British Airways has substantially raised fuel surcharges on flights originating in the United States, especially for first class. How high is too high too for an “award” ticket?
A round-trip business class ticket from the United States to London and back will now cost you $1433.46 (including $1,106 in fuel surcharges alone) in addition to the miles.
A round-trip first class ticket from the same city pairs will now cost you $1,833.46 (including $1,506 in fuel surcharges alone) in addition to the miles.
This sort of pricing really begs the question: is it worthwhile? It used to be about $1,000 r/t for taxes/fees. Thus, you could calculate that you were essentially “paying” for an economy class ticket and using miles to upgrade. The $1400-1800+ in out-of-pocket really stretches the value proposition of this award, especially when economy class tickets continue to drop in price and we routinely see cheap paid business class tickets.
The only instance I can ever picture spending this kind of money + miles is if revenue tickets are significantly more expensive. And when that occurs, award space is rarely available.
How To (Partially Avoid) These High Surcharges
The best way to reduce your exposure on these fuel surcharges is to
avoid British Airways book two one-way journeys instead of a single round-trip. For whatever reason–perhaps so as not to tick off European customers–fuel surcharges are much cheaper when originating in Europe. Just like on Lufthansa….
There’s an even more complicated trick to avoid fuel surcharges on British Airways that involves booking a premium + economy class combination using Iberia Avios. Lucky lays out the process here. I don’t expect this trick to last. Alaska Airlines also has yet to upgrade its fuel surcharge amounts on British Airways flights.
There will reach a point where British Airways prices itself out of the market. Perhaps this is it, perhaps not. But $1800+ for a first class ticket to London is hardly a “steal” when you are also spending 136K+ miles.
How much are you willing to pay for a British Airways award ticket?