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British Airways starts to cut long-haul fuel surcharges on Avios redemptions

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Yes, it’s true.  But only by a bit.  It’s a start, though.

I reported two weeks ago about how British Airways has scrapped ALL fuel surcharges on short-haul redemptions.  This means that some European redemptions are now cheaper booked as 2 x one-way flights rather a return, due to the way that Reward Flight Saver taxes are calculated.  (See this article for a fuller explanation.)

British Airways BA A380 flying

British Airways has now made a modest move on long-haul fuel surcharges, or ‘carrier imposed surcharges’ as they now like to call them following a lawsuit in the US.

On Monday night, the fuel surcharge on a long-haul economy flight was cut from £229 to £209.  It had already been reduced by £10 in December but no-one noticed!  It was £239 before Christmas.

The fuel surcharge on a long-haul premium class flight was reduced from £359 to £329.

Whilst these savings bear no relation to the 50% fall in the oil price in recent weeks, they still represent a £120 saving for a family of four.

I took a look at a one-way First Class redemption I have booked to Toronto in August.  The taxes and charges overall are £17.90 lower than when I booked.

Both Emirates and Qatar Airways have also made announcement recently about cutting their surcharges although no hard numbers have appeared yet.  A cut by Qatar Airways would be significant as it would directly impact the charges payable on Avios redemptions – if they drop far enough, it may become more cost effective to fly Qatar rather than BA, even if you had a 2-4-1 voucher.  I will be keeping an eye on this.

PS.  BA has been adding fuel surcharges since 2004, unbelievably.  I know that income tax was originally introduced as a ‘temporary’ tax back in 1842 but still …..

PPS.  The fuel surcharges on a full BA A380 were £132,011 return using the old numbers

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (83)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • James67 says:

    As regular readers will know I have been vocal on likelihood of this devaluation for past year. Despite this, I found the news this morning shocking and surprising. It is early days yet so we need to await fuller analysis but it would be foolish to believe other than that changes will be net negative as a whole. Despite this, there will be winners and losers and which you are may well vary as your travel needs changes over time. One thing of interest to me is the announcment that all avios related activity is being transferred from IAG to AGL. My reading of this is that BA intends to sell off AGL down the road meaning the rewards will be managed by an independent company with the result that further enhancments and devaluations are likely. I also commented recently on whether loyalty pays and if we would not be better focussing our efforts on maximising savings on a flight by flight or hotel by hotel basis. In light of all recent devaluations, and particularly now that BA is affected, I think this is an issue we should all now afford greater emphasis. I know Rob has been less keen on focussing HfPs on revenue promotions as opposed to points and miles earning and redemptions opportunities. Thus far this has in my view been the correct focus. However, as mileage and point schemes evolve in ways that make it more difficult for the majority of ordinary readers to earn and redeem I think it would be useful if Rob could allow HfPs to evolve in parallel by putting a little more emphasis on promos that save hard cash, particularly those from partners that earn avios at the same time. As the scheme rules become ever more complex, and the true cost of participation rises and benefits fall, it is important that we all do our homework on a trip by trip basis to ensure we are not actually being conned by our hobby.

    • Brendan says:

      Well said.

    • Rob says:

      The shift has already happened – there has been significantly more coverage of fare sales, basically Air France / KLM, Finnair and the Middle East ‘big 3’ over the last six months. There isn’t much more I can add to be honest because only the big hub airlines offer global coverage.

      I didn’t see your comment about selling the company before I posted the article that just went up. You have missed a key point – the guaranteed two seats. That is the key to everything and if you can’t work out why I will explain tomorrow.

      • James67 says:

        Ah yes, got it. The interesting consequence could be a short term boost to avios collection opportunities from launch promos, and hopefully a few very rewarding errors along the way. Probably a pipe dream though as the loyalty game has been around long enough to weed out naivity amongst manaent. Can still happen though…economist iberia! Not that that helps for those procrastinators like me. Almost messed up again today, the run on seats aound Xmas and new year was something to see.

  • Gordon says:

    I am sure many if not most people on here either focus on business or first class when it comes to long haul. Economy redemptions are simply not worth it. Looking at zone 5 for new york it appears that miles have effectively been devalued by between 25 and 33% for business class and 12 and 25% for first class. If you have family and your options are restricted to peak times then its the higher of these figures. If you live outside of London and have used connecting flights for reward saver then the devaluation is up to 50%

    • Kris says:

      Yup, it’s a double whammy for me. The Mrs is a teacher so we can only get away at peak times & traveling from Scotland means we’ll have to burn twice as many avios to get to Europe. Boo-urns!

  • Chewbacca says:

    Slightly off topic here but does anyone know how upgrading/downgrading on BA Premium works for resetting the renewal.

    Spent just over £10k on BA amex (basic) got Mrs to take out new BA Premium with me as supplementary. I understand that if I upgrade the basic to BA Preimum the £10k spend will convert to a voucher and the renewal clock will change to a year from now ie Jan/Feb 2016 before spend will qualify for a new voucher.
    Am planning to only spend on new BA Premium to meet referral bonuses and second voucher.
    If we upgrade the Basic, trigger the voucher then downgrade and subsequently upgrade will this change the renewal date each time? I was thinking that upgrading/downgrading might roughly average out at the equivalent of one £150 fee is this feasible? £300 for two cards mightn’t be worth it especially given these new changes?

  • Virgin Australia Kills Fuel Surcharge and More Fuel Surcharges News | The Lazy Traveler's Handbook says:

    […] 4. British Airways has just recently reduced fuel surcharges between Europe and North America by about 10%, and they have eliminated  them for their flights within Europe (HT to Raffles)! […]

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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