American Releases Some Great Business Class Award Seats

A week ago I gave American AAdvantage a hard time over lack of premium cabin award availability to anywhere any time on their own American Airlines flights.

I think that criticism was fare. However there’s now a little bit better availability on some routes, so in fairness it seems worth highlighting that. Los Angeles – Hong Kong is one route where award availability has seemed to open up quite a bit, with a couple of business class award seats available a reasonable number of dates between mid-May and mid-December.

Here’s (2) passengers in business class in August and September:

And here’s November:

There’s availability in the other direction, Hong Kong – Los Angeles as well.

Los Angeles – Hong Kong is one of (4) routes where American offers an upgraded premium product with better meals and pajamas in business class (the others are Dallas – Hong Kong, Los Angeles – Sydney, and Los Angeles – Auckland).

The Hong Kong flight is operated with American’s Boeing 777-300ER, which has one of my favorite business class seats.

American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

AAdvantage charges 70,000 miles each way for business class between the US and ‘Asia 2’ which doesn’t just include Hong Kong but allows you to connect to other cities in the region on Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines (or other airlines, for instance both SriLankan and Royal Jordanian fly Hong Kong – Bangkok).

Generally speaking when business class awards are available, confirmable upgrades are available too — so it’s a great time to book paid tickets on American to Hong Kong in economy and confirm upgrades as well.

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. They always seem to do this right after a scathing post to mollify the masses. Then a week later it’s back to zero.

  2. Agreed with Omar. Gary, please do a post on how bad J saver awards are to Europe in the last 2 weeks of May are please 🙂

  3. This time of year there should be tons of availability after spring break until early May. I think the U.S. Airways doctrine has seeped into AA operations. Between the devaluation and the lack of availability… Once I use my remaining miles I will just be a free agent from now on.

  4. On, I check the box “redeem miles”, enter from: MAD to: DFW depart 01/01/2018 and hit search, it takes me to select dates, I click “show full calendar”, then “business/first milesavver”, I see 57.5 in blue on 01/01/2018, I click on it, it turns yellow outline, and “continue” and new page displays with Dec 31st highlighted (I wanted 01/01/2018 and that is what I clicked, so why is it showing Dec 31st?), so then I click to Jan 1st and all it shows is 4 pages of 135K business/first anytime awards which it not what I wanted. 57.5k is no where to be seen. So then I have to click back on business/first milesaaver and now it shows 57.5k but they are all BA flights. If I uncheck the box “british airways” then all four options disappear. BA steals $218 in carrier-imposed fees ($428 from US to Europe), so I would NEVER use BA. I use the drop-down to select non-stop flights (why isn’t that drop down available on the very first page? why does this drop down disappear on this next page? On the first page I only selected American, I didn’t select other airlines, so why is it displaying other airlines?

  5. You used to be able to take a family on domestic and international trips using AA miles in either Y or J. Flash availability on limited routes is no replacement.

  6. easier to book over the phone than look at their online space

    ( Jal open if you book early using aa miles)

  7. Be careful…AA will show business or first availability, but some times it is only for the short connecting flight and not the TATL portion….

  8. Being LAX based, I had been tracking this route to use my expiring SWUs, its had a lot of open space in J both ways recently. I think we are seeing a couple of things with AA space right now, people burning SWUs the next two weeks and for the next 5+ weeks the end of the pre-devAAluation award bookings. You would think space would be better after that and with the new EQD requirement the thinning of the EXPs (next year) and less SWUs overall (more so with the reduction from 8 to 4 last year). I’m 8/10 in waitlisting my SWUs from last year to now.

    AA as we all know has done an extremely poor job of opening up space on their routes. Keep beating up on them as the reduction in benefits they provide really forces us to look into choosing an alternate carrier.

  9. See, I knew AA would do this. They are releasing award seats to relieve the criticisms against them. By releasing these seats they can claim: See we are not bad guys and we do release award seats. Plus with these random releases they can disrupt any thoughts by anyone thinking of suing them.

    In my opinion, the bottom line is some there are some parties who resent the bloggers and people who use miles, and are now just jerking them around by playing with the award seats so that only the people with complete travel flexibility can take advantage of the seats when they pop up. On one hand they are selling and promoting AA miles while on the other hand they are try to make it as hard as possible for their customers to get an award seat or upgrades.

    If they did not have such contempt for their customers, they would not be messing around with the availability of their award seats like they are doing. The most egregious and despicable trick they are playing is when they combine short distance business with long distance economy and count those as business class saver award seats flights. AA really should change their logo to the middle finger with wings.

  10. Bingo just booked 2 RT J seats in the mini cabin to Hong Kong in Oct, thanks Gary! There lots of space out there.

  11. @SurfinTex: I agree with you but I’m finding the value of my free -agency is equal to that of Tim Tebow’s in any sport

  12. I don’t know if this was reported in any blog, but I saw this reported from a meeting of Doug Parker (I think) and financial analysts on a business website. approximate quote – we are not going to give away free mileage tickets when we think there is a possibility of selling the ticket, even for a low price.

  13. “In my opinion, the bottom line is some there are some parties who resent the bloggers and people who use miles, and are now just jerking them around by playing with the award seats so that only the people with complete travel flexibility can take advantage of the seats when they pop up.”

    I don’t see how that is the case. A regular person, even one with complete travel flexibility, has no way of finding availability. The only time I can find any is when a blogger writes and article that some if available. It’s not like you can have AA email you when availability opens up.

  14. Gary american has released a massive amount of first class saver seats miami to milan for june thru july 4. Risk is they swap out old 777 for biz on 767-300 which begins july 5

  15. They threw out some crumbs and kept the bread for themselves. Shame on you American. You have to be a detective to find any saver availability. They are choking the golden goose. Goose and bread with a bottle of chianti. The “Silence of the Once Regal Bird.”

  16. We are trying to book a trip with American Airlines Award miles from the USA to New Zealand one way in January 2018 then 6 months later May-June 2018 one way from Tokyo back to the USA. My problem is the published award chart only has business class miles for AAnytime level 1 and 2. Is there an award chart published somewhere for the dates associated with the different for levels 1-5 or higher? We thought we had enough miles earned, but the levels are double the ones listed on the published chart for January 2018. Please help me find an AAdvantage award chart so I can figure this out! Thank you very much.

  17. Could this be because they want votes for the Freddie awards? Lets hold the awards each quarter if it makes airlines make seats available at saver levels 🙂

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