With American AAdvantage devaluing its award chart March 22 there’s a ton of last minute requests for space.
For quite some time American has been really really tough with award space on their own international flights. However American has been going to lengths to improve their premium cabin award availability. At the end of last year American finally opened pretty good award space on their new Sydney flight. I covered the floodgates opening for award space on London routes. And how they opened up China flying. That was just the start. And they opened up space to Auckland, too.
It seems though that right as the window is about to close to book at current prices, American has shut the window on availability for many of its own flights.
For instance, here’s a search for business class Dallas – Tokyo for 2 passengers. I’m not limiting the search to non-stops.
Here’s Chicago – Beijing, again not limiting to non-stops.
There’s simply not any saver business class availability on routes that had quite a bit up until recently.
American’s transpacific airline partners that fly to and from the US — Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific — aren’t searchable at AA.com. The best thing to do is to search the British Airways site for award space and then call American to book (American won’t charge a telephone booking fee for awards that cannot be booked online).
However for the most part those partners are little help. Cathay Pacific’s first class space is tough to get except at the very last minute if you want more than one seat, or booked far in advance (usually just for one seat). Japan Airlines is tough to get outside of the last minute.
So it seemed worth passing along one route where availability is quite good. This is a search for 2 business class seats, though quite a few dates have more (usually 3). It’s Los Angeles – Osaka.
Japan Airlines serves the route with a Boeing 787. They ordered the planes, which were subject to delivery delays, long enough ago that they still have angled business class seats (both angled and fully flat configurations are six-across, but angled has a full row of 6 seats in row 10).
This won’t be the most convenient for everyone, though you can include flights to and from Los Angeles for no additional miles with American AAdvantage. What it is is a ‘go to’ route when what you’re looking for isn’t available that still lets you fly transpacific in business class.
And you’re not stuck in Osaka, of course (though it’s worth a visit). Japan Airlines has an international route network out of Osaka, though somewhat more limited than out of Tokyo. And Cathay Pacific operates flights to Hong Kong and beyond.
Looking for instruction on how to make the most of your American AAdvantage award? Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Booking Award Tickets Using American Miles.