Canadian Kilometers pointed out a FlyerTalk thread yesterday morning that indicates US Airways is charging a fuel surcharge for some partner award bookings. FlyerTalk user Nepal72 said he was told by a US Airways representative that they are now charging a fuel surcharge as of May 7th, 2014. This was confirmed by another user as well. I called myself to double check a Cathay Pacific booking from the US to Hong Kong and found that fuel surcharges were not charged. I actually confirmed and booked the ticket as well, just in case.
US Airways is screwy though, so anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean much. They don’t even follow their own rules sometimes, so you’re sometimes able to get away with things you wouldn’t be able to with other programs. If, however, this winds up to be true and not just a one-off mistake, then that’s quite a massive devaluation in my eyes. US Airways offers a 100% bonus on purchased miles every single month, making it easy to buy miles at between 1.2 and 1.8 cents, depending on the specific promotion. At those prices it’s usually a good deal to buy miles if you’re not a heavy manufactured spender, so I would guess than many people in the frequent flyer community have a small stockpile of US Airways miles.
US Airways and American Airlines (the two airlines that are merging) are becoming quite untrustworthy. Just last month I wrote about how both airlines devalued their rewards program without any notice. Those were still mild devaluations, but still were surprising and angered many people. Gary Leff of View from the Wing said he expects American to be more forthcoming in the future, otherwise it will have completely eroded his trust in the program. US Airways’ Dividend Miles program, however, is a completely different animal!
Changes like this are dirty in my opinion and, as Gary details, it undermines any trust that we might have in a program (hint: we shouldn’t trust them at all). Still, I’m using this opportunity to tell everyone once again to take those vacations you’ve been putting off. Burn those miles, especially the US Airways ones if you have them.