Something I never knew …. Tokyo has lower taxes when Avios flight tickets are booked as 2 x one-ways

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Many Head for Points readers will know that not all Governments take the same happy view on airline surcharges that you get in the UK.  Hong Kong and Brazil are two countries which are well known for having restrictions in place on what airlines can add to the base cost of a flight.

What I didn’t realise until this week is that Japan also imposes a cap.

A quick recap on Hong Kong

I’ll quickly recap the Hong Kong situation for anyone not familiar with it.  Airlines are not allowed to levy surcharges on flights FROM Hong Kong when the journey originates there.  This means that if you buy a return flight to Hong Kong starting in the UK, you WILL pay surcharges on both legs.  If book your trip as two one-way flights, the return leg should be free of surcharges.

Here are some example using Avios redemptions booked at or

Return business class flight to Hong Kong on Avios has taxes of £563

One-way business business class flight to Hong Kong on Avios has taxes of £365

One-way business class flight FROM Hong Kong on Avios has taxes of £33

Anyone with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher is getting a raw deal because those tickets must booked out of the UK.  You are being forced to overpay £165 per person in tax compared to booking each leg separately.

Avios taxes on flights to Tokyo

Let’s look at Tokyo

Until a reader pointed it out, I didn’t realise that Tokyo was in a similar position.  Here is the cost of a business class Avios redemption to Tokyo:

Return business class flight to Tokyo on Avios has taxes of £548

One-way business business class flight to Tokyo on Avios has taxes of £365

One-way business class flight FROM Tokyo on Avios has taxes of £114

This means that, if you are not using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher, you can save £69 per person by booking an Avios redemption on BA to Japan as 2 x one-way tickets.

PS.  As usual, shows the incorrect taxes figure when you initially price up a flight online.  You only see the correct number when you click through to the final payment page.  This applies to many Avios flight quotes, not just Hong Kong and Tokyo.

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  1. Bails from Oz says:

    I have just emailed Iberia Plus customer service with details of the overcharged Carrier Charges for the BA redemption between HKG-LHR. I don’t hold out much luck with this one, even though In other dealings with IB+ they have responded in a timely manner, albeit with a somewhat gruff manner over the phone.

    • Good one! Well hopefully, the more of us that raised maybe, though I don’t have much hope with Iberia, something might happen and these changes are looked into! After all if it is illegal to be charged and if BA themselves aren’t charging it on their own programme, why are IB?! Crazy! ????
      Wish Rob would cover an article on it instead of just stating it would have to be me making the court case! HFP has a lot of influence directly and indirectly. If all the travel blogs do it, then it’s bound to change. It happened with the Singapore points inaccuracies! Anyway, I’m not the website owner, so let’s see!

    • Bails from Oz says:

      As expected I received a response to the enquiry that as I had accepted the T&Cs there is no possibility of review. I have re-entered the enquiry and also forwarded to BA Customer Relations, as it appears that IB+ acting as the agent selling BA tickets is making up a carrier charge for this ticket, which would appear to be a form of fraud. I agree with you Nik that I would hope Rob could discuss this issue with his contacts within BA and Iberia as these sort of pricing errors without any possibility of review (except cancellation) are doing the reputation of both airlines no favours.
      Next point of call will be Social Media.

      • Well the person I was speaking to within IB was not at work today and will be tomorrow, so hopefully she has received responses from the IB+ team with an explanation. Good that you’ve raised it with BA too! There is definitely foul play here, or maybe just an error in IB’s system that they’re unwilling to sort out when mediocre members of public like us try to raise it? Hence why been trying to grab attention of these blogs, tried Rob – no luck, tried another one, they don’t seem to be interested? I dunno?
        Let us know what happens at your end next though! 🙂

        • Hi everyone,

          As an update, my Iberia colleague pulled all the strings and the issue is solved! It apparently appears that BA was sending Iberia the incorrect schedule of charges they’re supposed to levy or something which is what caused the carrier surcharge to remain? Somehow this makes me think maybe BA were playing foul and thought they could get away with it if they sneaked it into one of the lesser used OneWorld programmes! Either way it’s solved and there are no surcharges ex-HKG when redeemed via IB plus also! Victory! And I managed it without a court case haha! ????

    • Michael says:

      Fantastic! Well done 🙂

  2. *I meant Iberia contact! Not colleague lol!

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