British Airways Raises Fuel Surcharges, $1600 Roundtrip Fee To Redeem Your Points

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • British Airways raised fuel surcharges on premium cabin transatlantic trips. US-originating roundtrips in first or business are now up to $1600. Wow. As always booking two one ways is less expensive, because the fuel surcharge London to U.S. is $438.20 – making a roundtrip of two one ways $1238.20. (HT: Award Wallet)

  • Airport passengers with flights cancelled told to return duty-free purchases

    Prospective holidaymakers were forced to leave a British airport empty handed after being told to return their duty-free purchases following flight cancellations. For weeks airports and airlines across the country have been plagued with issues around security and check-in delays, passengers queuing outside the departures building and hundreds of flights cancelled or delayed.

    But one unknown consequence for these disappointed passengers who are told to return home when their flights are cancelled is that they can’t take any duty-free purchases with them, and are told to return any items they’ve bought before leaving the airport.

  • Things that are banned at the Manchester airport

  • “E. Once Xi is re-elected at the 20th People’s Congress”

  • Onboard medical kits need to be improved

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. For BA, you have to look at getting an award as like buying economy and then using miles to upgrade. And when buying PE and upgrading with miles, as just discount J. When saver business class awards or buying economy and upgrading with points and miles simply aren’t available on other airlines on a particular date, BA may still have availability and if you look at it like this, makes sense in comparison to the alternatives.

  2. On a positive note, BA now allows solo travelers to get a 50 percent discount in Avios redemptions when using a companion voucher.


    Solo traveller Avios discount

    As there is only one passenger travelling on this booking using a BA Chase Companion Voucher, you’re entitled to a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay when booking your seat.

    And don’t forget the $200 rebate that Chase offers on Avios redemptions in business and first class.

  3. @Magnifico ,

    The President does not control fuel prices its a globally traded commodity…. Did you ever Graduate from HS ?

  4. @Tim j

    So Biden is negotiating with Maduro, who we don’t like, to import more oil because the USA is running out of oil? Reinstate the XL pipeline and pump more oil in North America. Roll on the Midterms.
    BTW, it’s not its.

  5. British Airways also seems to have raised the points needed on some routes from June . LAX-CDG went from 77,500 to 78,250.

  6. Yes @Tim j but our garbage President canceled vital pipelines, stopped federal oil leases, and crippled fracking, all of which directly caused energy prices to soar.

    When Biden took office, America was energy independent for the first time in generations. Now, the hapless fool Biden is reduced to begging for more oil from Saudi Arabia, which he’ll do when he visits the oil-rich nation next month.

    We’re an oil rich nation too, but our “leaders” would rather see record fuel prices (which lead to things like surcharges) than see Americans prosper.

    So while I’m sure you are better at this when you actually know what you’re talking about, but there’s no evidence of that here…

  7. @airfarer some people will believe everything they hear on MSNBC but it’s still shocking the hear people blame domestic fuel prices on someone besides Biden.

    On the same note as mental stability, BA must be insane to think this won’t impact them.

  8. There are strong Avios redemptions to be had within that program and through transfer into IB and QR programs, but flying BA transatlantic has long not been one of them.

  9. Keystone pipeline cancelled. Fracking discouraged. Browbeating the oil companies and making life rough for them. Forcing investment policies that penalize anyone and anything not connected to “green” energy. And before Biden can be frogmarched out of office the USA goes from energy independence to a vassal state. And the typical American Idiot is confused why it takes $75 to fill the gas tank? And sky high fuel surcharges on everything from airfares to truck freight. What, exactly, did they expect?

  10. The rapid demise of BA Avios is near. In general airline loyalty is in decline. I am only going to make it to AA Platinum for 2023 because UA consistently has considerably lower airfares on the routes I fly. I do not expect that to change soon as United’s lowers fares compared to AA should continue on transcontinental routes as they fill their triple 7s that are returning to service.

  11. Leave it to Trumpers like Magnifico and DFWSteve to promote falsehoods. I suppose they believe Trump won the election !

  12. @Alan. That’s fine…of course we don’t enjoy 100,000 point sign ups over here and I think you’ll find far more Premium Awards on BA than American, and don’t forget to take a look at AerLingus or Iberia….spoilt for choice.

