Big news if you like using your miles to travel to Europe in business class and don’t like paying high surcharges: Flying Blue is currently not collecting fuel surcharges on Air Europa flights.
Airline award space, particularly in premium cabins, is often a “Catch 22”. The carriers that tend to make the most award space available are the carriers that have the largest fuel surcharges. Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air Europa come to mind.
Air Europa has very high fuel surcharges. For example, a r/t between New York and Madrid carries nearly $1,000 in fuel surcharges (YQ):
Traditionally, these have been passed on to consumers who use their Flying Blue miles to book award travel. Air Europa is generous in releasing transatlantic business class space and has a greatly-improved product (the 787 has guaranteed lie-flat seats in business class and the A330 fleet is being retrofitted). But consumers using Flying Blue miles were looking at fuel surcharges of about $1,100 r/t or $550 one-way. That’s certainly diminishes the value of an award redemption.
But starting last week, I noticed that Flying Blue is no longer connecting fuel surcharges on Air Europa: only government taxes. Suddenly, taxes/fees on an award have dropped by 90% to only about $100 r/t.
Since Air Europa tends to make two business class award seats available per flight, even during the peak summer travel season, this represents a remarkably improved value.
When I saw these cheaper taxes/fees, I figured that Air Europa had eliminated fuel surcharges from its fare structure. As you can see from the ITA Matrix screenshot above, it certainly has not. Thus, I don’t know how long this fuel surcharge “reprieve” will last and recommend that you book sooner rater than later.
Remember, through the end of the month Flying Blue charges 125K miles r/t. Flying Blue is a transfer partner of American Express, Chase, and CITI. Also note that American Express is currently offering a transfer bonus (through 06/15/18) where 1,000 Membership Rewards points will get you 1,250 Flying Blue miles. Lastly, note that you can call Flying Blue and hold award space for up to 72 hours before ticketing, giving you time to reserve the space and transfer over the points.