British Airways Charges Fuel Surcharges for Flights From Brazil…And How to Avoid Them!

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I wrote earlier that British Airways wasn’t charging their high fuel surcharges – ~$200 in coach and ~$400 in business/first class per long distance segment.  This is a great way to use Avios points for multi-continent trips and avoid paying the high fuel surcharges.

Million Mile Secrets reader Charlie commented that he was charged fuel surcharges on British Airways award tickets from Brazil to Europe.

It looks like that BA is starting charging higher taxes even on flight from Brazil. Have you noticed the change?

So I performed a test search for a one-way coach award from Rio De Janeiro in Brazil to London on British Airways

British Airways did charge $209 in fuel surcharges on the award ticket from Brazil to London in addition to a $37 International Embarkation Tax from Brazil.

$209 in Fuel Surcharges With a US Address

I was curious to see if these surcharges were charged to folks living in Brazil so I changed my address in my British Airways Executive Club account to a Brazilian address, as a test for this blog post.

NO Fuel Surcharges With a Brazilian Address!

With a Brazilian address in my profile, I was charged NO fuel surcharges and only had to pay the $37 International Embarkation Tax from Brazil.

As an aiside, I WAS charged fuel surcharges for British Airways flights from the US to Europe with a Brazilian address, so there still isn’t a way to avoid paying the surcharges on British Airways flights from the US to London.

American Airlines Website

I was curious to see if American Airlines was charging fuel surcharges on British Airways flights leaving from Brazil, so I searched for a British Airways award on the American Airlines website.  American Airlines is a oneworld partner of British Airways.

I chose a random one-way first class ticket, and found that American Airlines was NOT charging me any fuel surcharges, even though I had a US address in my profile.

$36 in Fuel Surcharges from Brazil to London When Using American Airlines Miles

Bottom Line

You can still redeem Avios points without the exorbitant fuel surcharges from Brazil if you redeem your British Airways Avios points with a Brazilian address in your British Airways Executive Club profile. Or if you redeem American Airlines miles for British Airways flights.

However, there could be risks involved with changing your address to a Brazilian address if you don’t actually live in Brazil, such as potentially losing the British Airways Avios points in your account or being prevented from boarding your flight in Brazil. As always, do what you are comfortable with.

But this could be useful for those of you with family in Brazil!

PS:  I’m on vacation so I won’t be able to get the comments and email soon!

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28 Responses to British Airways Charges Fuel Surcharges for Flights From Brazil…And How to Avoid Them!

  1. Yet again you go making half-baked posts abou things you only partially understand. There are two big pitfalls here for poor unsuspecting folk who are less familiar with the BAEC program that you neglected to mention.

    This happens all to frequently. Maybe blog at half the speed but with twice the attention to detail?

  2. Yet again YOU, USER NAME, go making half-baked posts about things you prefer to not share with the rest of your fellow travelers-except in code on Flyertalk. We know you are afraid to give up your longtime fuel surcharge scam and understand your fear.

    Maybe share with everyone instead of your secretive elitist club?

  3. Yo can aways move your avios to IBERIA and book it w/o changing the address or paying fuel surcharges

  4. Does this gets avoided even while booking from Asia Pacific to US using different address?

  5. I was always under the impression that BA could not charge fuel surcharges on flights departing Brazil because it was against the law in Brazil. Anyone from Brazil know the answer to this? If that is the case, did the law change?

  6. If you don’t want to risk getting around the BA fuel surcharges, what other miles program (besides AA) would be a good deal to fly from the US to Brazil?

  7. Darius-

    I am a big fan and you and Emily have benefitted from many credit card referrals that I applied to through your links.

    I am troubled by a continuing series of threads that attempt to “game” the system. Maybe it is a generational thing, but I have to add this thread to your misguided suggestions to “jump line” with an elite card, or to purchase Vanilla Reloads on a Hilton Surpass Amex when the T & C state that points are not awarded on reload cards (though many have still received them through drugstore purchases).

    Change my address to a fictitious one in Brazil to avoid fuel surcharges? Have you no shame?

    I have not been reading your blog long enough – Did you also advocate buying an expensive diamond at Costco online with a Mastercard/Visa and returning it in store for a cash refund because they do not accept those cards at the stores?

  8. Rob-
    I am not speaking for Darius, but, the “gaming” is not an ethical breach. We are not stealing, we are taking advantage of programs put in place by companies looking to take advantage of us by charging exorbitant rates of interest, fees, etc. Do you think they have any ethical conscience
    about that?
    This is a dog eat dog world, some want to play, some want to sit on the sidelines.
    Not all of us have the time or money to travel or make 6 figure business purchases on our Amex. We fight for our points.
    The Costco example is going over the line, imho. But I hold no one to my standards, let the chips fall where they may.
    I am a little fish with @ 1 million points in various programs all because of Darius and his credit card brethren, and if I have to live in Australia to get an advantage, then so be it.
    And I am of your generation.

