How to use Avios on oneworld partners for transatlantic business class flights without fuel surcharges
Reader Rene is asking: How can I use Avios for transatlantic flights without those pesky fuel surcharges on British Airways?
Currently you can use US Airways Dividend Miles on British Airways to fly without fuel surcharges. But let's focus on using Avios.
Avios from Europe to the US East Coast can be a good deal since it's just 40,000 Avios in business class (depending on the distance). This is the same as the American AAdvantage charges but Avios are often easier to get.
To find out the routes per carrier consult this page.
It's also a good idea to avoid flights from London since you will be hit by the very high APD charge for flights originating from London.
Availability isn't great but Air Berlin runs flights from Dusseldorf (DUS) to several US destinations. In summer the airline adds flights from Berlin Tegel as well.
The new business class lie-flat product is pretty good and it runs to most US destinations.
To find availability, log into your TopBonus account (you can create one for free) and search by segment for your dates.
Dates that show available on Air Berlin should show also available on BA.com. Since you pay per segment with Avios it is a good idea to book direct flights.
This new oneworld member never released too many business class seats as a Star Alliance member and this does not seem to have changed. However, I checked for dates at the end of Thanksgiving 2014 to return from Europe and several European destinations showed availability.
Again you should start your search on the airline's website. US Airways has a convenient way to search flights for the whole month. The color indicator shows how many miles are needed. Only the lowest bracket is available to partners. This is what you are looking for!
Then plug those dates into BA.com.
The US Airways business class product is excellent and while catering can be so-so, the seat is the same mini-suite you probably know from Cathay Pacific business class flights.
Flights to the US West Coast are more expensive and since you pay per segment you will be charged extra for the transcon.
American is just about to update its business class cabins to lie-flat. Most flights to Europe that do not come out of London won't have it.
You can search American Airlines operated flights in a month-long search via aa.com – use the American Airlines flights only. Thanks @dstinationdavid!
Also Expertflyer.com (paid subscription) does a good job for this.
While American does not charge a fuel surcharge when booking through AAdvantage, it DOES charge a fuel surcharge when Avios are used 🙁