The Basics Travel Guide

How to Avoid Paying High Fuel Surcharges with Aeroplan – For Awards Between US and Europe

lufthansa first class
Written by Charlie

If you want to book a business class or first class award between the US and Europe, Aeroplan is a great way to do it! Here are a couple of tips to avoid high fuel surcharges with Aeroplan to let you enjoy it more!

Fuel surcharges are something we love to hate – it is basically a way for airline award programs to hit their customers with a tax when miles are used. Not all airlines charge them (thank you, United and LifeMiles) and some are worse than others (looking at your, British Airways!).

How to Avoid Paying High Fuel Surcharges with Aeroplan

Avoid high fuel surcharges with Aeroplan

Flying Lufthansa business with Aeroplan miles can cost a lot in fuel surcharges – about $600 in fuel surcharges

If you are going to be taking advantage of the Aeroplan transfer bonus with hotel points or you just plan on using Aeroplan miles for a business class ticket across the pond, you probably want to pay as little in fuel surcharges as possible! Here are two ways to do that.

Pick the Right Partner

Aeroplan will not pass along fuel surcharges if you book award travel between Europe and the US with certain partners. While the luxurious Lufthansa cabins will cost you that premium in fuel surcharges, other partners will not – and they can be just as lovely! Here are the Aeroplan partners that will not cost you fuel surcharges on these awards:

  • LOT (hub city of Warsaw, Poland)
  • SAS (hub cities of Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Turkish Airlines (hub city of Istanbul, Turkey)
  • SWISS (hub cities of Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland)
  • United Airlines (hub cities of Washington, DC, Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, and San Francisco)
  • Brussels Airlines (hub city of Brussels, Belgium)

Note: Using Aegean miles instead of Aeroplan miles can save you for business class but you will pay fuel surcharges for SWISS and smaller surcharges for Turkish.

Fuel surcharges with Aeroplan

Using Aeroplan miles to book business class on certain partners can eliminate those annoying fuel surcharges

While flying Lufthansa First Class is an awesome experience, you can still enjoy a great business class experience with carriers like Turkish and SWISS without having to pay hundreds of dollars for a one-way business ticket on Air Canada, Austrian, or Lufthansa!

Best business class meal

The SWISS throne seat in the mini business cabin

Depart from Europe to the US

If your heart is absolutely set on flying Austrian or Lufthansa business class, there is a way to save some money on those surcharges. The way to do that is to book a ticket that begins in Europe for the US – not the other way around.

Avoid high fuel surcharges with aeroplan

The fuel surcharges for a Lufthansa business flight from Europe to the US – about $230

I realize many of my readers are US-based so the best thing to do would be to book a one-way award to Europe using one of the airline partners above that do not have fuel surcharges.

Then, for the return, book a one-way from Europe using Lufthansa or Austrian. Not only will you pay less in fuel surcharges but you also get to enjoy home-based catering and great carrier lounges (or even the First Class Terminal if flying Lufthansa First Class!) before your long-haul flight.

If you wanted to, you could also book a round-trip award departing from Europe to get lower fuel surcharges for the return flight from the US as well. This could save hundreds on the US-Europe segment over booking an award that begins in the US.

Avoid high fuel surcharges with aeroplan

This is the full amount for a round trip if you start in Europe – about $460USD for the roundtrip

This in contrast to the huge surcharges you would need to pay if you book a roundtrip from the US on Lufthansa – about $1,150 USD!

Avoid high fuel surcharges Aeroplan

This is a roundtrip award from the US to Europe – with huge surcharges totaling over $1,000 per person!

In fact, booking a roundtrip on Lufthansa departing from the EU will cost less in surcharges than a one-way from the US to Europe!

Again, this isn’t optimal for US-based travelers but definitely consider enjoying your Lufthansa/Austrian business/first class experience departing from Europe instead of from the US. Plus, you will get more time on the Europe-US flight than reverse!

Ideally, use Turkish from the US (because they offer the longest flights to Europe – more time to sleep) and Lufthansa/Austrian for the return!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.