US Airways Starting To Impose Fuel Surcharges On British Airways

Last week I posted about how US Airways isn’t imposing fuel surcharges on British Airways award tickets issued through Dividend Miles.

British Airways 747 London Heathrow

Back in March, US Airways announced that they would be imposing fuel surcharges for travel on British Airways and Iberia, though in practice they haven’t been imposing those since joining oneworld, which has led to some great opportunities, like my US Airways award to Australia via Europe and the Middle East.

I’m sure this is something that has been on US Airways’ “to do” list since joining oneworld, though given the merger it wasn’t very high up that list. However, once it was widely publicized and lots of people were taking advantage of it, obviously it went higher on their “to do” list.

A memo was sent out to US Airways agents today informing them of these fuel surcharges on British Airways. As is the case with most memos in the history of the world, only very few people read them.

As it stands, US Airways’ computers aren’t automatically adding the fuel surcharges to award reservations. That being said, most agents at the rates desk are:

  • If you have a complex itinerary that the rates desk needs to price, chances are they will add the fuel surcharges
  • If the agent actually read the memo, they may check with the rates desk to confirm the fees are correct, in which case the fuel surcharges may very well be added

If you do want to issue a US Airways award for travel on British Airways and want to avoid the fuel surcharges, you’ll want to do so as soon as possible.

Since the computers aren’t yet automatically adding fuel surcharges, it comes down to individual agents to enforce them. So as it the case with most things in life, if they try to add them you’ll want to hang up and call again. Similarly, keep in mind that taxes/fees are calculated at the time of ticketing, so holding a ticket in and of itself won’t be enough to “lock” in the lack of fuel surcharges — you’ll want to issue the ticket.

So in most cases I would say it’s still possible to issue US Airways awards for travel on British Airways without fuel surcharges, given that it’s up to humans to enforce the fuel surcharges. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if US Airways’ computers were soon updated to automatically add them.

I’ve gotta say, it lasted longer than I expected after being widely publicized last week.

Please share your experience booking British Airways award tickets issued through US Airways Dividend Miles below!


  1. Considering how mediocre the reviews are and the severe lack of availability, this doesn’t upset me in the least

  2. I had an F award on hold, but couldn’t get myself to ticket it — even without the fuel charges. BA F is entirely mediocre. The new F hardware is very nice, but both the ground experience and the soft product on board (including the most apathetic crews) leave a lot to be desired.

  3. Do you know whether BA is charging fuel surcharges for award flights on US Airways metal?

  4. @ Joey — Nope, since US Airways doesn’t impose fuel surcharges for revenue tickets, British Airways doesn’t impose them on awards either.

  5. @ Ben — F&^%. This makes adjusting for the QF schedules changes nearly impossible since they haven’t been loaded by US yet. Oh well, at least I won’t have any misconnects (at least I don’t think).

  6. Ben.

    I currently have on hold LAX-LHR on BA F (388), continuing onto MEL on QF F (388) using Dividend Miles. Agent was unable to book return MEL-LHR, despite AA (& BA) showing the flight available in F from MEL to LHR. The individual segments in and out of DXB show 0 availability, but LHR-MEL has 1 available. As this is routing is similar to what you just booked, do you have any idea why the agent can’t book MEL-LHR?

  7. @ Mr_Tudball — Did you try hanging up and calling again? I would try doing that a few times — it solves 90% of issues at US Airways.

  8. @ Gene — For what it’s worth, in theory they shouldn’t charge difference in fuel surcharges if making an involuntary change due to schedule.

  9. Mr. Tudball, I had the same issue. Told her it showed on the AA site as MileSaaver. She escalated to the rate desk and they found it.

  10. Yahoo! I’m glad I booked my BA F ticket last night!

    Toronto > London BA F
    London > Hong Kong BA F (A380)
    Hong Kong > Tokyo CX F
    Tokyo > London BA F
    London > Toronto BA F

    Total paid was $194!

  11. Bloggers are greedy.

    Bloggers are dishonest.

    Bloggers are not your friend.