  13. @JimC is recklessly quick to the trigger to label those of us who dare to question Biden as Trumpsters. I did not vote for Trump. But it is typical of the myopic, narrow minded way Democrats view the world these days. They are permanently infected by Trump derangement syndrome of which, apparently, there is no cure.

    Meanwhile, go paste that Biden 2024 sticker on the back of your Volvo, fill ‘er up with $6 gas and hope your baby doesn’t go hungry again tonight.

  14. Only Avios redemption plus ridiculous surcharges worth anything is for a first class seat. Just flew first class Boston to Heathrow and return to NYC. Really nice food, service and comfy seat/space. But…..try to find one for next 50 weeks out….on any route.

  15. Oil is not in short supply in the US as much as refining capacity is. It’s the refining capacity and the increased concentration of relevant refining capacity during the pandemic that is the big driver of high fuel prices in the US. And high fuel prices are also the case in Europe. Last I checked Biden wasn’t the President of Europe, but go ahead Trumpophiles and blame Biden for anything and everything under the sky without regard for the merits of the message.

  16. Sure GUWonder. Where’d you hear that one, on one of your “over 200 international trips” lol?

    The link is to Biden’s Department of Energy and the short-term energy outlook from December 2021.

    In the report, here’s their forecast for gas prices: “U.S. regular gasoline retail prices averaged $3.39 per gallon (gal) in November, a 10 cents/gal increase from October and $1.29/gal higher than in November 2020. The November monthly average was the highest since September 2014. We forecast that retail gasoline prices will average $3.13/gal in December before falling to $3.01/gal in January and $2.88/gal on average in 2022.”

    In my San Diego neighborhood, some gas is priced at over $7.00/gal., better than double the incompetent Biden Administration forecast. What’s a gallon cost in your neighborhood? (hint: more than $2.88)

    No where do they mention any issues with refining capacity as a cause for the obscene rise in fuel costs. Please note that according to the report, a gallon of gas averaged $2.10/gal when senile Joe was elected.

    Of course, this same report says that GNP would grow by 4.4% in 2022. How’s that working out Ace?

    Try again…

  17. Biden doesn’t control energy markets, but he does control his mouth, sort of. The one nation able to impact oil prices at the flick of a switch is Saudi Arabia. And SA is run by MBS, who is pissed at Biden. No interest whatsoever in helping Brandon out, which is why Biden has scheduled a “Kiss The Ring” tour, to get the Saudis to open the taps. Won’t solve everything, could cut benchmark prices off their highs, which will help.

    Yes, in principle, Biden is correct about MBS, but sometimes the entire world economy, as well as your own nation’s, and the security regime of the next 30 years, requires you to make the unpleasant choice of looking the other way at bad behavior in order to fight a bigger evil. You want to fight Putin and Xi, sometimes you’re going to have to kiss a pig or two.

  18. @magnifico if there’s anyone who needs to stfu it’s you.
    One can only imagine what the capitalists and libertarians would say about the govt taking control of gas prices or baby food manufacturing etc.

  19. @Magnifico

    “British” airway fuel surcharge does not equate to the president of the USA. And if that lame logic applies its some how bidens fault wouldn’t said surcharge get piled on by Delta, aa, ual… You know airlines that are actually more likely to be affected by the president of the usa. Grasping at some mighty big straws. Maybe focus on criminals like trump. Oh right actual facts instead of ridiculous logic is not strong in your camp.

  20. @Magnifico – The ramp-up time to increase American oil production to the point it could affect market prices is measured in years. It’s a good idea long-term, it’ll do nothing to lower current prices. (Although I would argue the best long-term plan would be crash development and production of small modular nuclear reactors.) The Saudis could lower the price tomorrow by announcing they’re increasing daily production. They literally just have to open the spigot – they have that much excess production capacity.

  21. Dear @Bob… the issue is a “fuel” surcharge. Many people might consider that a massive and rapid rise in the price of “fuel” could play a role. Could there be other factors? Sure, but typically costs are passed onto consumers.

    This site has provided valuable news so that informed travelers can choose to fly on BA using points or not. It’s called competition and it’s a beautiful thing.

    @C_M, not sure why you fight so hard to preserve pig-kissing, but fewer than two years ago The United States was completely energy independent, enjoyed gasoline prices averaging just over $2/gal, and didn’t have to risk our energy supply or cost on pigs like Putin, or other enemies like Iran or pathetic socialist failures like Venezuela.

