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Most of us in the travel hacking community know that fuel surcharges on award tickets are a total scam.  Invented by airlines as a way to both hedge against rising fuel costs as well as collect some revenue on award tickets, when fuel prices came back down, somehow the fuel surcharges remained…airberlin-logo

I’ve been doing some investigation on airberlin award prices, since the deal came out where you could get up to 9500 airberlin points for referring friends (still ongoing).  Along with some points that I already had, I currently have 10,000 airberlin TopBonus miles and so I was wondering what to do with them

How to use airberlin TopBonus miles

Drew at Travel is Free had a post a few years ago about the best uses of airberlin miles, and for the most part, that information still holds.  One option is a 50K roundtrip from the US to Europe, but you have to fly only on airberlin (or their subsidiary Niki).  There is also the idea of a 50% off companion ticket (basically buy one, get one 1/2 off), but the problem is fuel surcharges.  Even though we typically think of airberlin as a “good” airline to use (no fuel surcharges), that’s because when you redeem American Airlines miles, they don’t PASS ON the fuel surcharges.  Fuel surcharges on a US-Europe roundtrip ticket are about $550, which is… ridiculuous

The other good  use of airberlin miles is their Topdeal program.  It’s kind of like IHG Point Breaks, where specific routes periodically go on sale for as low as 2500 TopBonus miles

What the fuel surcharges?!?!

So I checked out Barcelona to Dusseldorf, which is currently on TopDeal for only 2500 TopBonus miles


So far so good. But then I checked out the total cost


What?!?  $65.40 IN ADDITION TO THE MILES?!??!  How much is a cash ticket?


What??!? A cash ticket is only $60.17?  Talk about a giant ripoff!  I guess I won’t bother with booking award flights on airberlin!

What’s the most egregious fuel surcharge you’ve ever seen?

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