Wednesday, April 16, 2014

US Airways Still Not Levying Fuel Surcharges On British Airways Award Redemptions

Since transitioning over from Star Alliance to OneWorld at the end of March, US Airways has been experiencing a number of hiccups when it comes to searching for and booking partner award tickets. One upside that I briefly touched upon in the previous post, however, is that the dreaded fuel surcharges on British Airways appear to be nonexistent when using Dividend Miles, despite claims by US Airways that they will indeed be levied on award tickets.

I assumed this was merely a software glitch, and would be fixed in a matter of days, if not hours. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that fuel surcharges are still not being collected on British Airways award tickets as of this morning. I confirmed the total taxes and fees on both the American Airlines and British Airways website search tools, then compared them by calling into US Airways to price out the identical itineraries.

Here are the results for three different round-trip cases on random dates, all on British Airways metal in first class (note that US Airways charges an additional $50 award processing fee):

  • SFO-LHR-SFO  (BA286/285)
    12/27/2014 - 1/6/2015
    BA: 150,000 + $1268.64
    AA: 125,000 + $1268.60
    US: 125,000 + $325.14 + $50.00
  • JFK-LHR-JFK  (BA180/113)
    12/19/2014 - 1/7/2015
    BA: 120,000 + $1192.64
    AA: 125,000 + $1192.60
    US: 125,000 + $325.14 + $50.00
  • LHR-JNB-LHR  (BA57/54)
    5/17/2014 - 5/25/2014
    BA: 150,000 + $1006.00
    AA: 100,000 + $1006.10
    US: 100,000 + $405.46 + $50.00

Clearly, US Airways is missing something here. Just to double check, I went onto ITA Matrix and broke out all the taxes, fees, and surcharges, and it appears that US Airways is not only missing the fuel surcharge, but a few other items as well:

ITA Matrix breakdown of taxes, fees, and surcharges

No one knows how long this will last, but I'm torn between saying "this is clearly a bug and US Airways will probably fix it very soon since they are leaving hundreds of dollars on the table", and "US Airways is notorious for flouting their own award booking rules and incorrect award ticket pricing, so this may go on indefinitely". I'm still leaning towards the former though.

Whatever the case is, if you've ever dreamed of trying out British Airways in first class (or any class for that matter) but balked at dropping thousands on taxes and fees, now is the best time to do so using your Dividend Miles!

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