ACT FAST: Business Class Award Availability With American Miles for the Whole Family, No Fuel Surcharges!

Booking Europe awards with American miles can be tough. American releases very little space on its own flights, and their primary transatlantic partner is British Airways — and British Airways fuel surcharges can be truly choke-worthy.

  • You can book British Airways space pretty regularly, it’s usually better to buy business class tickets when there’s a sale than it is to spend for fuel surcharges since your miles may save you only a few hundred dollars.

  • Iberia availability booked far in advance can be really good. Sometimes airberlin has seats.

  • And American opens its own space in spurts, tons of space for a few days and then it’s gone. You have to jump on it whenever it appears.

Right now though there’s something of a unicorn: amazing award space for the whole family on American’s oneworld partner Finnair. That means great saver pricing and no fuel surcharges.

Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

oneworld member Finnair flies New York JFK – Helsinki daily. It has six or more business class award seats most days across much of the schedule.

Availability is almost as good in reverse.

Finnair flies Miami – Helsinki three days a week. And it goes from having business class award space open for 2 passengers only a couple of days a month to most days they operate the flight in late January. This lasts through end of schedule.

About half of these dates appear to have four or more business class award seats available. And availability looks similar for Helsinki – Miami as well.

Finnair flies Chicago – Helsinki from early April through late October. While availability for 6 or more business class awards can be found mostly on the weekends, a smatter of other days during the week will have (fewer) business class awards available.

Their US routes are operated by Airbus A330-300s equipped with Thompson Vantage business class seats. This is essentially the same seat American puts on its Boeing 767s. However since the fuselage is wider the configuration isn’t a straight 1-2-1 with direct aisle access for all seats. Instead they alternate with a 1-2-1 and a 2-2-1 configuration. There’s either a “throne” seat as its often referred to or a pair of seats at one window.

American’s Thompson Vantage Business Class Seat (Boeing 767)

Of course Finnair’s catering is going to be better than American’s, and their lounge in Helsinki will be very good (with the showers and sauna being a highlight).

And you can use Finnair to connect from Helsinki across Europe and American includes that as part of the award. Or you can connect to British Airways or Iberia for European travel too.

American charges 57,500 miles per person each way in business class without fuel surcharges. Other Finnair partners will add fuel surcharges to awards.

(HT: Marty K.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Think most of the FinnAir space is phantom availability 🙁 I’ve been trying to book it for the past few days to no avail

  2. I’ve gave up using AA miles for TATL flights as the choice offered is mostly BA and fuel surcharges. The best availability of AA miles I’ve found is on US-Asia, Asia-Australia, Asia-Europe, Asia-M.E. routes. These are usually on AA, CX, Royal Jordanian, Malaysia, JAL metal. Finnair can be had at times. QF is hard at anytime and for anywhere.

  3. It seems that other than coach award seats for biz/F is drying up rapidly especially when using AS miles to their “partners” Even American has seem a huge drop in availability up front. Interesting and challenging when your a AS FF getting good seats internationally.

  4. I have been searching for business space on Finnair from Florida to Helsinki for weeks now and it’s mostly all phantom. Except for one time last week at 3 am, I actually found 2 flights which I book immediately. It still took a week and plenty of phone calls to actually get it ticketed, though.

  5. The itinerary I pulled up I managed to hold without difficulty. I’ve gotten word from others too. So while there may be phantom inventory at play, there’s some out there too. Frustrating.

  6. It’s been like that for months. One seat is frequently available, but more than 1 almost never sticks.

  7. I know all about the AY phantom space on AA, but i think this is legit. The Asia Miles online search finds space. I’m seeing space for two on a bunch of dates in june (didn’t try others). I also called and the phone agent could see the space as well.

  8. I put three itineraries on hold. Of course I can’t find any availability on positioning flights, but I guess that’s life these days. Has anyone had any trouble ticketing an itinerary that was on hold with AA with Finnair flights?

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