$540 fuel surcharges for a simple transatlantic award?

I need to go to Geneva in a couple of months for a wedding, and figured I’d use miles for my ticket (as I always do for international travel).  I was surprised by how much business class award space I found through the Star Alliance, so decided on using British Midland miles, given that they charge around 68,000 miles for a business class roundtrip award to Europe.  Now I knew they charge fuel surcharges on award tickets, which is usually $200-300 roundtrip, plus the taxes. I was shocked to see this as the fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees for a simple New York to Geneva roundtrip on Continental:

So if my math is right, my “reward” ticket would cost me about $620.

Yes, fuel is especially expensive right now, though this is an alarming trend in the industry. When fuel prices go up, the airlines raise fuel surcharges. The problem is, they rarely bring them back down when fuel prices go down. Then when prices go up again, they raise the fuel surcharges, using the previously high surcharges as the baseline.

It’s also worth noting that this award isn’t even to the UK, because if it were, that would tack on another $200 in premium cabin taxes.

Or maybe I should book the award through United, as they don’t pass on the fuel surcharges to consumers on award tickets (as it should be).


  1. I think you answered your own question – cancel the reservation on CO & book it on United; or US Airways (assuming you have miles with them).

  2. My guess is surely some of those juicy A fares a year-plus back had to be credited to BD…

    Me, I’ve long credited what little paid premium-cabin travel I’ve done over to BD. And they’re my standard Hilton double dip partner as well (1000 miles per night up to 3000 per stay) and they used to be the regular Hertz partner (1750 per rental) until that relationship ended.

    Can’t you find any award space on US?

  3. FWIW, I would not use miles to fly on CO on this route on the Boeing 762… It has the old C seats and those seats are awful… If you can, try and get LX JFK-GVA…

    Just my opinion….

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