Europe 23/24

That airfare does not include bags and is not direct - requires flying through Washington-Dulles or Toronto.
For GVA that's correct about the least expensive fare requiring a layover, which I refuse to do out of principle when flying to one of the Alps major gateways. For ZRH, that fare is on nonstops, see below.

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I pulled the trigger on $506. After looking at my annual recap lists, it's the first time since my Ischgl trip a decade ago that I've paid cash to go across the ocean. What is this world coming to?
:icon-sad:

I'm still expecting an award sale. Based on the extent of the discount, I'll decide whether to cancel my cash fare, rebook to GVA, and save it as a travel credit for my twice-yearly flights to Denver.
 
Those are proportionate cuts, cash still preferred.
Of course, 56K is still too high for Europe. My point is that they're likely to continue dropping.

We'll have to agree to disagree on the point where cash is better than miles. It's contingent on one's miles war chest, how often one dips into said war chest (and whether that's for one person, a couple, or a couple with kids), and the amount of discretionary income ($600 to one person can be different from $600 to another person).
 
I know it’s relative but the equivalent of $1000 Aud to Europe sounds a good deal to me. Flights to Christchurch or Queenstown from Brisbane are about $900. That’s a 3 hour flight.
Strangely it’s only about $2100 for the 24 hour flight to Milan/Zurich/Geneva/Munich/Paris.
It’s even more to fly the 13 hours across the Pacific.
 
Of course, 56K is still too high for Europe. My point is that they're likely to continue dropping.
Delta cut the cash price we paid from $738 to $689, and also offers LAX-GVA for 50K + $145. The miles were cut more, but not yet a good value.

I knew I shouldn't have paid attention to the doomsayers
A fair question, so I decided to look up my past purchases for January Euro ski trips.
On 10/24/2016 I paid $943.
On 10/31/2017 I paid 65K miles + $89. This strongly implies cash price was over $1,000
In the above context the situation has improved since then.
On 8/14/2018 I paid $566
On 9/17/2022 I paid 34k miles + $61. We had to select two-stopper itineraries to get that mileage deal.
On 10/21/2023 I paid $738.
Given that my two best deals were purchased in August and September, you can see why I might be skeptical waiting into November.

We have also taken two spring ski trips to Europe in 2018 and 2022. The 2022 trip would have been about $1,200, so we used 70K miles for that. 2018 returned via Iceland to Portland, then Southwest home.

Every year can be different, and I'm sure the airlines' dynamic pricing algorithms get more refined. But I'm curious if James has seen prices for January travel continue declining into November before.
 
I'm curious if James has seen prices for January travel continue declining into November before.
I usually stop checking cash fares after using an award; however, it makes sense that the algo continues reducing fares (within reason) to fill the plane as much as possible during the slow season. That may work differently in markets without nonstops. Before COVID, planes to Europe often flew 2/3 full during winter.
 
it makes sense that the algo continues reducing fares (within reason) to fill the plane as much as possible during the slow season.
I'm guessing they will reduce the fares until they get to something like 85-90% full. I'm sure they want a few seats in reserve to sell expensively to last minute travelers. We also don't know to what extent there is overbooking in anticipation of no shows and cancellations. I suspect the algorithms have improved in this area as I don't seem to hear the last minute offers to give up seats as often recently.
Before COVID, planes to Europe often flew 2/3 full during winter.
My small sample size shows a much tighter market reflected in pricing during the winters of 2017 and 2018.
 
I suspect the algorithms have improved in this area as I don't seem to hear the last minute offers to give up seats as often recently.
That's been my experience as well. I can't recall the last time I watched an airline do a gate-side auction to open up seats on an overbooked flight.
 
This company Whiterisk.ch reports all the Swiss snowfall data. It looks like I accessed it without an account.

Snowfall last 7 days looks like 1-1.25 meters in many places. (Zermatt - 1.36m)

Measured Values Map

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Snow Map

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And current Snow Depth - note the map key changes. But parts of western Switzerland are reporting up to a nearly 2 meter/80 inch snow base before mid November. I am sure France is the same.

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Good to see that rental cars are still a deal at GVA: $260/week. And yes, I made sure that the pickup/return is on the Swiss side.
 
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Good to see that rental cars are still a deal at GVA: $260/week. And yes, I made sure that the pickup/return is on the Swiss side.

Last year I was able to rent a new BMW SUV for $250/Week from Milan.

I think that would be the equivalent of 2-3 days of SUV rental from Denver during winter.
 
Good thing the Alps are getting this pattern out of the way…..

Here

On Friday, I already wrote about this weather setting much like last season’s infamous Christmas thaw period. In the north-western Alps, precipitation falls to high altitudes in liquid form. Last night and this morning, the snowline here is temporarily around 3,000 metres altitude. From tomorrow, it fortunately cools down again and we can expect two more snow phases.
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I think that would be the equivalent of 2-3 days of SUV rental from Denver during winter.
Exactly. The difference in rental car prices between Europe and the U.S. is often shocking. My longstanding SOP with Denver is to wait to book until a week before arrival, at which point prices decrease dramatically.
 
But a lot of skiing is already open. Most of the Austrian glacier resorts are 50-66% open. Impressive since there is no Euro equivalent of American Thanksgiving that could drive demand to the mountains - serving as a deadline to open terrain.

Solden

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Exactly. The difference in rental car prices between Europe and the U.S. is often shocking. My longstanding SOP with Denver is to wait to book until a week before arrival, at which point prices decrease dramatically.

SLC is not great either.

The best 'ski gateway' airport is usually Spokane for car rentals - especially SUVs in the winter.
 
The best 'ski gateway' airport is usually Spokane for car rentals - especially SUVs in the winter.
Agreed, and as I've noted, it's one of very few U.S. airports that doesn't charge for luggage carts. It's only $5 or $6 but something about having to pay for one really annoys me. At Newark, I walk 30 yards out to the curb and grab one.
:icon-lol:
 
What site do you all go to for Euro car rentals? And how do you handle the insurance part of it? Buy one of the yearly ‘insurance for car hire’ policies?
 
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