Redeemed British Airways Awards 2006-2013? Get Some of Your Fuel Surcharges Back or Free Points

Six years ago I wrote about a law firm looking into a class action lawsuit against British Airways over its fuel surcharges. Several readers reached out to the firm.

The lawsuit was able to move forward because British Airways actually claimed their fees were to compensate for the cost of fuel. Of course the fees had nothing to do with the cost of fuel. In some cases customers paid as much or more than the equivalent cost of a paid ticket.

Lots of customers got excited about this because the charges are a pure tax on members. But the claim wasn’t that surcharges were illegal, just the way British Airways used to describe them. Airlines rarely impose fuel surcharges anymore, now they are just surcharges (money for no reason).

In 2013 the Department of Transportation said fuel surcharges had to be related to the cost of fuel so airlines just stopped calling them that.

Finally though that class action lawsuit has settled. And if you redeemed British Airways awards between November 9, 2006 and April 17, 2013 you can get your choice of either 16.9% of your fuel surcharges back or between 12,500 and 35,000 Avios depending on how many times you redeemed awards during this period. (If the Court doesn’t approve all the fees to the lawyers then the amount of fuel surcharges that will reimbursed will go up.)

  • The page to look up your benefits and file a claim will go live on Sunday although a copy of the claim form for cash already appears under ‘case documents’ on the website. You do not need to research and list out your awards and surcharges, no research is going to be required.

  • If your account is active and you don’t file a claim (and you don’t opt out of the class action), British Airways still knows who you are and you’ll get points if eligible. The claim form will be necessary if you want cash. I plan to ask for cash.

  • A final hearing to approve the claim will be held July 27. If there are no appeals, mileage deposits and checks could go out within 30 days.

The documents in the case make interesting reading in any case. And some interesting data:

  1. They’re prepared to pay out 2,228,677,500 Avios — that’s 2.2 billion.
  2. Or they’ll pay up to $27,125,000 if everyone opts for cash
  3. At 16.9% of fuel surcharges that means British Airways collected $160,502,965 in fuel surcharges just from U.S. members during the class period
  4. It appears they’re valuing Avios at 1.22 cents apiece.

Bottom-line: If you are a U.S.-based member and paid British Airways fuel surcharges you should get points deposited into your account — without doing anything at all — or if you prefer (and fill out a simple form) 16.9% of your cash back.

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. Wow that’s awesome; Although what would be better is getting them to stop collecting this junk fee on award tickets. I’ll take what I can get.

    Thanks for highlighting this, Gary.

  2. Same question as BC, I had several Biz class awards where I flew BA and paid BA surcharges but it was via AA Miles redemptions.

  3. Redeemed my AS miles during this period for multiple BA flights in F and paid thousands in fuel surcharges. Seems like these charges are not eligible for refund as they were not Avios awards 🙁

  4. Shame it’s only for US based members:( I hope there will be any follow up lawsuits in other countries as well (sigh).

  5. Unfortunately the devil is in the details, which aren’t quite available yet.

    I paid about $2000 in taxes, fees, surcharges, etc. for 2 RT Avios in C/F. How much of that is “fuel surcharges” v. other garbage fees & taxes?

    As a wild guess I’ll use $600 per ticket @16.9% = $101. Normally I prefer miles but I think I would take $200 v. 12,500 avios.

  6. Cool! I had three trips in that timeframe in F and J where I paid with Avios for me and two other family members, and I paid the surcharges for all three of us.

    I’m going file a claim for money. Since I don’t know if I’ll get the refund for all three of us under my account I also plan to file claims for the other two travelers just in case.

    Thanks Gary!

  7. using BA miles for RJ award back then, i believe there was some YQ… i would get some avios?

  8. If they are valuing Avios at a paltry 1.22 cents each, isn’t it better to take the Avios?

  9. The benefit options page is now live on the settlement website.

    They are offering me 35,000 Avios or $955. Not bad.

  10. My offer: 12,500 Avios or $211.11. At 1.69 cents/Avios, that is a bit rich of a valuation for Avios, but I may accept it anyway.

  11. Never received a unique ID or, indeed, any communication with BA about this. 2 round trips to Europe with my husband all paid for from my avios account during the correct time frame. I’m guessing BA never registered my new email address although I’m sure I had filled out the online forms correctly. I put in the correct email address on BA site but that does not seem to have helped. The phone number listed is just a recording, no one to ask. I’ve sent emails to the class-action suit folks over the last few days but so far no reply. Phone calls to BA on result in BA referring me to the website and phone number again. Any advice about how to proceed would be greatly appreciated

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