Bits: Qantas reduces Avios fuel surcharge, AA Avios booking problems, UK airport expansion

News in brief:

Qantas cuts fuel surcharges on Avios tickets again

There has been another small victory in the war on fuel surcharges on Avios redemptions!

British Airways has already scrapped fuel surcharges on short-haul redemptions which means that Reward Flight Saver redemptions are often now cheaper booked as 2 x one-way tickets. I saved £10 in tax on a Club Europe return to Germany last week via this method. There hasn’t been any movement on long-haul fuel surcharges, however.

On the other side of the world, Qantas has announced a second round of reductions on services departing Australia.

This is not hugely useful for most of us, especially as the discount is primarily on economy and premium economy seating. They are potentially most useful as part of a round-the-world trip. As an example, Sydney to Los Angeles is now just 50,000 Avios + £52 in economy one-way.

Qantas A380

American Airlines booking problems

There is a chance that this problem has been solved by the time you read this.  However, for the last week or so, American Airlines flights have not been appearing on ba.com when searching for Avios redemptions.

AA seats ARE still bookable.  The workaround is to visit aa.com and look for available redemption seats in the ‘SAAver’ category.  If you can see a seat, British Airways can book it for you via the call centre.

What history tells us about UK airport expansion ….

I haven’t spent much time writing about the proposed plan to expand Heathrow.  This is partly because it has been well covered elsewhere and partly because I doubt I will see it in my lifetime.

For those people who think me cynical, reader Leigh kindly sent me a link to this story from the BBC website.  It is a history of plans to expand London airport capacity, starting before I was even born in 1968.  And still nothing has been done ….

And the new IHG top tier is confirmed as ..... Spire!
£1,000 Club World BA flights to Hong Kong are back!
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Comments

  1. Mark B says:

    Might be wrong but I would have thought most of us travel economy, poibt of posting was a question though.

    With AA when the facility to book via BA returns, is the BA offer the same as AA I.e. using Avois instead of AA miles, with same amount of points an tax ?

    • When redeeming on long haul flights I’d have hoped most HfP readers would be aiming to redeem in business or above given the better value you get from your miles than in economy 😉

      On the AA question – no, they are totally different schemes, it’s just that as partners there is some read-across re availability. In general for long haul AA has lower taxes and miles requirements but for shorthaul (eg in Europe, USA and Oz) Avios is very competitive – you’ll see on the US blogs that many of them just use Avios for these purposes. AA also charges only a very small increment for first compared to business redemptions – not the case with BA!

      • Mark B says:

        Thanks Alan agree converting for business gives better value but I’m too tight with my points to do it, rather have an additional flight thought the majority would think the same.

        Regretting coverting my stash of amex membership rewards points into Avios and not AA now you’ve confirmed what I’d suspected:-(

        • Pat Butcher says:

          AA is not a uk MR partner anyway so don’t have too many regrets.

          • Can go Amex to SPG to AA but big loss.

          • Personally I don’t think its such a big loss if transferred during one of the many bonus windows. I transferred 80,000 MR for 40,000 SPG then into 60,000 AA I can live with the 20,000 Avios loss for lower award rates (for now) but mainly the much lower taxes and fees.

          • Mark B says:

            Ok assumed it was, feel better now :-)

          • Mark B says:

            Following up my earlier postings is there a way of converting Avios into AA?

            I note you can covert SPG points to Avios but it seems not the other way round,which was the only potential route I could think of

          • No

        • It certainly used to be the case that, for people mostly collecting Avios through credit card or Tesco spend etc rather than flights, that long haul economy redemptions with Avios were a bit of a waste given you could get better value from the points/spend elsewhere (primarily because of the high taxes and fees). That may be less true since the avios ‘devaluation’ which actually improved the position for BA off-peak economy flights.

          You’ll find most people here are earning for premium flights since the value per point against a cash fare is still so much greater, and therefore more worth the effort of collecting them. To make the points go further take a look at the BA Amex 2for1 vouchers or the Lloyds Avios Rewards card upgrade vouchers.

        • Idrive says:

          Mark i think you have lots of studies to do! 😉
          Take your time to read the Beginners section and search ‘Avios University’ in the search box.Raffles has written a collection of articles which will help you a lot in getting into the game.as you will see also from comments the goal for a majority(not all of course) is to maximise the value of the points,therefore flying high on the higher class possible. Though, things have changed a bit with the BA devaluation on 28/04 so read that articles too. All of us,of course, have our own targets,goals, spending capacity etc so there it is important you set your strategy and timeframes. Some people only can fly during school holidays,some fly with wife/companion some solo so really it is up to you and what you want! :-). Good luck!

    • On transatlantic routes, pricing is identical between BA and AA when using Avios. When using AA miles transatlantic, AA is £250 cheaper as no fuel surcharge.

      • On a side note, planning a Transatlantic trip from London to US mid-Oct using AA miles. Any ideas on the options with the lowest taxes + charges ?