    Bloggers ruin everything.

  12. Was just quoted $1565.30 for 2 people …

    Award held, will call back later and try 🙁

  13. Oh … and the computer definitely priced this out to her; she was shocked to see such a high number and said usually its less than $100 total.

  14. Lucky and Ben,
    Thanks for the suggestions. Tried HUCA 3x and escalating, but they still don’t see what AA shows as available. Maybe I should try to get on SYD-DFW new 388 and make it RTW.

  15. Lucky, I just spend well over an hour trying to book a similar routing to yours. Unfortunately she had to go back to the rate desk multiple times, and in the end they came up with $691 per ticket in taxes and fuel. She explained that they just got a memo stating the BA charges. I went ahead and held it, does the HUCA apply if it’s held or do I need to actually start from scratch building the itinerary each time?

  16. @ Ted — It depends how it’s stored. Chances are it’s stored correctly and they’ll see that, but if you make a change to the itinerary it might be repriced and they’ll have to go back to the rates desk. So really does depend. Good luck!

  17. @Ted the agent I spoke with said she wasn’t storing mine and that when I called back to ticket to have them price it again … “because it just didn’t seem right”

  18. so let’s get this straight: when the bloggers reveal a great opportunity, they’ve spoiled it for everyone, yet when they don’t reveal a great opportunity, they’re a bunch of selfish narcissists disloyal to their readers?

    just checking

  19. @ Lucky – my first thought when I got an email with this post was, “How much hate mail is Ben going to get now?”

    Good luck to everyone!

  20. Come on, most of us including you could easily afford this. The question is not affordability, but rather if we’d wish to blow $20k on a flight. For you, though the readership and buzz is certainly worth something.

  21. There is still hope. I had a “complicated” ticket: JFK-LHR-DXB-HKG // HKG-DXB(stop)-LHR-JFK in BA F (x2), QF F (x2), and CX J(x2), and it had to go through rates desk. LUCKYily, total taxes came out to be $198 p/p. Wahoo!

  22. This article disgusts me to the core. Do you realize you’re advocating for people to take advantage of a poor airline? After all they’ve done for you and the massive affiliate revenue you reaped and the immoral ways you used all those credit cards. Those are blood miles. How unclassy you are. Your parents must be Fascists.

    (sorry, couldn’t resist. A little entertainment for all)

  23. I actually didn’t know about TPG’s post. I only got the info from your blog and I’m grateful for it. I was able to book LAX-JFK-LHR-DUS-LHR-DXB-HKG-PEK-NRT-LAX all for $231 and 125k USDM.

    AA, BA, QF, and JL in F.
    BA, and CX in J.

    I have a stopover in DUS and HKG and my final destination of PEK. It should have been $120k miles but somehow she let me do HKG as a second stopover so I wasn’t about to get greedy.

    No hate mail here. Thanks man!

  24. Just booked SFO-LHR-DXB-SYD-HKG-SFO all in First.

    There is surcharge of ~$550, the agent told me that they have to do manual ticketing for everything now that they’ve joined One-World, and as of today their ticketing department is adding fuel surcharge for flights through London. Interestingly they actually have to price this out as a revenue ticket, and charge the taxes manually based on what they see. This might be why they weren’t imposing fuel charges earlier, it’s actually more work for them to do this.

    On the positive side, she told me that my ticket would have cost ~$45k. So not feeling too bad about $500.

  25. Missed the fuel surcharge on BA by 1 day! $700 extra for JFK-LHR-FRA with stopover in LHR with BA F. Tried to avoid LHR and BA by booking Iberia to JFK-MAD-FRA and given even higher surcharge of $720. Is this right or should I try and call again?


  26. Just issued an award ticket last night:

    Taipei > Narita CX F
    Narita > Frankfurt JL F
    Frankfurt > London BA C
    London > Beijing BA F

    Total Taxes and Fees: USD$833.62!

    However, several US agents told me that they can not pull-up any JL/QR/MH flights from system in the past few days. I worked with 8 agents for more than 3 days and finally got my JL F seats yesterday…

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