This is a minor misunderstanding but I thought I’d offer a slight correction to a meme that seems to be going around.
Up until that point you could redeem American miles for travel on British Airways without paying fuel surcharges — but you could not redeem miles for travel between the US and London on BA. (The work around was Canada, the Caribbean, or Mexico.)
Fuel surcharges can add $600 and up to the cost of a frequent flyer ‘free’ award ticket.
British Airways and Iberia have the same corporate parent, and Iberia is a part of the joint venture across the Atlantic as well. American started collecting very modest fuel surcharges for travel on Iberia two years ago. Those charges are akin to what Iberia charges its own members — think $50 not $500.
There’s significant reason to think that American is collecting fuel surcharges on Finnair as well.
- Finnair is now a part of the joint venture across the Atlantic
- When US Airways began collecting fuel surcharges for award travel on British Airways, there were rumors that the airline would collect them for travel on all partners. American’s PR department made clear that they would only be collected for travel on British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair
That’s not one that American had ever collected fuel surcharges on.
I saw a post on another blog this morning mentioning BA, Iberia, and Finnair as the carriers that American AAdvantage imposes fuel surcharges when redeeming for. But the truth is, they don’t.
Here’s a quick search for a Finnair award itinerary, it’s business class one-way and coach the other, but the key is that taxes and fees are what you would expect without fuel surcharges.
This could change in the future, but for now it’s only British Airways and Iberia on which AAdvantage is collecting fuel surcharges. And only BA where those charges are especially material.
And I do not expect fuel surcharges to spread wildly in the AAdvantage program, either. Delta doesn’t impose them on most partners for travel originating in North America. United doesn’t impose them at all. That makes AAdvantage awards already more expensive, in many ways (before any saver award chart changes), than competitor awards since their primary transatlantic partner incurs choke-worthy junk fees.