There has been lot of chatter this morning about American Airlines award fuel surcharges that have suddenly started to appear on awards issued on Malaysia Airlines flights. This issue was first reported on BoardingArea (One Mile At A Time) article that you can access here.
Above is the AA’s reply to my question on Twitter regarding the status of fuel surcharges on partner award itineraries.
American Airlines has collected fuel surcharges on award flights on British Airways and Iberia metal since redeeming for BA flights to/from United States became possible. For a long period, you could not use AAdvantage miles for BA flights between United States and London, but Canada to London and all other routes were possible.
So, I decided to make a call to the Executive Platinum Desk and have the agent read the internal memo for me that was referenced on the blog post.
Effective on August 28, 2013, American Airlines collects other carrier imposed fees.
The memo doesn’t include words “fuel surcharge” at all. It is still unclear, whether “carrier imposed fees” are meant to include fuel surcharges as well.
If the fuel surcharges are expanding beyond the British Airways and Iberia, it will make American Airlines miles far less valuable for international awards.
The fuel surcharges on your typical long-haul award return itinerary are easily $500 to $1000, as airlines have continued to move much of the actual fare to fuel surcharge component that gives them certain advantages such as collecting it on award tickets. I wrote a piece why airlines love fuel surcharges that you can access here.
This could be a temporarily glitch that AA will fix or this may mean that fuel surcharges are expanding to all partner awards beyond British Airways and Iberia. If this is the case, redeeming AAdvantage miles for award tickets just became very costly.