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).