View from the Wing writes:
Now Delta has announced
we will add the following fuel surcharge to Award Tickets originating from the U.S. and Canada, effective August 15, 2008:
$25 for Award Travel between the 50 states and Canada
$50 for Award Travel between the 50 states/Canada and all international destinations
(They already have fuel surcharges ex-Europe.)
As my prediction suggests, I imagine others will eventually follow.
I know some might think I’m crazy for saying this, but I think this is a good thing. No, I hate to see new fees, but I’m relieved that it’s “only” a maximum of $50. Many (including me) have long been predicting award fuel surcharges for US carriers, and let me tell you, I’m damn relieved that it’s only $50!
Some may think $50 is a lot, but try redeeming with any non-US FFP. For example, a recent award from EWR-FRA-MLA-FRA-EWR cost $350 in fees, taxes, and surcharges, and that’s on the low side.
Now with Delta you’re still going to pay quite a bit for a partner award, since there’s a $50 fuel surcharge, $25 phone fee, and $25 bogus partner award fee, and that doesn’t even account for taxes, so you’re looking at paying $125-200 for an international award with Delta miles on a partner airline.
Does it suck? Yes. Could it be way worse? You betcha!
I think we’ll see other airlines follow, although I think they would have already instituted the other bogus fee (partner award fee), so I would expect it would just be a phone booking fee, fuel surcharge, and the taxes for other airlines, so you’re realistically looking more at $100-150 for an international award not involving LHR as a destination for any airline that follows DL’s lead.
So while fees suck, this is a bit of a relief, since I doubt anyone will outdo DL when it comes to this. Speaking of which, isn’t it a bit ironic that DL won’t charge for the first checked bag (which I gave them a lot of credit for, I think it’s great that they’re trying to differentiate their product and emerge as a premium airline), yet at the same time are the first to nickel and dime their most frequent travelers, usually the people that redeem miles often?