    Our present buffoon in chief’s policies directly, negatively, and swiftly changed all that and we see the disastrous results today.

    Reversing those catastrophic policies won’t change prices overnight, but they will start the process and return some sanity and stability to our economy.

    Or would you prefer more of the same from the present clown show in Washington?

  22. Gary, perhaps you would write a post on why the other Oneworld airlines allow BA to charge these outrageous surcharges.

  23. Gary-

    You really need to step in. Readers turning a part article on BA YQ into politics need to have their posts deleted. I know the old saying that the only bad publicity is no publicity, but I rarely come here anymore since it’s just another site with rants.

    Your blog, your call.

  24. So a couple of things:
    Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron have the highest profits in 7 years. B had the highest profits in 8 years.
    So, somehow the oil companies have decided make a few bucks since we have all decided to get out and get going again by keeping production low and price high.
    And once those profits (price gouging) were shown to be the underlying culprit for the pain at the pump, the Democrats put together s bill to limit oil company profits at the pump.
    Republicans voted against it.
    Whine all you want, but it’s 50 Senate Republicans that are making you life more miserable.

  25. @ DFW Steve

    I’m addressing you since you claim to want to be big enough to stand outside of the politics (although you immediately and hypocritically lapse into labelling people Democrat etc).

    One liners don’t make an argument. For example, if you want to ascribe blame then back up with data – to what extent would the new Keystone pipeline have added capacity – show us the math – I’m reading articles saying that the capacity could be accommodated by existing pipelines. Is the risk and environment cost of fracking worth it – and how would you determine such? Common, dude, show us why that’s wrong and the impact of the decision which you criticise.

    What is your model for the determination of energy costs for airlines? What position are you arguing from?

    Do you accept that pricing is an output of supply and demand? That itself is determines on a global scale not national level? Have you factored in that US is reaching record levels of production? Is a net energy exporter? That the current administration has granted more leases than the previous administration in its first year? That the current administration has authorised release of substantial reserves (one million barrels). That oil / gas companies are not even exploiting the leases and opportunities that they have been granted? That the supply side can be manipulated by the oil / gas producers? How are the contracts of supply for national energy supply framed and by which administration? Are oil companies profiteering whether overseas or in the US (and has the US administration tried to limit such for the US)? Have you factored in the foreign policy successes and failures of previous administrations with respect to Russia and the Middle East?

    Do you accept that the USA cannot be slave to oil / gas in the future? That other jurisdictions have been highly successful in transforming their energy economies (South Australia has gone from 1% to 60% renewables (wind / solar) in 15 years and at times has 100% of its energy demands supplied by renewables and its on track for 100% by 2026)?

    Are you going to fall not the traps of certain others herein – for example @ Minificio (the dwarf magician donkey) who cites an energy document which was compiled before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and then rails against its content?!

    I guess I’m asking whether your rationale is superficial or sophisticated, you logic fragile or robust? Have you really thought this through?

  26. @ Sam

    Yes and perhaps @ Gary has the economic smarts to write an article explaining the relationship between airline fuel costs, YQs and the energy market itself?

    That in itself could direct and inform an engaging and worthwhile debate?

  27. @platy – South Australia is 1.8 million people concentrated in one city surrounded by a vast wasteland. Not comparable to the rest of the world, not scalable. You aren’t going run an industrial economy the size of the US on solar panels and windmills and Europe doesn’t have the space to come anywhere close to install the generating capacity they would need.

    This is like people who wonder why Israel can have such good airline security, why can we do it here? Again, scale, Israel is small, has one major airport, a population willing to put up with very intrusive security, and a fleet of 45 aircraft. You can’t do what they do on a continent wide basis with thousands of aircraft and hundreds of airports.

  28. Mmmmm… @platy, I can almost feel the spittle lol. You’d think these month’s of being guwonder’s caddy would have mellowed you a bit, but alas.

    Yes @dfwsteve, please within the confines and context of a blog comments section provide us upon demand a footnoted dissertation on “Global Petro Economics and Airline Fuel Surcharges as Applied to Loyalty Programs.”

    I can’t wait…

    As fun as this has been, even @platy’s incessant bed-wetting loses its charm after awhile…

    Thanks to Gary for informing us that BA is charging pax a four-figure fee to redeem earned points. Whether the reasons are valid or not mean little. What matters is what consumers do with the information.

