Another Go-To Route For Wide Open Transatlantic Award Space Using American Miles

Last week I highlighted copious transatlantic award space on American Airlines in business class for the whole family. That’s a bit of a unicorn. Ever since US Airways management took over at the airline, finding overwater business class saver awards has been a challenge. They raised $10 billion in debt against their loyalty program but still don’t see frequent flyers as paying customers when redeeming their miles.

Transatlantic awards using American AAdvantage miles are especially tough because not only are awards rare on American’s own flights, but their primary partner across the Pond is British Airways and those flights incur monumental fuel surcharges. Taxes and fees an exceed $1500 roundtrip. (Hint: if you are going to book these flights, book one-ways, because fuel surcharges will be lower than a roundtrip originating in North America.)

There’s another interesting opportunity using American’s miles to fly transatlantic right now, and I wanted to flag it because it highlights another principle. There’s great award space in business class for four or more people on the Charlotte – Munich route during the first four months of 2022.

These are not saver awards. That means you can only book these flights for this many passengers using American’s own miles. If they were saver awards they’d price at 57,500 miles one way. Instead, depending on the date, awards are being made available for 60,000 or 66,000 miles.

At the point where they’re willing to take 60,000 miles the award, is it that hard to make seats available and call them saver?


American Airlines features two different business class seats on Boeing 777-200 aircraft. This is the Zodiac ‘Concept D’ seat.

Instead these are ‘web specials’ which means that there are no changes permitted. For simple itineraries that’s no big deal because American eliminated all cancel and redeposit fees for awards (for all members, this is no longer a benefit restricted to Executive Platinum and Concierge Key members). That means you can cancel the ticket, get your miles back, and book a new ticket.

Web savers, then, simply aren’t as restrictive as they were before the pandemic when they were not changeable and redeposits came at a cost.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. @Patrick, they can be canceled but not changed. That’s why Gary says for simple itineraries it’s no big deal – you could cancel and then rebook.

  2. I recently booked and flew Covid-free flight AA240 SNA-DFW-FCO in business for 57,500 AA miles, and can report that these were my wrost flights ever! I’m sure that AA will blame it on Covid.

    Was denied access to the AAdmiral Club in SNA! I complained in a tweet to AA to which they replied with a link to their T&C! Moving on, the flight amenities were not offered, alcohol was restricted and unless you ask, they won’t serve. The food was of very inferior quality and came in a tray like the coach class. The flight attendant in charge of our section was Mrs. Mussolini and one of the rudest people I have ever encountered in my LIFE!

    The bottom line is we got there safe in a larger seats – that’s it! If you are a small person (in size) debate if you should spend extra miles for “business” class seats on AA.

  3. So it takes more than a pandemic to find 57.5k “saver” award seats but you can find “Pandemic Awards/Web Specials” for 60k. This is certainly reflective of the devaluation of AA since their merger.

  4. Bummer these cannot be booked through other programs like Etihad Guest. I think that’s why they charge a small premium and label these Web Savers — they aren’t released to partners.

  5. I echo Kalboz statements 100%. AMS-PHL was the worst flight I have ever had and AA clearly have some of the worst stews flying. Sitting in 1A and after speaking with the purser not once, not twice, but three times before I got up and moved to the third row from the rear of coach! It’s was like they were yelling (with ear plugs in). The large coach tray, the plastic cup filled to the brim with wine (it was hard not to spill it and I assumed they did that since they weren’t coming back.). After writing to AA to complain, they apologized and advised me that they appreciated my feedback and that “I was the reason we fly”.

  6. Kalboz and TG. My last three Atlantic trips with UA have been pretty much the same as your experiences with AA. Giving up, heading to London tonight on BA instead of UA. Fingers crossed.

  7. I just flew PHL-DUB-ORD on AA in business and it was great. I know some folks have had bad experiences, but it’s not all bad.

  8. @John – I agree. Long time EP and now lifetime Platinum (w 3 million miles) since I retired. Frankly, I think a lot of people get on board looking to complain about something. @Kalboz – sounds like you didn’t understand the reduced service during COVID. AA hasn’t gone back to full service menus and delivery. As for drinks, I never have a problem with a flight attendant bringing me one if I ask. Also, I have rarely had a rude FA, I think some people get on board feeling entitled or looking down on “those people” which they can quickly determine. I try to be friendly and respect them – it works for me so maybe you should try it!

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