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 ba.com or avios.com:
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.
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, ba.com 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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)