Airline Fuel Surcharges Guide

Airline Fuel Surcharges can add hundreds of dollars to an award ticket. Airlines added fuel surcharges when oil rose to record levels, but even though oil has dropped significantly, many airlines still add fuel surcharges.

Airlines with No Fuel Surcharges

Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest, Singapore, Etihad, Avianca, LATAM, Aeromexico, Air New Zealand, COPA, EL Al, Fiji, Hawaiian, Malaysia, Qantas (most routes), and Virgin Australia.

Points Programs that Don’t Impose Fuel Surcharges

United and Avianca LifeMiles. (e.g., Lufthansa has sky-high fuel surcharges, but if you use United or LifeMiles to book, you don’t pay fuel surcharges and only pay the taxes)

Countries that Restrict Fuel Surcharges

 Australia, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Phillippines, South Korea, and Thailand. (Booking one-way or round trips on high fuel surcharge airlines starting from these countries can save you hundreds of dollars. For example, a Lufthansa business class flight from Charlotte to Munich has $973.50 in fuel surcharges, whereas a business class flight from Rio de Janeiro to Frankfurt on Lufthansa has $0 fuel surcharges.) 


Finding Fuel Surcharges

You can look up fuel surcharges, taxes, and other fees for free by searching on ITA Matrix.  Below is an example of the information for a sample flight on Qatar Airways, which typically charges very high fuel surcharges. You could use American Airlines points to book on Qatar to bypass these high surcharges and only pay the remaining taxes and fees of less than $150.

 


Fuel Surcharges Imposed by Points System

Air Canada/Aeroplan

  • Fuel Surcharges: Air Canada, ANA (low), Asiana, Austrian, Cathay Pacific (low), LOT Polish (low), Lufthansa, and Thai.
  • No Fuel Surcharges: Aegean, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, COPA, Croatia Airlines, EVA Airlines, Egypt Air, Ethiopian, GOL, SAS, SWISS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines

Air France/KLM

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most partners
  • No Fuel Surcharges: Aeromexico and Delta (except departing Europe).

Alaska Airlines

  • Fuel Surcharges: British Airways, Hainan (low), and Icelandair.
  • No Fuel Surcharges: All other partners.

American Airlines

  • Fuel Surcharges: British Airways and Iberia.
  • No Fuel Surcharges: All other partners. (This makes Qatar Airlines an attractive award redemption)

ANA

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most partners.
  • No Fuel Surcharges: Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand,  Avianca, SAS, Singapore Airlines, TAP Portugal, and United (except to/from Asia, which are usually under $100).

Avianca/LifeMiles: No Surcharges.

British Airways

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most partners
  • No Fuel Surcharges: Aer Lingus, Alaska American (except to/from Europe), and LATAM.

Cathay Pacific

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most partners
  • No Fuel Surcharges: Aer Lingus and American (except to/from Europe).

Delta Airlines

  • Fuel Surcharges: Delta flights originating outside of the US. Aeroflot, Air Europa, Air Tahiti Nui, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Kenya Airways, and Middle East Airlines.
  • No Fuel Surcharges: Delta flights within the U.S.

Japan Airlines

  • Fuel Surcharges: Air France (reduced), Bangkok Airways, British Airways, China Eastern, Finnair, Iberia (reduced), Emirates, and their own flights originating outside of Japan. (JAL routinely changes the partners the add or don’t add surcharges to award flights. You can find the up to date list here)
  • No Fuel Surcharges: American Airlines, LATAM, Korean, Qatar, and Royal Jordanian,

Korean

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most partners.

Lufthansa

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most Partners.

Singapore

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most partners.
  • No Fuel Surcharges: Air Canada (within North America), Air New Zealand, Avianca, COPA, and United (within North America).

Virgin Atlantic

  • Fuel Surcharges: Most Partners
  • No Fuel Surcharges: ANA (domestic), Delta, Hawaiian, South African (short-haul), and Virgin Australia.

United: Does not add fuel surcharges.