American Airlines – the fuel surcharge scare that wasn’t

The blogosphere went wild 36 hours ago with speculation that American Airlines will start charging complete fuel surcharges for award tickets for all carriers (currently that is only happening for British Airways and Iberia).

Fortunately it turned out it was a honest mistake by the IT department.

Last night, in a routine effort to better align American to industry standards with other global carriers, American begin 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.

It still makes one think about booking trips instead of hoarding points. All carriers can implement changes (in fact they could do it overnight) to its award program. There is little remedy besides complaining via social media and blogs. So try to use your points as much as possible for those aspirational awards!