Another travel blogger, Extra Pack of Peanuts has a superb post on airline fuel surcharges (YQ taxes). You definitely want to avoid these as they can really blow your budget!
If you’ve been following my strategy of joining my Top 8 Frequent Flier programs for eco-tourists, here’s the ones you need to look out for:
AA – Avoid redeeming on BA & IB, others have no YQ charged
UA – No YQ charged
US – No YQ charged
AV – No YQ as of this date.
BA & IB – I recommend transferring all Avios to BA as IB doesn’t allow one-way redemptions. There are no YQ charges on my recommended uses on LAN, you are also safe on Aer Lingus, AA in the Americas, Air Berlin and flights within Europe.
QF – Charges YQ on most redemptions. However if you use them for domestic or short Pacific region flights it’s not too much. I did a sample booking for BNE-NAN and ALL taxes including Aussie taxes was $84.
VA – No YQ on VA flights and you can use points to pay for the other taxes. I only recommend using Velocity points for domestic Australian or short-haul Pacific though they sometimes have good rates to the USA. Nothing wrong with the airline but AA, UA and US are cheaper on this route.
SQ – No YQ on UA, US or NZ flights within the South Pacific (as of 2012 at least).