Booking Star Alliance Awards Using Amex Points And No Fuel Surcharges With Aeroplan

Aeroplan is an American Express transfer partner. Points transfer instantly in my experience over the years.

The Aeroplan program is great for booking awards on Star Alliance partners. Nearer Europe is just 45,000 miles each way in business class.

But not all partners are created equal when using Aeroplan to book awards — because three years ago they started adding fuel surcharges onto awards booked with some airline partners.

Aeroplan does not impose fuel surcharges on all of its airline partners, though.

When they first introduced fuel surcharges, they offered an explanation like ‘they’d add them to airlines where that airline charges their own members’ but that never really held water and explained which carriers saw the junk fees and which ones didn’t.

There are no fuel surcharges when using Aeroplan points to book on:

  • Air China
  • Brussels Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • EVA Airways
  • Scandinavian
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United

Fuel surcharges are whatever would be charged on a similar, paid itinerary. LOT fuel surcharges are low, so booking an Aeroplan award on LOT Polish isn’t very costly.

Similarly, fuel surcharges vary by destination. Hong Kong is a low fuel surcharge destination, so it’s much cheaper to book an award on an airline where there are fuel surcharges if the destination is Hong Kong, than if the destination is many other places in Asia (say, Bangkok).

If you book an Aeroplan award without fuel surcharges, by using one of these airlines, and then after you’ve flown the first flight you wish to change your ticket — you’ll pay a change fee, but you will not pay fuel surcharges even if rebooking onto an airline where Aeroplan usually charges them.

You’ll want to try to book United, Brussels Airlines, or Turkish across the Atlantic (good luck finding Swiss space, or Singapore space New York JFK – Frankfurt using partner miles; SAS space isn’t great and their seats aren’t either in my opinion). And you’ll want to try to book EVA Airway or Air China across the Pacific — EVA Airways has one of the world’s best business class products, featuring Dom Perignon and pre-order meals, and Air China is better than you’d think with pretty good award availability from Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. TK Biz is a great redemption. Since they don’t have F, their Biz is really good, The onboard chef is a nice touch. Plus, their lounge in IST is arguably the best Biz lounge out there! Crowded, with all the A3 *G peeps, but still great!

  2. @murtuza: No, you only need to be logged in and it will tell you price in miles and taxes with zero miles in the account.

  3. For those planning on transferring miles, it may not be instant.

    I just transferred miles last week for a redemption on Turkish Airlines SFO-ATH and they took about 10 hours to post.

  4. Air India be added to the list. I booked a one-way from DPS to JFK with Singapore and Air India and taxes/fees was only $45

  5. Looks like this is no longer true:

    you will not pay fuel surcharges even if rebooking onto an airline where Aeroplan usually charges them.

    Tried last year and agent said have to consider YQ as part of the change cost.

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