American Airlines usually offers terrible — meaning absolutely no — premium cabin saver award space on its own planes.
Their pattern though is to occasionally dump award space that remains open for a day or two. So you need to pounce when it’s there.
The nice thing is that American AAdvantage allows you to hold award space for up to 5 days without having the requisite miles in your account, so if you need to transfer or buy some miles you can lock in your award first. (For instance, Starwood transfers generally take 2-3 days.)
Right now appears to be one of those availability dumps, for flights to London from various US gateway cities. American AAdvantage charges 57,500 miles each way between the US and Europe in business class.
Beyond London you can fly British Airways (or Iberia, Finnair). And if you can find American Airlines or Alaska Airlines award space to and from US international gateway cities you can include those for no additional AAdvantage miles.
American’s website had a problem where you’d specify American Airlines flights only, but it will still pull up partner flights. This is important on London routes because partner flights include British Airways which means:
- An inferior business class product
- Extortionate ‘carrier-imposed charges’ so you pay close to $1000 in addition to miles
However it appears, based on my spot checks, that much of the availability coming up is American Airlines availability (although the calendars will show intermittent BA space it seems). Check.
Here’s what we’re seeing.
Dallas Fort Worth – London, October 29 through April 16 end of schedule.
What’s especially nice is that availability isn’t even just for one flight but up to 3 flights per day.
Chicago – London, October 17 through end of schedule
Philadelphia – London, September 19 through end of schedule
Miami – London availability is more sparse, but you’ll find it September 5 through April 2 (also a handful of dates over June through August).
Los Angeles – London, February 12 through April 10
Charlotte – London doesn’t have availability. Unbelievably Raleigh – London which never has availability even during periods like this has some space July 24 through August 13 and again a smattering of dates mid-October through April 10. It’s not wide open, but more than I can recall seeing on the route.
When selecting routes, be aware of the aircraft you’re going to be flying. The new (4-across business class on the seat map) Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 787 seat is quite good. As is business class on the Boeing 777-300ER (“77W”) and on the Boeing 787-9 (‘Super Diamond’ seat). The great news is that by the time this availability occurs there’s no longer supposed to be any 7-across angled business class on American’s Boeing 777-200s.
New Business Class Seat, American Airlines 777-200