Act Fast! No Fuel Surcharge on British Airways Awards Using US Airways Miles

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Via The Points GuyUS Airways is not charging fuel surcharges on award redemptions on British Airways.  This can save you thousands of dollars over the normal rate!

British Airways First Class Review
No Fuel Surcharges When You Use US Airways Miles to Fly British Airways
This may be a glitch or oversight and may be fixed soon.  So if you have US Airways miles and want to book British Airways flights, you should act fast!

British Airways Charges High Fuel Surcharges 

In March, US Airways left the Star Alliance and joined oneworld, an alliance that includes partners like British Airways.

You can use British Airways Avios points, American Airlines miles, or Alaska Airlines miles to fly on British Airways.  But you will pay high fuel surcharges.  These fuel surcharges can range from hundreds to even thousands of dollars!

Say you want to fly round-trip in British Airways World Traveller (coach) from New York to London on July 22, 2014, to July 29, 2014.

ba avios y redemption
A World Traveller (coach) Ticket From New York to London on July 22, 2014

You would pay 40,000 British Airways Avios and ~$708 for fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees!

A sample itinerary in British Airways World Traveller (Economy Class) ...
You’ll Pay ~$708 Fuel Surcharges for a Coach Ticket!

You also pay high fuel surcharges even if you use American Airlines or Alaska Airlines miles.

For example, you could use American Airlines miles to fly round-trip in British Airways Club World (Business Class) from New York to London on May 7, 2014, to May 14, 2014.

A sample itinerary between New York and London on British Airways Club World (Business Class)
A British Airways Business Class Ticket for May 7, 2014 to May 14, 2014

You would pay 100,000 American Airlines miles and $1,181 in fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees!

Would cost 100,000 American Airlines miles + $1,181 in fuel surcharges/taxes/fees! Not exactly a "free" ticket!
Not Exactly a “Free” Ticket!

The high fuel surcharges usually makes using miles on British Airways expensive, because you have to pay miles and hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges for your ticket.

You Can Save 60% to 80% in Fuel Surcharges

Since joining the oneworld alliance, US Airways hasn’t yet added fuel surcharges to British Airways award flights.  You could save 60% to 80% if you don’t pay fuel surcharges.  But you still have to pay international taxes and fees. This is likely an oversight or glitch, so this might not last!

US Airways Isn’t Charging Fuel Surcharges 

Fuel surcharges vary for each flight.  Here are some examples of fuel surcharges.

For example, fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees on a round-trip British Airways Business Class ticket from Austin to London are ~ $1,270!

$1270 in taxes/fees/fuel surcharge in business class between Austin and London
~$1,270 Fuel Surcharges, Taxes & Fees in Business Class

However, when we see the breakdown, $904 are fuel surcharges.

$904 of the total fees are fuel surcharges - US Airways is currently not charging this!
You’ll Save $904 Using US Airways Miles Flying British Airways Business Class

While British Airways and most other partners like American Airlines would charge ~$1,270, US Airways is only charging $366 in taxes & fees!  That’s a 72% savings!

You Can Even Save Money Flying Coach

You could also save a lot on coach tickets.

For example, for a round-trip coach ticket on British Airways from Boston to Johannesburg, South Africa you pay ~$714 for fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees.

$715 in fuel surcharges/taxes/fees in Economy class from Boston to Johannesburg
$715 in Fuel Surcharges, Taxes, and Fees in Coach from Boston to Johannesburg

However, when looking at the detailed list of taxes and fuel surcharges, we see that US Airways would omit $500 of fuel surcharges.

$500 of the $714 are fuel surcharges, which US Airways isn't charging.
$500 of the $714 Are Fuel Surcharges, Which US Airways Isn’t Charging

So an award ticket on British Airways from Boston to Johannesburg in coach would cost only ~$214 in taxes & fees, which is a 70% savings!

How Many Miles Does US Airways Charge for British Airways Flights?

Link:   US Airways Award Chart

US Airways has a region-based award chart, so you would be charged based on the regions of your origin and destinations.  You can route through London on British Airways to get to destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Asia!

US Airways only allows you to book round-trips, so you cannot book 1-way flights (if you do, you still pay the round-trip price).  You are allowed 1 stopover in a oneworld hub city (like London, since that is British Airways hub).

The price for US Airways awards to British Airways destinations
The Price for US Airways Awards to British Airways Destinations

From the USA or Canada to Europe, you would pay:

  • 60,000 miles round-trip in coach
  • 100,000 miles round-trip in Business
  • 125,000 miles round-trip in First Class

From the USA or Canada to North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), you would pay:

  • 60,000 miles round-trip in coach
  • 110,000 miles round-trip in Business
  • 120,000 miles round-trip in First

From the USA or Canada to South & Central Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chagos, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam), you would pay:

  • 80,000 miles round-trip in coach
  • 120,000 miles round-trip in Business
  • 160,000 miles round-trip in First

From the USA or Canada to the Middle East, you would pay:

  • 80,000 miles round-trip in coach
  • 120,000 miles round-trip in Business
  • 180,000 miles round-trip in First

From the USA or Canada to Africa, you would pay:

  • 70,000 miles round-trip in coach
  • 110,000 miles round-trip in Business
  • 150,000 miles round-trip in First
British Airways flights are useful for getting from North America to London, and connecting to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Asia!

British Airways flies to the following cities in the United States and Canada:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin, TX
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Denver
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Orlando, FL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Tampa, FL
  • Washington, DC (IAD)
  • Calgary (YYC)
  • Montréal (YUL)
  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Vancouver (YVR)

According to, British Airways flies hundreds of routes all over the world, so you connect to many destinations!

British Airways route map, courtesy of
British Airways Route Map, Courtesy of

You can also fly British Airways across the Atlantic Ocean from the US to London, then connect to other oneworld partners to complete trips elsewhere.  Other oneworld partners do not charge any fuel surcharges.  These partners can include:

  • American Airlines (flights from US to London, where you can connect on British Airways elsewhere)
  • Cathay Pacific (flights to Asia via Hong Kong)
  • Finnair (flights to Helsinki and northern Europe)
  • Iberia (flights from London to Madrid)
  • Japan Airlines (flights to Asia via Tokyo)
  • Malaysia Airlines (flights to Asia via Kuala Lumpur)
  • Qantas (operates flights from London to Dubai)
  • Qatar Airways (flights to the Middle East/India/Africa/Asia via Doha)
  • Royal Jordanian (flights to Africa/Middle East/India via Amman)

US Airways will not allow you to route via Europe to the South Pacific region.  However, British Airways also operates a separate flight between Singapore and Sydney that you can redeem miles on.

US Airways allows you to fly from the US to South Pacific via Asia, so you can use partners American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines to fly to Singapore and connect to Sydney on British Airways.

How Do You Search for British Airways Flights?

The best ways to search for British Airways flights would be to use the British Airways website.

If you want to connect to other flights partners, you can also use the British Airways website to search partners, like

  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian

How Do You Book With US Airways Miles?

You cannot book US Airways awards online, you must call in.  The best ways to book with US Airways miles is to find award availability using online tools, and then call in at 1-800-428-4322.

US Airways charges several fees just for booking award tickets, including

  • $50 award processing fee (waived for US elite members)
  • $75 to book tickets with 21 days of departure (waived for US elite members)
  • $150 change or cancellation fee (waived for US Chairman Preferred elite members)

You must book round-trip awards and US Airways will not allow changes to your award once you fly the first flight.

Also, even though US Airways and American Airlines are in the midst of a merger, you can NOT transfer American Airlines miles to US Airways miles yet.

Good luck!

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