Here's a little treat I stumbled across when searching for some flights: No fuel surcharge when redeeming transpacific flights between Santiago de Chile to Auckland, New Zealand on LAN Chile.
Avios redemptions are usually very poor value when redeeming for long haul economy flights because of the very large fuel surcharges British Airways lumps onto the “taxes, fees and surcharges” part of the ticket. Thus any way to reduce the fees can make it worthwhile.
But this gem was offered to me on an economy class round trip from Santiago (SCL) to Auckland (AKL)
I checked to see whether this was a glitch or whether this was a legitimate pricing. Using my favoured Matrix ITA, and clicking through to the taxes on an SCL-AKL round trip, the taxes do indeed add to £43.90!
So, count this as a game changer, as it's possible to fly round trip from Europe to New Zealand without paying fuel surcharge.
To fly the transatlantic segments using Avios without paying fuel surcharge (or at very cheap prices), you will need to book any of the following:
- Transfer your Avios from British Airways to Iberia and book flights Iberia-operated flights to South America. Conveniently they also fly from Madrid to Santiago de Chile
- LAN also fly Madrid to Santiago de Chile and do not charge fuel surcharges for transatlantic routes.
- Aer Lingus departing Dublin or Shannon to any other their USA detinations (off the top of my head there's Chicago, Boston and New York)
- All Air Berlin flights across the Atlantic
A fun bit of information: Spain and New Zealand are antipodean countries, meaning they are at opposite poles of the globe to each other. Thus there's no advantage flying eastbound or westbound — assuming you fly the same route home! The message here is that don't bother looking for flights flying over Asia as you'll have to pay fuel surcharge and you won't save any time either!