US Airways joined the oneworld alliance in late March, and one of the things I was most looking forward to about that was redeeming British Airways Avios for travel on US Airways without fuel surcharges.
When redeeming British Airways Avios, they impose whatever fuel surcharges the operating carrier would impose on a revenue ticket. US Airways has long embedded fuel surcharges on tickets, meaning that the ticket didn’t show any fuel surcharges (instead they were “built in” to the fare).
This meant that no fuel surcharges were collected on tickets booked using British Airways Avios. For example, a flight from Charlotte to Paris in US Airways Envoy Class would cost you 40,000 Avios plus $2.50 in taxes.
It appears as if that policy has now changed, and US Airways is no longer embedding fuel surcharges. Instead fuel surcharges now show as a separate “line” in the fare breakdown.
For example, pulling up a one-way business class ticket between Philadelphia and Paris, it displays a $428 fuel surcharge, which wasn’t previously the case.
As you might expect, these fuel surcharges are now being levied when redeeming British Airways Avios. Pulling up the same one-way flight as above, you’re now going to pay 40,000 Avios plus $452.50 in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.
It goes without saying that this sucks, though at the same time it’s hardly surprising. My guess is that American and US Airways are simply aligning the way they publish fares, and in this case US Airways is adopting the industry standard, as they were the outlier with their embedded fuel surcharges.
There are still ways to redeem British Airways Avios without fuel surcharges
Just to clarify on the above, there still aren’t any fuel surcharges when redeeming Avios for domestic US Airways tickets, as there aren’t any fuel surcharges on domestic revenue tickets.
In terms of other transatlantic options without fuel surcharges, you can still redeem British Airways Avios for:
- Aer Lingus, which can be an especially good value between Boston and Dublin, as the one-way cost is just 12,500 Avios in economy or 25,000 Avios in business class (since British Airways has a distance based award chart, and the flight is just under 3,000 miles each way)
- Airberlin, which serves quite a few destinations in the US and has a solid business class product
There’s no doubt this is a huge hit to the value of redeeming British Airways Avios for transatlantic travel. While US Airways’ soft product isn’t amazing, they have a really solid business class hard product, which is the single most important feature for transatlantic business class, in my opinion.
(Tip of the hat to DansDeals)