American Airlines Makes Tons Of Cheap International Business And First Class Awards Available

American Airlines has added back more flights than Delta or United. They also appear to be pricing more aggressively, something that United CEO Scott Kirby has publicly said he will not do. For instance, here are American Airlines flights between Austin and Los Angeles this fall:

Under American’s revenue-based model low prices also bring inexpensive award inventory (there isn’t as direct a correlation with Delta). While there may not be ‘saver award’ inventory available, and that’s frustrating for those looking to use partner miles like British Airways Avios on American flights, there is often ‘slightly cheaper than saver award’ web specials available.

Often you’ll find the best award pricing on connecting flights, with American charging a premium for non-stops. They believe people will pay a premium for non-stops, and those are less likely to face competition. However right now there’s even cheap non-stop award space on American.

Let’s take a look at something that’s historically really tough to get – business class from the West Coast to Europe. However American Airlines flights from Los Angeles to London Heathrow and back are widely available for two passengers, November through May. 55,000 miles (web special) is a discount compared to the usual saver (57,500) price.

Even this calendar doesn’t give the full picture of availability – click through and you’ll find the 55,000 mile business class pricing available on both flights on a given day, most days, for two passengers.

If you’re looking at connecting flights things are even better, for instance you’ll be able to pick up first class at a discount (add a flight and first class Los Angeles – Heathrow becoems less expensive which would seem counterintuitive to some)..

Patrick Stouffer writes about widely available American Airlines first class awards, such as Newark – Dallas – Hong Kong for 70,000 miles each way; Indianapolis – Miami – São Paulo for 55,000 miles each way; Nashville – Dallas – Tokyo for 70,000 miles each way; Phoenix – New York JFK – London Heathrow for 60,000 miles each way. These are just examples.

Since availability tends to extend out through spring I consider it well worth taking a flyer on booking trips at this point. I’m surprised to also see some reasonable advance purchase activity on several European flights starting in June. Perhaps people are booking these now as part of packages, but it still impresses me to find June 2021 flights with more than 40 tickets already sold. A lot of people think that the world will be healing.

I’m optimistic about this myself, though not enough to be booking paid travel which is why the flexibility to cancel and redeposit mileage awards for a fee is appealing even under American’s new more expensive award fees.

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. This is unique for AA, certainly, but why on earth would I pay more miles for AA First? Even in the best of times AA First seems less inviting than J on any non-US carrier.

  2. First class on the triple is pretty nice, love the seat massagers. From the west coast, it’s a no brainer.

  3. I’m speechless at Americans generosity when We can’t legally fly to London
    They are true heroes
    For finally making business class as reasonable as Flying blue did pre pandemic

  4. What a shitty deal… Do you think the 55k is something that deserves so much attention for biz class award? When the regular usa EU price is 57k…. Come on Gary…

  5. You can fly to London. You just have to do the 14 day quarantine. Now is a great time to take a vacation. Rent a nice place to stay for couple weeks and then take another couple weeks to explore. I love American Airlines. Never had a bad flight. I am beginning to think the complaints I see are from people who are just never happy about anything.

  6. @Jon Seriously? May i ask if you’ve ever been on BA’s dorm style 8 across club world, or perhaps LH’s play footsie with your seatmate middle aisle J seats, or perhaps AF and its angled flat A380 J seats?
    Actually forget F, can we inquire if you’ve ever been on any European J?

  7. Thanks Gary. Booked a flight for my son and I to hopefully visit Japan next June on a boys trip. American has been great through this virus crisis in allowing us to rebook flights. We are taking a trip to Istanbul and Croatia next week after cancelling multiple trips since this mess started. Feeling better now about loading up on AA miles in April in my wife’s and my accts when they offered 100% matching and have a bunch of biz class long haul flights to burn now. Was definitely a risky move admittedly. And fyi, Americans can fly to the UK right now. You just have to quarantine.

  8. I seem to recall a bunch of restrictions on the “web specials”

    hardly seems worth the minimal savings if so

  9. @Sam (and others) – with cheap awards in 2021 there is no reason to think American’s can’t travel then. Even if we can’t it is worth booking the ticket IMHO since you can reinstate the miles for a small fee (assuming the fee isn’t waived as it is now).

    Personally I have a business class flight to Frankfurt in November on AA. I realize I may not be able to go then but can redeposit the miles (at no cost through end of year) and also can cancel the hotel with no penalty (didn’t pay a deposit and can cancel up to 48 hours prior to check in). IMHO, no downside to booking something like this and I plan to do the same for spring 2021.

  10. 40 seats sold sounds a lot like a group booking with the buy 19 get one free model of tour groups.

  11. @Talent Hacker – Historically all that has been available using American miles in business class to Europe for 57,500 miles is British Airways with extortionate fuel surcharges. What’s unusual is great premium cabin space *on American* which means saving ~ $1000 roundtrip per person.

  12. Go Go American Airlnes

    I Support YOU ALL THE WAY





    I have been cleaning up companies for 20 yrs. IT WORKS.


  13. @Sharon Ward, no some of us have real reasons for disliking AA, not because we dislike everything. Many of my flights with them have been so poor I can say with confidence that they were objectively bad, with terrible FAs and even worse service. But some have been OK. If I have to I’ll fly them, but they certainly won’t be my first choice. I’m happy that all of your flights with them have been good.

  14. I am a regular customer with your carrier and I’m currently in the United States waiting on a flight from Richmond into. To Miami to port of Spain. I would appreciate it very much if you can send me an email as soon as you get the green light yo fly to P.O.S.

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