Aeroplan Begins Adding Fuel Surcharges to Star Alliance Partner Awards

Aeroplan is a strange program, at least it has been, in that it has long been advantageous to book award travel on airlines other than Air Canada. Aeroplan has added fuel surcharges to Air Canada flights but not to flights on partner airlines.

That practice has apparently changed, effective today. Aeroplan awards on Lufthansa, All Nippon, Asiana, and Thai are all now showing up with fuel surcharges.

Fuel surcharges vary by airline and by route. A domestic coach award from New York to Frankfurt has a fuel surcharge over $400, so with tax and during low season it can be the same price to book an award ticket as to buy a paid, mileage-earning ticket.

So far it appears as though awards on United, Swiss, and Singapore are not. Of course there are no guarantees that this will not change as well, since even this change was unannounced. They could be in process of implementing fuel surcharges across the board on all carriers, we’ll have to wait and see.

The addition of fuel surcharges comes on the heels of last month’s change where Aeroplan will no longer include US domestic first class in an international business class award, and on top of a major award chart devaluation in July.

(HT: Reader Jon.)

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. Do you know if this applies to existing tickets? I’ve got a pre-devaluation award ticketed that I’m thinking of optimizing a bit.

  2. @gba I have to assume that anything that requires re-ticketing will involve repricing taxes/fees and thus incur fuel surcharges. But we’ll see how the system works when someone calls to make changes and reports back.

  3. I’m afraid that may have to be me 🙁

    Don’t know whether to call now and see what I get or wait and hope they back off

  4. “Just like that one of the most lucrative award travel programs becomes one of the worst.” agree 100%! \:(

  5. abcx so elegantly and appropriately put 🙂
    I am grateful I skipped joining this progra a few yaesr ago when the going was fairly good
    Expiring miles kept me for doing so
    Id like to send AC a thank you note now

  6. I agree with ATC and Benny. Aeroplan started 2011 as one of the most valuable programs. They are finishing the year as one of the less desirable programs.

  7. I kind of wish I had transferred miles out of Amex MR into Continental before 9/30 or taken advantage of the 50% bonus into BA. Oh well.

  8. Maybe this was a fluke (I will certainly verify it myself today)? I booked a LH/OS business ticket through Aeorplan JFK-FRA-FCO//BLQ-VIE-JFK just six hours ago and there was no fuel surcharge.

  9. I booked an Aeroplan One-Way from SYD –> YVR. I was charged about $400 in service charges, and at the airport was charged $100 penalty for being 3kg over on my luggage allowance.

    I despise AC.

  10. Every time I make a date change now on my various US Air bookings they try to hit me up for an additional 30,000 miles (was 40k in first, now they want 70k in first). Aeroplan has become one of the worst FF programs. I actually closed my Canadian Amex over this and stopped collecting AP points.

    I suggest you do the same.

  11. This is a Star Alliance problem. SA shouldn’t allow this. This is a sleazy way for Air Canada to reduce their costs of SA awards.

  12. @Paul it’s quite common in Star Alliance and really all alliances. In Star you certainly have fuel surcharges with ANA, Asiana, Singapore, Miles & More, etc…

  13. Aeroplan just tweeted the following:

    “As many of you are aware, Aeroplan began applying fuel surcharges on Lufthansa flight rewards, on Air Canada’s behalf. More info will follow”


    “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.”

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