ANA fuel surcharges skyrocket — but here’s why you shouldn’t panic
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ANA Mileage Club is a popular program with award travelers, thanks to its well-priced award charts and the ease of earning points through American Express Membership Rewards. There are some quirks, though, such as that you can’t book one-way awards and that the program imposes fuel surcharges.
While fuel surcharges on ANA’s own flights have been relatively low in recent history, ANA doubled them at the start of the month. Unfortunately, this means these awards will have higher out-of-pocket costs for now.
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The news, which was first reported by The Lazy Traveler’s Handbook, means you can now expect to pay around $500 in taxes and fees on round-trip ANA awards between North America and Japan, regardless of the class of service.
A couple of months ago, these same awards were bookable for about $50 out of pocket.
So, why the massive increase?
ANA’s fuel surcharges have always been somewhat dynamic, changing every couple of months to adjust to real-world fuel prices. The current fuel surcharges will last from Feb. 1 to March 31. On April 1, the airline may increase, decrease or even eliminate its fuel surcharges, depending on the market price of fuel. Given ANA’s track record, I’m not too worried.
When ANA eliminated the bulk of fuel surcharges in 2020, the price of oil was down significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is also why airlines like Emirates and Cathay Pacific lowered their fuel surcharges around the same time.
ANA has seen fuel surcharges go up and down over time. What’s important here is that ANA isn’t making changes to its award chart. Otherwise, there would be more cause for concern about an outright devaluation.
Thankfully, not all ANA award tickets are more expensive. While you’ll face higher surcharges when booking through a partner like Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, the new fuel surcharges do not affect programs like Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles and United MileagePlus. These three programs never pass on fuel surcharges on awards to the customer. Regardless, ANA and Virgin Atlantic are often the best deals, given their low redemption rates.
Of course, Japan is still closed to American tourists, so this change only affects those booking connecting award tickets. However, you should watch other programs that often adjust fuel surcharges, as these could also skyrocket in the coming weeks due to higher fuel costs.
It’s also worth noting that this change does not affect partner awards booked with ANA Mileage Club. This means you can still score a lot of excellent deals with no fuel surcharges, like round-trip tickets to Europe for just 88,000 miles in United Polaris business class.
Feature photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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