Avoid Fuel Surcharges When Using British Airways Avios: Choosing The Right Airline

Since British Airways tries to pass on fuel surcharges to those using points, your best option is to redeem your Avios (miles) on a partner who does not charge for fuel. This is a series about avoiding fuel surcharges when using BA Avios. This post will outline possible airlines to redeem on and what their fuel surcharges look like.

  • Introduction
  • Choosing the Right Airline
  • Stopovers to Save Fuel
  • Iberia and Aer Lingus to Europe

Here are some OneWorld Partners you might consider booking with instead of British Airways when using your Avios. Once again, I find routes by searching them on the OneWorld map then just searching for award tickets on British Airways (or searching on Qantas’ website).  This is great for knowing your options.

Also understand that US airports have really low taxes so departing from Miami is going to be a heck of a lot cheaper than departing from London.

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 8.55.03 AMLAN Airlines – One of the best redemptions for British Airways Avios is a flight on LAN and the best airline for covering South America. Some of the lowest international fees for Avios out of all the options. There is no fuel surcharge.

American Airlines – AA is a great option when redeeming award flights domestically,  to South America, the Pacific and Asia… Anywhere but Europe really (as for some reason BA will add on some fees). But it’s really not that bad.

  • For domestic routes it’s simply one of the best options. $2.50 or $5 for a flight is just the 9/11 security taxes. No fuel surcharge.
  • It is yet again a great option to South America, as MIA – SCL is only $2.50 and 25,000 Avios oneway. No fuel surcharge.
  • It’s still a decent option for flights to Asia. Dallas – Seoul is a 10 hour flight that costs $174. But it makes no sense as the same flight is $5 on

Cathay Pacific – Not only is Cathay just a better airline but it’s actually a reasonable way to get to Asia. LAX – HKG costs $147.50 and is a 15 hour flight. $147 is well worth First Class. So yes, they have higher than $5 surcharges but it’s just a great airline in any cabin.

Air Berlin – This is maybe the best option for avoiding fuel to Europe. For example, Miami to Berlin is 25,000 and $2.50! No fuel surcharge. For many people routing through Miami is not a problem as it’s an AA hub as well.

Aer Lingus – Another saver option in both cash and points for flights to Europe. Boston to Dublin is 25,000 Avios roundtrip with$146 in taxes. No fuel surcharge. We’ll talk about how to find these tickets later in the series.

Iberia – Based out of Madrid, Iberia has many routes to the US, thus an option to connect to Europe with no fuel surcharge. We’ll discuss how to book later as well.

British Airways is an option but the point of this series is to avoid fuel surcharges and they by far have the highest on this list. Qantas is based out of Sydney and easily has $400 in fuel surcharges for a flight. But if you need to get to Sydney it’s one of the only ways, but you can at least start from Hawaii. Japan Airlines is a convenient stopover but has very high fuel surcharges. LAX – NRT costs $323. Royal Jordanian is the same. Also, I have yet to try to book with Malaysia Airlines but will update when I find out. Let me know if you have tried or know the state of fuel surcharges when using Avios on Malaysia Airlines.

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  1. Also, Air Berlin has more destinations in North America than just Miami. They fly to Chicago, LA, New York City and more.

    • Yep, good point. There are many other examples in which you can use Avios to get to a few AA hubs and then fly Air Berlin the rest of the way. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I’m confused by the Qantas note there. They don’t operate any of the same routes as AA.

    • Oops, I had codeshare turned on when I checked the OneWorld map. Thanks.

  3. You mention “AA has two routes to Australia from LAX and DFW” but AA doesn’t fly to Australia at all. The LAX and DFW routes are operated by Qantas.

    • Oops, I though I corrected that. But apparently I just replied and never did. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Don’t forget that BA has the “BA Saver Reward” in Europe now, which makes them a very reasonable option for redemptions within Europe. 35GBP is a very reasonable fee for all taxes and charges and certain routes are particularly good value.

    • For sure. I did use a few intra-Europe Avios flights recently that saved some serious money. Like Paris to Vienna.

  5. BA charges YQ on MA flights.. But overall it’s not very high.. I booked my friend a DEL-KUL-MNL flights using Avios.. taxes came to about $54.85..

  6. I’m confused as to why when flying from Ecuador to the US on American metal, the British Airways avios taxes are almost twice as much as if you booked with American miles. For example:

    11/15/15 GYE->MIA 7:55am-12:24pm
    Booking with AA miles: 17,500k AA mi + $74.47 taxes pp
    Booking with Avios: 10k avios + $145.63 taxes pp

    Can you explain this? Is it fuel charges, and is there any way to avoid it?


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