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Last night there was a lot of panic in the frequent flyer world when One Mile at a Time reported that American Airlines was going to start imposing new, high fuel surcharges and fees on international revenue and award tickets both on its own flights and on its partners.
I held off posting on it because phone reps get this sort of thing wrong all the time and mistakes are made, so I wanted clear confirmation from American about whether they would indeed be charging frequent flyers new, higher fees or not, and after a series of Tweets with American as well as reaching out to my contacts at the airline, I was given the following official statement by American’s PR department (bolding is my own emphasis):
“Last night, in a routine effort to better align American to industry standards with other global carriers, American began collecting carrier-imposed surcharges on tickets for travel on other carrier’s metal. This change was intended for revenue tickets only, but the surcharge was erroneously added to AAdvantage award redemptions on other airlines as well. Except in the cases of British Airways and Iberia (where American currently collects these surcharges), no carrier-imposed surcharges will be applied when redeeming AAdvantage miles for award travel on other carriers. Any customers who encountered this fee in error will be fully refunded.”
Turns out we can all breathe a big sigh of relief and that the only high carrier-imposed surcharges that will be imposed on award tickets are those already in place on American’s partners, British Airways and Iberia. If you did book a ticket and were slammed with high fees, call the airline and request your refund per the last line in the official statement.
It remains to be seen what the new “carrier-imposed surcharges for tickets for travel on other carriers’ metal” will be on revenue tickets, and I’m not optimistic, but stay tuned for more news on that front.