No fuel surcharges – why you need to know about Brazil when traveling with miles

Posted on December 4, 2014 by in American Airlines AAdvantage

Travel to Brazil is a feat by itself – a tropical country with a great lifestyle and tons of things to see. But what makes Brazil so great from a Miles & Points traveler perspective is the option to travel with miles and NOT pay any fuel surcharges!

Many of the great airline products out there incur a hefty fuel surcharge when booking a Business or First Class ticket. Since Brazil thankfully banned fuel surcharges by law, fuel surcharges aren't charged. For regular tickets, this makes no difference, since the ticket price is simply higher – but for miles redemptions, this means a wonderland!

The exemption for fuel surcharges is usually valid for one-way and round-trip tickets departing from Brazil. So you will need to go to Brazil first (ideally with a program that does not charge fuel surcharges in the first place) and then plan your trip from there.

When departing from Brazil, fuel surcharges are magically waived! Below I have illustrated the difference of fuel surcharges using ITA Matrix. Airlines use the same data when calculating fuel surcharges. I have run some of the fares for Business Class, although First Class travel is often the most rewarding. The same fuel surcharge 'waiver' should apply.

Note that the comparison to a departure from Argentina is just an example. The Argentine special taxes are NOT charged for award taxes usually.

British Airways First Class Brazil to Europe, 90,000 AAdvantage miles

Transatlantic trips from the United States to Europe on British Airways usually involve an eye-watering fuel surcharge. Fees from South America are lower, but still considerable. From Brazil there are no fuel surcharges at all!

Air France First Class Brazil to Europe, 80,000 Korean SKYPASS miles one-way

Air France does not charge the $288 YR surcharge when departing from Brazil. Many of the Argentinean taxes have occurred because of the currency speculation around the Argentine peso.

Lufthansa First Class Brazil to Europe, 105,000 Miles & More miles one-way

Lufthansa 'waives' the $350 fuel surcharge from South America to Europe when departing from Brazil.

Emirates Business Class Sao Paolo to Dubai 45,000 Virgin America Elevate points one-way

While it is possible to book Emirates without fuel surcharges with Alaska Mileage Plan, the redemption rates for Virgin America Elevate are usually lower and more flexible.

South African Airways Business Class Sao Paolo to Johannesburg, 50,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles one-way

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a good program with a good award chart – just that the fuel surcharges can get in the way – but not when you depart from Brazil!

Qatar Airways Business Class Sao Paolo to Doha, 70,000 Avios one-way

Some Premium cabin redemptions with BA Avios are actually great value – that's a long flight on Qatar and it's free of any extra charges!

See you in Brazil!

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