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The frequent flyer community freaked out over the weekend when expensive fuel surcharges popped on Delta awards flying partner Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class from the United States to Europe.

Delta already collects fuel surcharges on partner awards that originate in Europe.

But out of pocket costs skyrocketed a few days ago to around $500 for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class awards originating in the United States, and everyone thought it was yet another unannounced dig from Delta because, well, it wouldn’t be that surprising. Delta devalues their award prices all the time with no notice. However, considering the mileage prices of partner awards just shot up back in April, new fuel surcharges would have been a harsh rubbing of extra salt in the wound.

Thankfully, the expensive fuel surcharges that popped up out of nowhere appear to have be gone again, for the moment.

Let’s hope that was solely an error/bug on Delta’s part and not a precursor of what’s to come.

Prices to London Flying Virgin Atlantic

Delta’s partner award devaluation in April brings the cost of flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class between the United States and London up to 85,000 Delta miles when it was previously 70,000. It still costs 70,000 Delta miles to fly Delta Business Class instead.

It only costs 47,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles (during non-peak travel dates from the east coast, otherwise will be even more) to fly Upper Class between the two continents, but all Virgin Atlantic awards flying their own planes are subject to fuel surcharges that are especially high when flying Upper Class.

Remember, Don’t Fly Home From London

If you’re headed to London for a European vacation, avoid departing from London on your way back home (especially if you want to fly a premium cabin back to the United States). There are massive taxes on flights leaving Great Britain that you have to pay on awards. Avoid them by booking one way to London, taking a train or low cost carrier flight to the continent, and continuing your journey from a low tax country. You can probably break even and pay the same amount overall on transport costs traveling elsewhere after London as you would booking a roundtrip, and you get the added bonuses of seeing another destination.

Bottom Line

This past weekend fuel surcharges for around $500 were showing up on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class awards between the United States and London, but it was a false alarm. Once again the total out of pocket cost is just $5.60.

Mommy Points brings up a valid point that if you have been eyeing a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class award to London, it’s wise to go ahead and book now in case what we saw happen over the weekend was just a mistake of timing.

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