American AAdvantage adds fuel surcharges to awards on British Airways and Iberia. They’re fairly de minimis for Iberia flights, but for British Airways it makes awards too costly to often be worth it. For coach tickets it’s silly, you pay almost as much as a ticket costs. For premium cabin tickets it’s like paying for a coach ticket and using miles to upgrade, but earning neither miles nor status despite the huge cash co-pay.
That’s bad enough, but on many routes American actually overcharges for these surcharges. And they only fix it and refund customers when caught with their hand in the cookie jar. For instance,
- I’ve written about how American was illegally collecting fuel surcharges for British Airways award tickets originating in Hong Kong.
- And they were overcharging customers Seattle – London. In fact they were hitting customers with more in fuel surcharges when redeeming miles than a paid ticket cost, even though British Airways wasn’t filing those fuel surcharges.
You always need to check whether two one ways are cheaper than a roundtrip because fuel surcharges may be filed differently for one way fares. But that’s following the rules.
What’s squirrely is when American charges more in surcharges than British Airways does for the same flights, more than British Airwways files as surcharges on the fare for the route.
Although American tells me “[w]e have processes in place to help ensure we avoid these errors entirely” and that “[w]e’ve undergone a comprehensive review of the filings internally and with our airline partners” here’s another route where American is overcharging AAdvantage members. (HT: Eliezer K)
American charges fuel surcharges of $199.60 on a British Airways business class award from Tel Aviv to San Jose.
That’s $40 more than the British Airways filed fuel surcharge that should apply:
And indeed taxes and fees on the same British Airways award booked with British Airways Avios costs $40 less than American is charging as a result.
Let’s see if we can’t get this member — and anyone else that has booked Tel Aviv – San Jose with AAdvantage miles — a refund.
And always check the proper cost of a British Airways award booked with AAdvantage miles so you know if American is overcharging you.