Save Money on ANA Award Taxes & Fees

I’ve always been a huge proponent of ANA miles and I think they’re undervalued by many.

ANA miles are great because they afford so much flexibility in routing and stopovers.  With a few exceptions, you can basically do whatever you want as long as there’s award space–they just charge you based on the trip’s total mileage.

They’re particularly useful for East Coast to Europe round trips in business class which usually costs in the 63-68k range depending on your exact routing.  That’s amazing since 60k is the “standard’ rate for an ECONOMY class ticket across the pond with the US-based carriers.

However, one downside is they charge very high fuel surcharges on most of their partners–sometimes over $1000 per ticket!  (Another is the relatively large marginal premium they charge for flying first class vs. business)

The Points Guy recently did a long series on the ANA surcharges per airline, and based on that chart, I thought I had myself a nice little trip booked for next Spring:

Looks great on paper...

Looks great on paper…

As you can see, the computer couldn’t calculate the taxes and fees, so it’s listed as ***.  They required a call in to the ANA call center within 48 hours of booking to calculate taxes and issue the ticket.  OK fine…  but ANA’s computers “are shut down” on the weekend, strangely, so they actually called me this morning.

When they called me this morning, I was told the cash co-pay was over $800!  This doesn’t jibe with TPG’s findings, so I was a bit confused and looked into the matter.  Sure enough the Air Canada flight EZE-YYZ has a fuel surcharge of ~$430.

Mystery solved...

Mystery solved…

So there’s the fuel surcharge right there (red arrow).  And the rest of the cash surcharge is now pretty clear, too (yellow arrow).  Figures are in Argentine Pesos above.

So I got to thinking… you mean to tell me Air Canada charges fuel surcharge on their South America flights only?  So I found a transatlantic flight on AC and checked it out:

So far the same...

So far the same…

Sure enough… fuel surcharge of several hundred dollars.

Then I looked up the same routing on ANA:

Hmm...

Hmm…

Only ~$160.  And here’s how the fees break down:

No fuel surcharge!

No fuel surcharge!

Nothing but taxes…

So, it seems that the ANA agents pull the correct tax & fee info, but the website doesn’t pull through the fuel surcharge portion correctly (or perhaps it was intentionally omitted, though I can’t imagine that…).

So what did I find out?  Your itinerary with Air Canada needs to be bookable online or the ANA agents will pass along Air Canada’s fuel surcharge.  If you get the “***” in the total price box, you’re out of luck…

I’m going to keep looking into this to see if this issue applies to other carriers as well and will keep everyone updated, naturally.

Travel the World For Free!

Comments

  1. Great Find!

    • We Fly Free says:

      Thanks, Hans! I’m trying to duplicate the issue on other carriers, but so far it seems unique to Air Canada.

  2. Dude, all the “***” means is that you do not have enough miles so the system doesn’t even bother pricing out the taxes and fees.

    Also, you can call them and if they agents give you a higher amount of taxes, you can ask them to call the pricing desk. I have seen many people get lucky with the agents calling back in a day or two with lower taxes.

    Good Luck!

    • We Fly Free says:

      I block it out, but I have over 400k ANA miles. The ***, as verified by ANA agents over the phone, means that the computer erred in trying to calculate taxes.

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