, 08:37 PM
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Nearly every time I book a trip from San Francisco to any European hub, always using miles/points, I book the trip out the moment award tickets open up (often around 335 days before the flight), and then as soon as the dates for a return flight open up, then I book the return.

If they are on the same airline, they will often "connect" the two flights under one confirmation#. But if they don't, it hasn't been any issue. Sometimes I have enough points to fly out on one airline/alliance's award ticket but use another mileage program for the return.

In my younger naive days I would wait until I could book both but by then the outbound award tickets were always gone. I know some open up later but I usually need a sure thing for the return flight. Booking outbound and return separately solved the issue. Never had an immigration problem and never had to prove return flight.
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 12:03 PM
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What happens to my ticket when I book for round trip and then need to return before or after the date on the return trip?
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by queenypearls View Post
What happens to my ticket when I book for round trip and then need to return before or after the date on the return trip?
Probably pay a change fee and a difference in fare, if any. Check that cost vs buying a second one-way ticket.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2020, 06:56 AM
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I have never left for an international flight without either an onward flight (not necessarily a return) or a train ticket out of that country.

Did not get asked anything about that in 2018 however I did have an onward ticket.

If you think there is a reason they might be suspicious that you intend to stay, I would have that ticket in hand. The immigration officials often seem to spend more time questioning young travelers IME.

Last edited by mlgb; Aug 22nd, 2020 at 07:00 AM.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2020, 01:56 PM
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You book the round trip ticket and use miles for as much of the ticket they can pay for and the airline charges you for the rest, a RT ticket.
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