My sister Carol and her family were heading up to Erie from Florida to spend a long weekend with my dad, who moved to Erie a couple of years ago. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to visit too, because I hadn't seen my niece and nephew in a month. It's always fun to get a family together. The only problem was that plane tickets to Erie cost over $450 (ouch!). Of course, I used the search engines on JohnnyJet.com and found alternate airports like Cleveland (112 miles away) for $262, or Buffalo (105 miles away) or Pittsburgh (134 miles) for nearly the same low price. But who wants to drive �- especially in the snow. And after renting a car, the money saved will be negligible.
I decided my best option was to cash in some Delta SkyMiles. Their website was easy to use, and the dates for award travel were available. I even found out that for the same amount of miles (25,000) I could fly into Erie and out of Toronto. That's where I tape travel segments on Tech TV (links to my recent segments can be found under "web resources"). Because I would be so close (200 miles), I should take care of some business too, eh? For my LAX-ERI and YYZ-LAX flights Delta charged me � in addition to the 25,000 miles -- $64! I was expecting to pay around $10 for taxes and fees, not a $50 Award Ticket Redemption Fee. The booking fee is a total rip, penalizing passengers who book 14 days in advance or less. The airlines should be happy that passengers are booking award tickets not far ahead � it gives them more time to sell the seat. The fee is just another money maker for the airlines, because it certainly doesn't cost them any more money to put an electronic ticket together. For more click HERE.