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.