Our Whine Wednesday today is about airline award surcharges passengers face when booking mileage tickets and which have seen an accelerated increase once again during 2022.
Some airlines that were previously known for moderate surcharges such as ANA All Nippon Airways, suddenly shot up like crazy and are now scraping on the $1000 mark for a return flight in Economy Class.
Using ANA Mileage Club miles was one of my favorite redemption options, but their surcharges on ANA metal segments have gone up so much that it makes me question if this is the case any longer.
Previously ANA has rather low to medium range airline surcharges related to award tickets on their own flights but this has now changed dramatically.
Here are two examples that I pulled up today, the first one being for a flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo in Economy Class:
Just for booking an Economy Class ticket, ANA wants 55,000 miles round trip (not a bad mileage rate by any means) plus a whopping 124,130 Japanese Yen in taxes and surcharges, that’s US$860.
Another itinerary was Bangkok to Tokyo Round Trip in Business Class:
60,000 miles plus 60,520 Yen (US$415) surcharges for a Business Class Round Trip on this route isn’t exactly cheap either, considering the rather low actual airport and government-imposed taxes for this itinerary.
But ANA is far from being the only offender in this case.
Lufthansa has pretty insane surcharges as well, especially originating (ticketing) from North America:
Insane Surcharges For Lufthansa Premium Cabin Redemptions From North America To Europe
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are also quite bad when it comes to award ticket charges, and they have been for years. Especially when departing from the U.S. just as Lufthansa Miles&More.
And most recently, Emirates has increased their surcharges as well, and booking a flight between Europe and Australia on miles that now results in more than US$2600 in extra charges plus 405,000 miles for Business Class:
This is the worst award pricing I’ve seen anywhere by far. Something like that has nothing to do with a loyalty program or the promises of a “free flight” anymore.
It’s not like these surcharges are always related to a current crunch in oil and energy but often times airlines simply rack them up because they can.
Many airlines have increased the surcharges customers have to pay when booking an award ticket and these can now easily touch between US$500-1000 even for very simple itineraries. It’s therefore imperative to make a good comparison between the pricing of revenue tickets and awards, especially before transferring any currency such as credit card or hotel points into frequent flyer programs.
Even programs that were very moderate with their pricing for years (such as ANA Mileage Club) could suddenly have a very nasty surprise for their members once they price out an award ticket.