I awoke to news this morning that American Airlines would begin imposing fuel surcharges on all award travel, including flights on its own metal, and my heart sank. Currently fuel surcharges are imposed on British Airways flights and a moderate fuel surcharge is imposed on Iberia, but no fuel surcharge is collected for all other partner awards and AA’s own flights. Until last night…when people began finding their award taxes were several hundred dollars more than anticipated. AA even confirmed on Twitter, rather lethargically, “We’re collecting other carrier imposed charges effective today.” But it turns out all of this was a misunderstanding and AA has just released the following statement–
Last night, in a routine effort to better align American to industry standards with other global carriers, American began collecting carrier-imposed surcharges on tickets for travel on other carrier’s metal. This change was intended for revenue tickets only, but the surcharge was erroneously added to AAdvantage award redemptions on other airlines as well. Except in the cases of British Airways and Iberia (where American currently collects these surcharges), no carrier-imposed surcharges will be applied when redeeming AAdvantage miles for award travel on other carriers. Any customers who encountered this fee in error will be fully refunded.
The good news is that the fees are gone and those who paid them will receive a refund. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief because you can bet that had American started collecting fuel surcharges it would only be a matter of time before United and Delta did the same.
Good news today, but still a foreshadowing, I fear, of what is to come. My old adage merits repeating–miles are a depreciating asset. Earn and burn is the best strategy to maximize the value of your points.