Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Fuel surcharges on award tickets are maddening and can cost you hundreds of dollars on what should be a nearly free ticket.
But if you use the right mileage program, you can often avoid them altogether, especially if you have a pool of transferable points to play with.
Airlines are terrible about disclosing when they add the surcharge, so to help, we’ve compiled the below tables of which programs add fuel surcharges to awards and listed them by airline. The table includes the most important transfer partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou.
It’s a pretty deep in the weeds process drawn in part from award searches we’ve done for others, calling to make mock bookings, and using award booking websites when possible, though there may be some omissions and we’re happy to make adjustments as things change.
To use the charts look for the airline / mile program combinations in dark blue, which have no fuel surcharges. You can zoom in on each chart by clicking.
Note that we left Alaska MileagePlan out to save space, but it’s pretty simple – just avoid British Airways to fly surcharge free with Alaska miles. And Etihad’s carrier surcharges are small when passed through – generally around $100 each segment in Business Class.
Apart from the chart, here are 10 general rules of thumb when it comes to fuel surcharges…
If you want to see how much a fuel surcharge will be, search for your flight on ITASoftware.com. Then click on the price to see more detail.
The fees labeled ‘surcharge’ in the fare add up are what you can expect to pay in addition to the normal taxes and fees. While it may not be exactly what you get charged (see Rule 6) – it’s usually the most you will possibly be charged and can help you see whether it’s reasonable.
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