British Airways Cuts the Cost of Most American Domestic First Class Awards in Half

British Airways charges 7500 points each way for non-stop flights on American or Alaska Airlines up to 1150 miles.

American Airlines Coach — Survivable as an Executive Platinum with Extra Legroom and Snacks/Drinks

Alaska Airlines sells its front cabin as ‘first class’ even though by world standards it’s business class.

  • Business class would cost 15,000 points each way (2x coach)
  • But first class costs 30,000 points each way (4x coach)

American Airlines is also selling its forward cabin as first class through January 10.

Baltimore – Miami is 946 miles:

As a result, American Airlines first class costs 30,000 miles one-way right now.

Effective with flights starting January 11, while American is still calling its premium cabin first class, they’re using business class fare buckets.

As a result British Airways appears to be going from charging 30,000 points one-way to charging just 15,000 for flights up to 1150 miles.

This could just be a temporary phenomenon, they might choose to re-align their pricing to match the fiction that American Airlines premium cabin is a ‘first class’ product as it’s called. But for now British Airways awards for American Airlines forward cabin flights up to 2000 miles cost just double the cost of coach (flights from 1151 miles to 2000 miles in length are 10,000 miles for coach and 20,000 for business).

American Airlines Domestic First Class

Right now there’s not a ton of domestic first class award or upgrade space available on American, period. The update to booking classes ran over this past weekend, so hopefully that situation is temporary although there was a rumor before the changeover that it wouldn’t be.

(HT: Lee W.)

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. Great post Gary, thank you. Bet redemptions are down substantially. The BA value proposition in class 1 ( and in coach depending, ) is way out of whack re: American. If BA ever wants one more mile out of my MR account, they’d better do something good and make it stick.

  2. Back when First Class was 3x coach the golden ticket was transcon First in the A321T (2-across seating) for 37.5k Avios plus $5, with decent available a few days before flight.

  3. “match the fiction that American Airlines premium cabin is a ‘first class’ product as it’s called.” Oh please….

    Anything not coach has been called first class in the USA for years. It’ll never be “international” first class so its hilarious to have the expectation of that.

  4. @Tony

    No, but we could have an expectation that US domestic premium cabin products be marketed and inventoried as a business class product, not a first class product.

    Then again, I suppose US domestic F is truly first class compared to intra-European J. (That doesn’t even deserve to be called J, but I digress.)

  5. Interesting. Although, like you, I’m not holding my breath that this will stick.

    AA domestic FC award availability tends to be better than coach, so this would give you another way to get somewhere at a price that makes sense. At 3x, redemptions almost never made sense.

  6. This might make a big difference toward adhoc/last-minute bookings. I’ll not pay 4x under any circumstances, but I would definitely pay 2x under the right situation. That’s completely independent of class of service, given that it’s pretty irrelevant on flights < 1500.

  7. @ed

    IAD-PHX on American would require 2 flight segments, which I believe would require additional Avios. However, I believe DCA-PHX has non-stop/direct flights which would qualify (for the reduced Avios outlay).

  8. Have over 200.000 avios and don’t know what to do with them….every time that I look for an award fees are almost the same as buying a ticket with other airline….

  9. Have you had any trouble seeing AA business class flights on BA’s website recently? It doesn’t seem to be pulling up award space. For example, I’m currently searching SLC to DFW roundtrip 9/2/17 to 9/4/17. I see Business MileSAAver availability on AA but when I search on BA it just shows “Not available.” Any thoughts?

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