  9. How does that Rio to Denver itinerary use British Airways? Is an American Airlines flight, and they don’t charge YQ on any routes anyway.

    I’ve checked for Rio to LHR itineraries, and those price correctly on AA.

  10. @Ian – if you live in Los Angeles or in a city that Alaska serve from LA — Delta Skymiles for Korean Air from LA to Brazil.

  11. Ian

    I booked several award tickets to Brazil (I am from there and regularly fly to Sao Paulo) with AA and United with no fuel surcharge. Another program I booked one time with Delta was Smiles – Gol Airlines – but is very hard for an american as the only way I know to take advantage of smiles is through SPG at a 2:1 rate.

    I have recently booked a way back at First class in American using AAdvantage miles and there was availability also in BA with no Fuel Surcharge, but decided to book on AA as it required fewer miles and I would have 10k miles back from my Citi AA card. Decided to use my avios on Cathay from New York to Vancouver.

  12. Just to be clear, the ticket I saw with no Fuel Surcharge on AA was a GRU-JFK one way ticket.

  13. And just to be clear, AA doesn’t charge fuel surcharges for non-TATL itineraries anyway. The no fuel surcharge from GRU to JFK isn’t because of the Brazilian law, it’s because the fuel surcharge isn’t there to begin with.

  14. HAHA!! There are those circles and arrows I love! Haven’t posted on here since the security fiasco and I find out everyone is living in Brazil now? You are unbelievable.

  15. Rob –

    I share some of your concerns about the ethics of things many bloggers suggest, including this one at times. Perhaps the best thing is to take the good ideas and ignore the bad ones. I think we all draw the lines at different places and some draw them (or don’t draw them) at places that involve real risks too. When you make credit card applications you can always choose whether or not to do it via a blogger’s links, or which blogger’s links to use.

  16. @ACE, well said. As a human being, just make one time mistake that being charged those exorbitant rates of interest, fees, your several months miles/points gain will be wiped out. I am not sure whether Rob tried the Costco example or not, he should be able to find out, all the retailers are pretty strict on where you pay and where you will get your return even on small hundreds dollars. No points will be earned on returns.

  17. One time, I gave a fictitious local address on my Resume when applying for a job in a different city. I could have cheated another job candidate of 100s of thousands of dollars over the years if I had been hired.

    Unfortunately, the company did not even respond to me despite my fake local address.

    *** Agree on the Costco thing…whichever blogs post tricks related to returning items to get miles cross my somewhat lax ethical boundary too. I hope Daraius wasn’t one of them.

  18. Keep blogging Daraius! There will always be haters out there who think credit card companies are being victimized(!!!!!) These people probably have the intelligence of a middle class person that votes Republican.

  19. @User Name - Care to share the two “pitfalls?”

    @Dan – No, this is only for flights from Brazil.

    @Scott – I believe that is still the law, but British Airways will charge fuel surcharges if you’re not a resident, but American Airlines and other airlines do not charge the fee for flights leaving from Brazil even if you are not a resident of Brazil.

    @Rob Markoff - I’m not suggesting you change your address to avoid fuel surcharges, but am pointing out that other airlines don’t charge fuel surcharges for flights leaving from Brazil (even if you have a US address), but British Airways does. Their is a Brazilian law which prohibits fuel surcharges, but British Airways seems to apply it only to Brazil residents unlike American Airlines or other airlines.

    @AK – Spot on. The wrong screenshot made it to the blog. I’ve replaced it with a Rio to London flight on BA! Thanks for pointing it out. BA still charges surcharges for Rio to London flights if you have a US address, but American Airlines does not.

  20. Darius I have 2 united guess passes that expires dec 31/12 – if any one of your readers happened to be traveling anytime before the end of the year I’d be happy to overnight them to them if they’re interested – i wont use them because I dont have any travel plans for rest of the year and would hate to see them go to waste. I know it’s kinda short notice but still thought Id put it out there.

  21. If anyone is interested Just email me @ msame25@gmail.com and tell me where to send it – happy travels everyone!

  22. Pingback: Avoiding BA fuel surcharges when flying from Brazil | Head for Points

  23. Marlon – email sent.

  24. Darius,
    http://headforpoints.com/2012/12/22/avoiding-ba-fuel-surcharges-flying-from-brazil/
    suggests that avios.com can be used to avoid the fuel surcharge as well. I did a quick test of Rio->London on BA and Avios.com and seems to be that BA charges the fuel surcharge, avios.com doesn’t. Of course, I didn’t proceed far enough on avios.com to see if there would be issues during the purchase with a non-US or US address, for example.

  25. @skdelta - Thanks for letting me know. I’ll check it out when I get back from vacation!

  26. Hey everyone I gave the passes away and no longer have them – wish i had more to send to everyone i heard from :) !!! Safe travels everyone!!!

  27. Pingback: Delta Award Tips - A Case Study With Open-Jaws - Hack My Trip

  28. Pingback: Avoiding BA fuel surcharges when flying from Brazil

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