What this really does is almost match US Airways’ recent move to attach a $25, $35 or $50 dollar processing fee to award travel based on your destination. American added a $5 dollar fee for award travel booked on AA.com stating that it was looking to recoup a portion of its investment in upgrading technology. I expect other airlines to implement similar charges in short order.
Call me an apologist if you want, but I think this could have been much worse. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I believe the actual fuel surcharge on an international ticket nowadays is somewhere well north of $50 dollars. And I don’t think I’m being too far out there in speculating that these charges, small as they are, may discourage some people from using miles. That might benefit those of us that still see some benefit in these programs. And despite what some of the alarmists implore us to believe, they do still have value.
Like I always say, things are going to be “interesting” in the airline business. But I plan to continue earning, and more importantly, burning miles for the time being.