    Btw – the Dow plummeted over 800 points yesterday and has now officially lost all the gains since our hapless president was elected. And don’t forget, tomorrow the Feds will raise the base rate at least another half-point.

    Great job Joe!

  29. @Magnificio- and just what would you have expected Biden to have done about inflation and supply chain shortages?

  30. @ JimC

    There doesn’t seem to be any point in engaging with @ Minifico – the authored posts (on this and other threads) are devoid of any fact and logic: that person is utterly deranged, simply spewing bile and consumed with political hatred.

    This little pony is the first out of the bocks to make dumb politically partisan statement (blame Biden for BA fuel surcharges), but when challenged trots out the same old right wing idiotypes, which are demolished in seconds:

    Pipeline cancelled – but doesn’t realise that capacity is not limiting
    Leases – actually Biden has granted more in first year in office than Trump: the issue here is whether the leaseholders make use of those leases
    Saudi oil – it is the case and has been for decades that producers seek to control prices through withholding supply (surely, that is cause for ongoing negotiation)
    Russia / Ukraine – not a factor, apparently, in the mind of our little pony

    Ironically, when @ DFWSteve is challenged to define the connection between fuel surcharges on BA and oil prices, our little pony steps in to infer it’s so complicated that it requires a dissertation, but hold on I thought the answer was incredibility easy – it was ALL Biden’s fault, right?!

    The world in the brain of our little pony becomes one of childish simplicity. Apparently, a DOE report written before the Russian invasion of Ukraine (widely accepted as a driver of global oil / gas prices) has fuel price predictions subsequently proved incorrect and that enables our little pony to become a hindsight hero. In such a tiny mind that’s all it takes to prove that it’s all Biden’s fault.

    Our little pony is sad case – but that’s all Biden’s fault.

  31. @C_M

    Are we sure that “scale” is actually the main factor limiting change? It may be a challenge, but is it ultimately limiting?

    Some individual households in Australia are net energy producers.

    You mention Europe – I’m seeing reports that 50% of Germany’s power is supplied by renewables.

    The practical challenge is reliability of supply – this on a number of temporal scales.

    The US clearly has a problem – it’s totally oil / gas obsessed.

    Ironically, renewables offer the freedom from being dependent on global oil prices, Middle East and Russia geopolitics, etc.

  32. Oh my… getting my dear friend @platy to respond is like kicking an anthill. All the better when the fanboi club joins the chorus…

    That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your effort, even if the ultimate impact of all your hard work is precisely zero.

    Despite your squealing, I’m off to SFO mask-free and with any luck, we’ll have to circle a few times and burn extra fuel…

    Enjoy your day… I know I will.

  33. I made a one day-prior to departure 9/2020 BA Amex companion voucher Avios RT booking from LHR-DFW (First) returning AUS-LHR (Club) 6 months later. Due to COVID, the return flight was cancelled by BA two times and finally, in 7/2021, BA converted the remaining segment into an e-voucher for later use.

    Last week i called the UK Gold line to rebook the return part of the journey for 9/27/2022 where I found availability for a party of 2 and was told that the ticket would have to go to Fares to be repriced. In true BA fashion, I received an innocuous email on Tuesday that said I needed to contact them. Upon calling the UK Gold line later that day, I was told that the “balance” of taxes and fees owed was GBP510 per person, despite no change in origin or destination. I pressed the agent for some explanation and only received a “our Fares team calculate this difference and I have confirmed with my colleague that it is indeed correct as it is now a one-way journey”.

    The original booking left me with approximately GBP200 of taxes and fees remaining and the recalculated taxes and fees remaining were GBP710. By simple logic, this is almost 100% down to Carrier-Related Charges and nothing to do with APD, as the agent said “our taxes have been increasing significantly over the last few years”.

    Immediately I question the agent to understand why BA’s cancellation of my return leg/voucher issuance means it is one-way but nonetheless that is the classification in their system and the basis for things like the Carrier Surcharge, which for a one-way flight in Club appears to actually be more expensive than a return flight originating out of the same airport (AUS-LHR-AUS versus just AUS-LHR).

    I don’t know the ticketing rules regarding recalculation of taxes/fees with flights that are cancelled, but obviously changed flights have taxes and fees repriced which is understandable. In any case, BA are having a field day with passengers like this and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to speak to a single individual with any authority to resolve this with any urgency.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

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