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Using award miles, fly free but pay taxes

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I'm wondering, when I was working on our latest trip to Europe, using our AA award miles, there was a HUGE difference in how much we were supposed to PAY TAXES, based on which airline we'd be flying with, yet when one purchases a ticket, the prices are very much the same...

Like: Flying Chicago to Madrid in Business Class, if we went with British via LHR it would cost us SUBSTANTIALLY more than flying Iberia direct. The AAdvantage agent explained that the reason is the higher taxes British is charging.

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