On Friday I reached out to American Airlines because they were collecting carrier-imposed surcharges when using AAdvantage miles for British Airways awards even on an itinerary where there are no such surcharges.
View from Deck of London Heathrow Galleries First Lounge
Hong Kong – London Heathrow fares do not include fuel surcharges (at least for tickets issued in Hong Kong, as a result of Hong Kong law). Taxes on this business class fare total $44.30:
As a result, when using British Airways Avios to book this award, British Airways collects the correct taxes (we’re converting currency differently and are one penny off) with no surcharges.
However AAdvantage wanted $307.30 on this same award.
This included $263 in carrier-imposed surcharges that are neither filed with the fare nor collected by British Airways for this same flight..
Now I did find a British Airways fare for Hong Kong – London Heathrow with a US point of sale that included $263 in fuel surcharges (frequently you buy tickets with a point of sale at your city of origin, and as I say British Airways wasn’t attempting to collect the fuel surcharges from its own members). So that seemed to be the root of the issue.
To their credit, American has quickly addressed this.
First, American Airlines is no longer adding surcharges to awards for British Airways Hong Kong – London Heathrow flights.
Second they tell me they’re going to “proactively refund passengers” for used their AAdvantage miles and paid surcharges they shouldn’t have been collecting.
At this point I don’t know exactly how long the process will take to identify customers and process the refunds. If you’re someone who should get money back, it’s something to watch for and eveentually follow up on (especially if you no longer have the card used to pay this).
In any case that’s great responsiveness on American’s part for their members.