What do Aeroplan and BA Avios have in common? Egregiously high fuel surcharges, imposed by primary airlines of the program. And just like Aeroplan, BA Avios too has its partners and routes that can be utilized to avoid the fuel surcharges. Below, I will list the airlines that you can fly with BA Avios to avoid  fuel surcharges completely or at least to ‘acceptable’ levels.

BA Avios – Airline partners with no fuel surcharges

  • American Airlines (except US-EU segments – fly Aer Lingus, Iberia for transatlantic routes)
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines (no fuel surcharges within Asia, minimal otherwise)
  • Aer Lingus 

Airline partners with minimal fuel surcharges

  • S7
  • Sri Lankan

Other tips to avoid fuel surcharges with BA Avios

  • Often fuel surcharges on round trip are more than two one-way segments
    Example: JFK-LHR roundtrip (AA) in economy, comes with a hefty $755.38 in taxes.

    BA Avios fuel surcharges

    JFK-LHR roundtrip with AA, in economy: 40K Avios + $755.38

    But the same trip booked as two one way segments brings the total taxes down to $628.71

    BA Avios fuel surcharges

    JFK-LHR one-way: 20k Avios + $425.31

    BA Avios fuel surcharges

    LHR-JFK one-way: 20k Avios + $203.40

 

  • Avoid flying out of London (LHR)
    Continuing with our example above, note that the one-way segment from LHR-JFK was a whopping $425.31. Avoid LHR and the taxes come down to $207.78!!BA Avios fuel surcharges
    Essentially, you can fly JFK-LHR and DUB-JFK on AA Economy for 40K Avios+411.18. But we can do even better, read on..
  • Convert BA Avios to Iberia Avios (identical award charts to BA, no fuel surcharges):
    Idea here is to fly Iberia using Iberia Avios. US Gateways: Boston, Chicago, LA, Miami
  • Fly (depart) out of countries/cities that regulate or ban fuel surcharges – Australia, Brazil, HK, Japan (depart/arrive), South Korea.
    Ricky of Prince of Travel covers this topic in greater detail. Same principles apply across all programs.
  • Book Aer Lingus flights to DUB for transatlantic segment. 26000 Avios (+no fuel surcharge) for round-trip in economy, East-Coast to Europe!
    Aer Lingus flights do not show on BA search, but you can use United search tool and call BA to book. Aer Lingus flights to North America are as shown below (Montreal and Minneapolis starting 2019);BA Avios fuel surcharges

Now I know. How do I plan?

BA Avios certainly does not make it easy with multiple award charts and redemption rates – Lets start with the current rates (2018) for redemption flights, as per this FlyerTalk thread;

BA Avios fuel surcharges

Head hurt yet? Don’t worry, Seth’s (Wandering Aramean) awesome BA Avios Award tools to the rescue! The Avios Calculator will help you navigate the multiple award charts (shown above) with a simple search that lays out the points required and the direct/stop-over routes. The Award Search tool on the other hand is a wonderful map display of the cheapest routes based on city selected, a great way to learn BA Avios’ distance based program.

BA Avios fuel surcharges

BA Avios fuel surcharges

 

Take Away

BA Avios is a strong partner to most credit cards that allow airline transfers, thus, are easy to collect. Although the program is challenging to understand, there are several ways to leverage the oddities – with a distance based award chart, BA Avios are best utilized for Intra-Asia and Intra-EU flights. Hope the tips and tricks discussed above can come handy next time you engage in planning a trip, using BA Avios.

Share your own BA Avios tips and tricks with a comment below.

 

Title Image Source: British Airways