        Have around 50K AA miles and can convert further AVIOS/ Virgin miles via tesco/Amex if needed for return leg.

        Am flexible travelling out of europe to reduce taxes/charges.

        Would appreciate any ideas.

        • Aer Lingus DUB to Boston cheapest as under 3k miles. 25k Avios return Eco and 75k return Business plus £75. Cannot do this on AA miles as they are not in oneworld.

          If you are using AA miles, taxes will be minimal as long as you are on an AA plane. You can avoid APD as well by flying out of Paris or wherever instead of London but for the sake of £150 I doubt that stacks up unless you see a bit of Paris too.

  2. Imbruce says:

    It seems as though the expansion of LHR is similar to the expansion of Sydney airport in that
    it is going to happen one day. Austalian politicians have been talking about Badgerys Creek as a second airport and they have squandered several million dollars on studies etc and still nothing.
    Why they just not build it years ago when it would have cost less is beyond me.
    I guess it’s what pollies do best and that is have empty promises and dither about everything.
    Anyway there will probably be another couple of feasibility studies or some such thing into
    both airports before anything happens, if ever.

    • From a UK aviation perspective it is a no-brainer of course. Gatwick isn’t a hub airport, and trying to create a split hub across the two won’t work as other cities such as Tokyo have discovered.

      I agree with Rob though, it is highly unlikely to happen – too many powerful voices with vested interests against Heathrow expansion. Even Willie Walsh thinks it is a lost cause.

      As demonstrated by the IAG acquisition of Aer Lingus what we will see is other cities such as Dublin taking the hub traffic, as we already have seen in the Middle East. In time that will result in fewer direct destinations served from London as the capacity is focused on the highest demand direct routes such as New York, and connections to nearby major hubs. The UK will lose out on stop-over visitors and potential growth in the UK aviation sector.

      • RIccati says:

        Well, the way how they manage Heathrow connections — with long walks and odd buses to drive to other terminals, which have remote sub-terminals (only one in T5 is linked by train but T2 is a looong walk), then with border and security checks that tend to send every other bag for an additional screening because, of course, transit passengers pose the higher risk…

        Heathrow wants to be a global hub but treats all transit passengers as unwanted and risky nuisance.

        They clearly do not have operational capacity and culture to run the current load.

  3. mikeact says:

    I think I’ll spend the day working out the ‘cheapest/Avios way’ of using Qantas to get 2xY one ways back from Aus to London with my wife. Perhaps it’s just me, but these sort of things always seem to take hours with me !

  4. Froggitt says:

    That airport expansion article missed out the “expand Stansted to four runways” scheme” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/10190194/Stansted-four-runway-expansion-would-cost-10bn.html

    I think its just a question of time before they relook at Boris Island/Maplin Sands etc, rather than bring down the government over Heathrow.

    • Lady London says:

      Heathrow expansion will go through. I remember they only got approval for terminal 4 on the basis that this would be the last terminal built at heathrow. and 25 years later we got terminal 5 approved. Third runway will go through too – there is space for it.

  5. James67 says:

    OT: BA have made a schedule change requiring me to wait 4hrs at LHR for a connection. This is unacceptable to me and if I cancel miles returned will effectively be worth much less as flight was booked before devaluation. BA refusing to credit me with additional avios as a good will gesture to compensate me for loss of value, and also refusing to reaccommodate me on a partner airline with more convenient schedule. I don’t see why I should suffer because BA wants to increase their profits but don’t want to come good for unintended consequences of devaluation. . Would be grateful for any advice on what do do next

    • The_Real_A says:

      I don’t understand – is it just the fact you must wait 4 hours in LHR? Or does it mean you reach your eventual destination too late for the purpose it was booked.

      If its the former – I wouldn`t say 4 hours for a connection was unreasonable in grand scheme of things. Perhaps push BA for lounge access if you do not qualify?

      • Idrive says:

        I would say both.it happened to me and i did not accept. Luckily AA rebooked me on BA with no issue. Has anyone recently flown on BA 747 Y class? I am in seat 34 the small Y cabin separate from the mass. How is it?

      • James67 says:

        It’s both. I consider 4hrs to wait for a domestic connection to what I believe will be last flight of the day to Edinburgh is too much after flying 13+hrs already. By that time of day any delays will also have built up, and given it will be winter, these are quite likely. My flight is CW so lounge access no problem but even so I don’t see why I should still be itting at T5 after I was expecting to be sitting at home.

      • First world problems huh!

  6. SydneySwan says:

    I was amazed to see that ‘Sydney to Los Angeles is now just 50,000 Avios + £52 in economy one-way.’ Using Qantas points costs 48,000 QF points + a quite unbelievable AUD348.

    • Given that GBPAUD is 2, 50k avios + £52 would be 100k QF points + A$104. $244 would be roughly worth the 52000 QF points shortfall, I think.

      • SydneySwan says:

        I am not sure. I was under the impression that 1 QF point was roughly equal to 1 avios