Booking an AAdvantage award ticket to London on British Airways is notorious for the fuel surcharges that are added on to the ticket. For a one-way ticket in Business Class, that’s almost an extra $450 – yikes!
There’s an interesting way to help reduce the cost of the surcharges you’ll pay, though it takes a bit of creative thinking.
You’ll see in the example below, I’ve noted two sets of flights – one non-stop in Business Class to London, costing 50,00 AAdvantage miles and $441 in taxes/fees.
The second flight is the “trick” to escaping some of these fees.
If you book two separate awards, you’ll notice what happens to the taxes you’ll pay. So, let’s say I book a JFK to Zurich non-stop flight on American in Business Class. I’ll end up paying 50,000 miles for this flight and only $5.60 in taxes – a steal. Then, to get to London, I book a separate ticket – this time 10,000 miles and $37.30 in taxes/fees – from Zurich to London City (you can also do this to Heathrow or Gatwick — it doesn’t matter). Now, for this second flight I chose to book it in economy class, since it was such a short flight, I wanted to save miles. You can choose to book this in Business Class for a higher fare. In the end, you’re only paying 10,000 miles extra to avoid close to $400 in taxes/fees – not bad.
Actually, if you want to reduce this cost even more, you can use only 4,500 British Airways Avios from Zurich to London, saving you a bit of miles.
Now, there’s several things you’ll need to note:
- This is not a legal connection, and therefore you’re booking two separate awards. If one flight is late or canceled, you’ll be stuck with a “connecting” award you won’t be able to use.
- You don’t need to fly into Zurich — try another alternate city instead. You also don’t need to fly out of JFK.
- You have to be willing to fly to an alternate airport in some cases. Sometimes you’ll be able to do Heathrow, but in other cases only London City or Gatwick may be available from the city you’ll be “connecting” in.
- This works out of London as well, though note you’ll have a different set of taxes and prices to play with.
Have you ever used this strategy before to avoid paying the hefty fuel surcharges in and out of London?
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