Delta introduces fuel surcharges on awards

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?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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