Aeroplan Adjusts Fuel Surcharges Again

Yesterday Aeroplan began adding fuel surcharges on several airline partner awards. Previously they had been adding those charges only to awards on Air Canada flights.

Now they’ve dialed it back a bit, and are adding fuel surcharges only on Air Canada and Lufthansa flights.

Awards on All Nippon, Asiana, and Thai are pricing out without fuel surcharges.

Aeroplan has not made any statements about their intentions beyond that they are adding the charges to awards booked on Air Canada and Lufthansa — nothing about whether other airlines will be added in the future, or when. But they seem to suggest that fuel surcharges on other carriers may be coming down the pike.

Effective November 9th 2011 at 7pm, Aeroplan began applying, at Air Canada’s request, fuel surcharges to flight rewards on Lufthansa. Members making voluntary changes after the effective date to existing bookings with Lufthansa flight segments will also be subject to the fuel surcharges.

With the increasing cost of fuel, many airlines have started charging fuel surcharges on redemption tickets. All fuel surcharge amounts applied by Aeroplan are passed through to the ticketing carrier for settlement. Fuel surcharge amounts are based on the operating airline’s application of surcharges and may change from time to time. Aeroplan has applied fuel surcharges for flight rewards on Air Canada since 2004. The fuel surcharge amounts to be applied by Aeroplan for flights on Lufthansa will be the same as those applied by Lufthansa within its own frequent flyer program. Other Star Alliance member airlines will be added as applicable.

The key takeaways are bolded in the quote above by me.

  • If you have an existing award booked with Lufthansa segments, and you make voluntary changes to that award and continue to have Lufthansa segments, you will be assessed the fuel surcharges.

  • Aeroplan doesn’t keep the money, the funds are passed “to the ticketing carrier for settlement.” Of course, the ticketing carrier is Air Canada. I suspect they’ve included this statement to purposefully obfuscate, it makes it sound like no one involved is keeping the money, it’s forced upon them by other partner airlines (or was it Hezbollah?), which is a bit of a stetch.

  • Other star alliance partner awards “will be added as applicable” which simply means they’ll add fuel surcharges to awards on other partners at such time as they choose to. I love the phrasing, “as applicable.”

For now, one simply wants to avoid Air Canada and Lufthansa metal. Although avoiding Lufthansa for transatlantic flying on awards when booking with a Star Alliance program isn’t always easy…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Gary, do you have any insight what’s going on here? They are making it sound like LH is forcing their hand in this. It’s hard to believe UA/CO/US are eating $500 on each award ticket they issue on LH.

  2. “Although avoiding Lufthansa for transatlantic flying on awards when booking with a Star Alliance program isn’t always easy…”

    or desirable…

    It won’t be long until ALL airlines add fuel surcharges on ALL awards.

  3. @JA they’re trying to make it sound like Lufthansa is forcing them to do this but that strikes me as totally disingenuous. I just wish they’d be honest “hey, it’s a common thing for airlines to do, most European and Asian programs do it, Delta does it on lots of awards and American Airlines does it with BA. It’s an industry standard and we’re not dummies, who else ya gonna collect miles with if you’re Canadian and Amex cardholders no longer have Continental…..”

  4. Gary, if you make a voluntary change to an award (mini-RTW)are fuel surcharges for LH assessed if you leave existing segments on LH the same and only change other non-LH segments? Thanks.

  5. AC has a right to run it’s business as it sees fit, I suppose. They posted a small Q3 loss (but beat the street) last week, maybe they think this extra cash will help fill the gap. They certainly wouldn’t be the first airline to charge for fuel on awards, and we all know they won’t be the last.

    However, implementing surcharges with no notice, and then pretending like they were forced into it, is utterly insulting.

  6. Remember that Aeroplan is a completely separate company, not owned at all by Air Canada (although they obviously have a close business relationship). To me it sounds like Air Canada does not like people booking non-AC flights to avoid the fuel surcharge, so they put pressure on Aeroplan to charge it on all carriers, and Aeroplan is trying to distance itself from the issue.

  7. As we wrote in our post according to Aeroplan agents, the fuel surcharges on other partners was an IT glitch; it was not intentional. Only Lufthansa fuel surcharges were to have taken effect on Nov. 9, not other partners. Air Canada gave just 2 days’ notice to Aeroplan of the impending fuel surcharges on Lufthansa, so don’t expect much (any) notice if similar surcharges are instituted on other partners.

  8. CP@YOW is absolutely correct. The issue Gary identifies as “obfuscation” is anything but: Aeroplan is making it clear that Air Canada is keeping the money, *not* Aeroplan.

  9. @David the obfuscation is that they’re making it sound like the operating carrier is keeping the money and forcing the decision, as opposed to AIr Canada.

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