Hurry: American Airlines Business Class Award Availability Dump in Summer

American is tight-fisted with award availability on its own flights. While transatlantic business class began tightening mid-2012, and transpacific business class 18 months later, we’ve seen that overall the percentage of American Airlines seats occupied by award passengers even at higher mileage costs has declined and is now less than on either United or Delta.

Getting to Europe with American miles is tough without coming out of pocket big money paying British Airways extortionate fuel surcharges. Iberia usually has decent business class space for 2 passengers booked 11 months in advance. And there’s one secret route you can try.

Booking awards on American’s flights, though, is tough. The airline seems to occasionally make space available for a day or two before removing it. And remember also that when there’s business class award space there’s usually upgrade space confirmable with systemwide eVIP upgrades that are given to 100,000 mile Executive Platinums.

American is offering reasonably good award availability right now in business class for late July and August. You’ll find great availability New York JFK and Philadelphia – Madrid.

A couple of dates have 6 or more business class award seats available, more have 4 than 6.

There’s also decent availability Dallas and Charlotte – Madrid, though not quite as good.

Other routes with availability include New York JFK – Barcelona and New York JFK – Zurich

The good news is that American’s broken award availability calendar seems to be working. Looking at non-stop flights only brings up non-stop flights, so while British Airways has award availability most days you’re able to exclude BA connecting options (and their concomitant offensive and outrageous fuel surcharges).

American charges 57,500 miles each way and this includes domestic flights in the US and connecting flights within Europe (if those are available). You can hold an award with AAdvantage for 5 days without ticketing, and you don’t need to have miles in your account to do it.

(HT: Milecards)

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. So I understand lots of people have different agendas And places to be But why would I spend my AA miles on AA Business class Doesn’t seem like too great of a product

  2. @Dave – for those that want to use their American Airlines miles to Europe, and not pay exorbitant fuel surcharges, this is a better chance than usual to do so. I’m not suggesting this is the best use of American miles for those who are primarily interested in inflight experience, because a Qatar Airbus A350 business class flight will be better and an Etihad first class flight better still.

  3. Booked JFK-BCN in business for the wife and I in late August. I was surprised when I found it a couple of weeks ago and booked it quick.

  4. “American charges 57,500 miles each way” to Europe.

    Still can’t believe the DOJ let the AA-US merger go through…

  5. Last year I was able to get 2 RT Biz Class seats SFO to Europe on AA metal with one segment on BA Open Skies. Boy what a stressful and unpleasant experience that was: all planes late, multiple connecting flights, rude service, dirty and obsolete airplanes. I decided after this experience that I would rather just pay to fly economy class on BA on a direct SFO-LHR RT discounted ticket.
    The stress and hassle was not worth it to me. All through the flight I kept reminding myself that the flight to Europe only cost me $11 and the flight back only cost $300. I did not realize that AA metal Biz class was such a low class and unpleasant experience. Never again.
    I normally fly CX, SQ, Garuda, and JAL, so I thought BA (First, Biz, Econ) was mediocre and never suspected that AA would be such an awful experience. AA makes BA look like a great airline.
    I will use all of my AA miles to fly to Asia or on BA despite the exorbitant fees.

  6. Impossible to find AA Business class LIR (Costa Rica) in 2018 to anywhere in the states. AA Business class is terrible. I think American is saving the business seats so they can overbook economy and then upgrade their elites to business thus opening economy seats for the overbooked!

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