The well known downside of using British Airways Avios is their fuel surcharges, especially on flights to Europe. As I’ve said before, when redeeming miles British Airways will not only pass along the airport taxes (like all airlines), but also include fuel as a surcharge. This is a major problem because the fuel surcharges can be astronomical when you fly on British Airways itself (instead of redeeming for a partner flight). Yet, British Airways is one of the biggest airlines in the OneWorld alliance, maybe the biggest. A flight that would cost $30 using American Airline miles will run $300 or more using Avios. This will be a series on decreasing those astronomical fuel surcharges.
- Choosing the Right Airline
- Stopovers to Save Fuel
- Iberia and Aer Lingus to Europe
A few things to understand going into this:
It’s wrong. There are many things I do not understand about why BA prices things the way they do in terms of fuel. That’s putting it kindly. What I mean is: it’s complete crap. Fuel surcharges should be based on how much fuel you use – i.e. how long your flight is and is up to each airline. But two things:
- They charge the same fuel fee for a flight from Los Angeles to London as New York to London. $253. Dumb.
- When redeeming Avios, they charge the same amount on American Airlines for fuel as they do on British Airways. Dumb.
The second is dumb because it’s just not true! That isn’t the actual fuel cost. It’s a lie! It’s a fabricated number to get you to pay money when you’re redeeming your “hard earned” miles. (Hard earned = signing up for 100,000 Avios card). Because if you go to American Airlines and go to book a ticket, it will straight up tell you the fuel and taxes come out to 70-some dollars… but British Airways says it cost $252.20. So where do they get that number from?
Also, and this is very important, BritishAirways.com is not a perfect representation of OneWorld flights. They have many of the major airline flights but it’s not as complete as a service like expertflyer or just calling.
Airports fluctuate in fees. US Airports have extremely minor airport fees and taxes but many of our foreign friends are a little more taxing… literally. You may notice that London or Sydney airports charge $100+ even if you’re using AA miles… it’s the airport. You could take the train out of London to a cheaper airport (although many of it’s neighbors are equally expensive), but then you’re not really saving money. Perhaps I’ll talk about airport fees another time.
Last but not least, if you haven’t read my series on using stopovers to save Avios, you should. It will at least help with saving Avios and give a very full understanding of how their program works. This on the other hand will be a series on saving $$.