While I’m a big fan of American AAdvantage, that’s mostly for their generous top tier elite program and using their miles for awards on their airline partners.
American’s revenue management has been notoriously stingy about releasing seats for premium cabin international travel — over the past three years to Europe, and over the past 18 months or so even to Latin America and Asia.
What’s more, because American doesn’t have as many partners across the Atlantic as Star Alliance airlines do, that leaves few options.
- Their primary partner across the Atlantic is British Airways, and awards on BA incur fuel surcharges. You can come out of pocket an extra $800 or so on top of taxes and fees when redeeming miles to travel on BA.
- I usually find myself looking for business class awards on Iberia, Chicago / New York JFK / Boston / Miami to Madrid. They tend to be feast or famine, though of course connecting in Spain isn’t at all convenient for travel to Northern Europe!
So when American releases premium cabin awards on their own flights, that’s notable.
- It’s rare.
- It saves the extortionate British Airways fuel surcharges.
- American’s product — at least on the Boeing 777-300ER, the refurbished 777-200s, and the 787, as well as the legacy US Airways Airbus A330s — is quite good.
Wide Open Business Class Awards to Paris
Between now and March American Airlines award availability between the US and Paris is very good. The absolute best availability appears to be from New York and Philadephia, although there is also some space from Miami, and Dallas.
Monday and Tuesdays are the absolute best, there are days with 7 or more business class award (and upgrade) seats available.
But in the midst of winter you’ll see strong availability across several days of the week.
Here’s availability for four business class award seats, New York JFK – Paris.
Here’s availability again for four business class award seats Philadelphia – Paris:
New York JFK – Paris is operated by a Boeing 767, and I’m not a huge fan of the new business class seat.
Far better is the US Airways seat, an earlier version of the reverse herringbone business class offered on American’s 777-300ERs and on Cathay Pacific and others.
Cost of These Flights
Here’s what American charges in miles:
- American’s business class awards are 50,000 miles each way between North America and Europe
- American’s first class awards are 62,500 miles each way between North America and Europe
If you’re using miles from British Airways (a Chase and American Express partner) the price is based on distance. New York and Philadelphia – Paris will run 60,000 Avios each way plus fuel surcharges. Other cities to Paris cost 75,000.
Sure It’s Not High Season for Paris, But…
I visited Paris for Thanksgiving in 2009. And I went around Christmas and New Years in 2012 and 2014. I don’t make a point of spending a ton of time in Western European capitals, but there’s something special about the City of Light around the holidays.