American AAdvantage is NOT Collecting Fuel Surcharges on Finnair Awards

This is a minor misunderstanding but I thought I’d offer a slight correction to a meme that seems to be going around.

American AAdvantage began collecting fuel surcharges for flights on British Airways when it entered into a joint venture with BA.

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. Wha….?

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.

Click to enlarge:

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.

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. Wow, I assumed that it didn’t really matter since I’ve never seen any Finnair business class transatlantic space!

  2. I don’t particularly have a problem with them getting bad press about fuel surcharges. If you intend to redeem miles to certain destination these surcharges can make AA a very poor choice as a primary carrier to collect miles on.

  3. I realize BA YQ is way worse than IB YQ but IB YQ triggers all sorts of taxes which are only charged on Paid Tickets meaning that an Award Ticket involving IB segments will suddenly be fare more expensive than the max 30 Euros per segment YQ charge.

    AA’s agents are also very bad at breaking down pricing and have been known to hang up on customers who dispute the charges.

  4. @ Tommy777 — I guess I shouldn’t have written Finnair off so quickly. It’s always good to know there is another option for crossing the Atlantic in a premium cabin without paying fuel surcharges, especially on a OneWorld carrier.

  5. @Tommy777 I believe Finnair flies to three cities in North America JFK, Toronto and Miami. So potential use of AA miles from all three cities.

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