Official statement from American regarding the fuel surcharges on award tickets

And regarding the fuel surcharges on AAdvantage redemptions, here’s the official statement:

Last night, in a routine effort to better align American to industry standards with other global carriers, American began collecting carrier-imposed surcharges on tickets for travel on other carrier’s metal.  This change was intended for revenue tickets only, but the surcharge was erroneously added to AAdvantage award redemptions on other airlines as well.  Except in the cases of British Airways and Iberia (where American currently collects these surcharges), no carrier-imposed surcharges will be applied when redeeming AAdvantage miles for award travel on other carriers.  Any customers who encountered this fee in error will be fully refunded.

Whew! I’m thrilled about this, and at this point what’s done is done. But my gosh, what an epic communication failure that memo was, since even American was confirming on Twitter it was true.


  1. Whew indeed. Lucky, Are you buying their excuse? Seems shaky that they’d issue a memo to CSRs and then say it was an IT glitch. But I won’t argue as long as it stays YQ free.

  2. @ Sam Simon — To be honest I don’t know what to believe. Memo seemed pretty clear and American was even confirming on Twitter that this applied to award tickets. I’m guessing it was a GIANT miscommunication, though perhaps there’s a tiny chance they reversed their decision when they saw the backlash? Who knows…

  3. So Ben, is your Malaysian award flight now pricing correctly, or does it still include fuel charges?

  4. The last line of the memo always said it excluded AAdvantage itineraries per what the agent read to me.

  5. So what was the exact working of the memo that sparked this outcry? Did it make any mention of award tickets?

  6. Clearly a walk-back

    Does anyone actually believe they sent a memo to their agents to tell people that they’re starting to collect YQ on revenue tickets and it was just a miscommunication?

  7. I’m wondering if this was a signal to other US carriers that AA is OK with adding YQ to award tickets in the future. If we see additional YQ “mistakes” from other carriers it might be an indication that YQ awards are on the way.

  8. Please don’t be so naïve!!!! No way AA reversed their decision when they saw the backlash. Why would they care??? What other options AA flyers would have? Delta? United? They all have something bad. We all know airlines control our destiny and they do not care since we have no option other than abide to their decision and suck it up. I hate Delta but I live on one of their hubs. What options do I have? Fly another airline and add a connection to almost everywhere I go? Thus, in my opinion AA for sure saw the backlash but did not change their mind just because couple people on BoardingArea and FlyerTalk got mad with them. They are “for profit” corporation so they will try to squeeze anything they can from its customers to make money.

  9. Even if AA were inclined to reverse the decision based on customer backlash, to think that a company would reverse what would have been a decesion in the works for some time, within 18 hours of its release, is nonsensical. There would not have been enough time for customer reaction to be gathered, analized and reported to the proper decision makers. However hard it is to understand, AA’s explanation is plausible.

  10. Now that everyone had a few minutes to think about how negative such a move to add YQ would be, what will you do differently in the future when it comes to accruing miles. We were given a reprieve, but like many others I believe there has to be a significant devaluation coming. It has become way to easy to accrue miles and there are way to many blogs exposing more and more people to the tricks every day. Or is a moderate fee good, because it will push some out of the game and free up award seats that in Biz and 1st are still relative steals?

  11. @Santastico

    “Why would they care??? What other options AA flyers would have?”

    They have many other options. 4 of their 5 hubs also have United hubs or one relatively nearby. Only Miami AA flyers are really hub-captive to AA.

    They have much less flexibility in screwing over their flyers than Delta, who have a much greater percentage of frequent travelers being hub captive (ATL, MSP, CVG, SLC, DTW etc.)

  12. I just called AA to make a dummy award booking on a MH flight – sure enough, they are STILL collecting fuel surcharges. So if it is an IT glitch, why have the EXP agents / rate desk supervisors not been informed yet?

    Having said that, there is NO DOUBT in my mind that bloggers gloating about C/F awards and fancy hotels (which they could never afford, sans miles/points) have hastened the demise of these reward programs.

  13. Phew! Now that we settled that, bring on the next edition of the trip report. (Silver Kris lounge in Bangkok…) Need pictures of buffet food ASAP. 😉

  14. @Schrott – Could not agree more. Bloggers do a great favor in keeping us informed about great deals, etc… but at the same time I agree that they do a disfavor since airlines and hotels follow them to see where they are taking advantage and close those loopholes asap. Or do you think SIN, AF, BA, etc.. like bloggers bragging about the great experience they had in their $15K equivalent first class seat that they took for free? Ando some bloggers (not Lucky) not only take advantage of mistakes from the airlines, fly on F for free using few miles and then hammer their product and try to get compensation for broken seat, bad food, etc… Write that down: next huge devaluation will be on Hyatt. Or do you think they are happy to see bloggers bragging they got a $1,200 room in a Park Hyatt for mere 22,000 points which are fairly easy to get with credit card redemption. Those glory days will be gone soon.

  15. @Shaffik @Schrott

    I don’t agree. Airlines are getting enormous publicity from said bloggers. Most of those F seats they can’t sell anyways. That’s why we are seeing F disappearing in more and more planes. They would not be making them available for redemption if they were too valuable to them. It is all fully calculated. Devaluations happen mostly due to inflation aka rising costs not because of someone bragging. In a good economy you will also see less award availability because people are actually buying the seats/rooms.

  16. instead of blaming bloggers like lucky… why don’t you heroes try to find loopholes on a daily basis, instead of trawling through flyertalk… same application…

    why are you even here in the first place…

    I think lucky does a general service to the general public… it’s not like EVERYONE here is flying every single day anyway

  17. AA still hasn’t given an explanation of what the intended changes actually were. Until they do, it just sounds like their note is a cover-up. Is there any word yet on this?

  18. So far, all of my info requests to the AA twitter have avoided answering this question. They just apologize for the award mistake without answering what the actual new collected fees are.

  19. Maybe this memo that was release yesterday, was supposed to be released once the merger finalizes. But the memo is valid.

  20. Just try to change my award ticket from LAS-HNL-KIX-TPE to LAS-HNL-KIX-HKG-TPE a moment ago, it is a valid routing but taxes go up from $35 to $298. So is AA changing its mind again?

  21. @ Adrian — That definitely doesn’t sound right. Did you ask them to have rates give you a breakdown of the taxes?

  22. Just write to AA to follow up with the tax situation… I got an email and here is the official text:

    “Effective August 27, Cathay Pacific Airlines assesses this carrier imposed charge for travel on Cathay for all customers. This includes customers traveling on AAdvantage® award tickets. We are required to collect this charge for any tickets purchased or changed/reissued after August 27.”

    If you want the full email, I am more than happy to forward it to you. Just drop me an email!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *