There’s One Day Where American Airlines Premium Cabin Award Space is Completely Wide Open

American Airlines makes virtually no premium cabin award space on their own flights available, except for the occasional brief ‘dumps’ of space that last for hours or a day before reverting to their normal lack of inventory.

Meanwhile, I’ve often said that it’s a myth that the best time to book awards is midnight 331 days prior to travel. Some airlines do make some award space available at the time their schedule opens, but in general they want to make saver award space available that they know they won’t sell for cash and 11 or more months out they only have limited information about what that will look like. As the schedule progresses and they get better information they’ll adjust award space, making more or fewer seats available.

I actually find that 11 months out is a good time, so is 10 months out, so is 6 months out and so is inside a week of travel.

American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Super Diamond Business Class

Given these two things it seems especially notable that right now American is offering a highly unusual amount of premium cabin award space at the very end of the schedule. If you want to book award space right now, have a look at January 7 and January 8 of next year — but especially January 7, 329 days from now.

I’m searching for (2) business class award seats on a variety of routes. Here’s availability on 3 of the 4 ‘premium’ routes where American actually offers pajamas in business class (the other route is Dallas – Hong Kong):

Here are more Asia routes:

Space is available transatlantic too, for instance Paris:

You’ll find seats to Paris out of New York and Miami also, and availability on other routes.

It will be interesting to see if this is a one-off or if American starts releasing award space right at the end of the schedule, in other words within a day or two of when a date loads into American’s schedule.

(HT: eponymous coward)

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. When I try to book any of these flights I am unable to. Keep getting “Fllights are unavailable” messages. I’ve tried different browsers but same problem. Any body able to book these?

  2. Val, I share your pain. I have been trying to get business awards to ANY city in Europe. All apremium awards flights go through London (which means paying the BA exorbitant fees…). They do show availability with Finnland Air, but then you cannot book it. I used to see availability and able to book on Iberia, but not anymore. Their premium award inventory is getting worst and worst. I am so disappointed….

  3. Gary, this is amazing — grabbed several from SYD-LAX and HKG-LAX. Sorting out plans now. THANK YOU!

  4. Not me. Have seen similar before where end of schedule shows on the chart but unable to actually book, at least not online, so assume is phantom.

  5. Do yourself a favor and avoid AA82 AKL-LAX. Took that in business in October. Easily the worst business class crew and food/drink ever.

  6. Thanks. Holding 1st business milesaver MIA to GRU I have found in last 4 months! Should we be loyal to AA when the only way to book artificially scarce awards is to read a blog to find availability.

    Send Douggie and email and ask AA to look up milesaver bookings made today. AA should survey those passengers about how much they like/dislike AA. I doubt that he cares.

  7. There were award flights available yesterday from PHX to PUJ. Checked today, 2/12/17 and no award flights of any level available. Tried to book without using miles and the website says “something went wrong” – can’t book those flights at all. What’s going on?

  8. Was last night (Saturday night) one of the “dumps”. I got several EF LAX-MIA alerts at around 5:30 eastern, only for them to be gone when I awoke (in the pacific time zone)?

    Do you think they were really available? I can get up in the middle of the night for an important trip.

  9. Thanks for picking this up, Gary. I figure this is likely to disappear like snow in a Chinook wind, so I am glad some folks can make use of this. This is why FlyerTalk is still valuable.

    (I picked up HKG-LAX in AA F using AS miles myself; I was having problems booking CX F where AS couldn’t see CX inventory BA could, so this will suffice for the moment. I may keep it because of OW rules on lounges that would make AA/AA better than CX/AS.)

  10. hey blogger, are you gonna acknowledge the source of this jackpot from a post on flyer talk, or claiming this as original material?

  11. Just tried DFW-CDG, and vice versa on AA metal. Both still available on Jan 7, 57,500 miles. Did a partial booking for CDG-DFW, and it seemed quite workable. I quickly cancelled so as not to lock up space someone else might be able to use. Jan in Paris can be way too cold for me to enjoy, but someone might want/need to go then.

    I’m very skeptical that this means anything at all for future availability. For Summer 2014 and Summer 2015 we flew AA metal to Europe on FC Saver awards. But only by going on the single day that AA opened up for the entire Summer. And only got that bc I checked every day for months, then grabbed it the moment it opened up.

    And then after apparently booking the FC entire cabin with FFers, AA did an equipment change from a 777 to a 767 that didn’t have a FC. They didn’t notify us either, just booked us into the same seat number as we had reserved, but now in J. Without returning any miles.

    I luckily checked our reservation a couple of months later, saw that there was no FC on that route anymore, and called disAAdvantage, where the CSR only offered to “try” to get the excess mileage refunded. I demanded to speak to a Supervisor, and requested to transfer our res to the route that the 777 had been moved to. I’m not sure if being Lifetime Gold was a factor or not, but the Supervisor did allow us to transfer over to the FC flight.

    But if I hadn’t found out on my own, since the seat numbers didn’t change, we would have gone to board, and found ourselves in old style angled flat J, instead of lay flat FC. And yes, I do think AA did that on purpose. 🙁

    So if you do book an outbound on Jan 7, will you be able to then book a return flight at a Saver level a week or 3 later? I’ll bet you dollars to donuts the answer is NO. So hopefully you have miles in another program to get back home. 😉

  12. Hey @flyboy are you gonna actually read the post where I acknowledge who found this? :rolleyes: [Hint — he commented two minutes before you]

  13. Interesting to see! And here I thought for sure that, when I clicked through, the date with “wide open” AA premium cabin award space was gonna be…February 29 😛

  14. Thanks, Gary! MAD-LAX (via LHR) on Jan 7 for three people in Business, on 77W (yipee!). Yeah, the taxes suck, but it’s totally worth it. I’ve been trying to find this specific award availability for the past month, checking every day, several times… nothing. Till today. HUGE THANKS for the heads up.

  15. For those getting the “Flights are unavailable” I was running into quite a few of those when trying to work out our route back from Australia\New Zealand. What I found out by a bit of trial and error is that, for the flights I was looking at, I could not book any of those flights 331 days out even if they showed as available. Didn’t matter if they were AA metal or a partner, where the origination city was or destination city. I was, however, able to book those very same flights 330 days out and the new 331 day out flights wouldn’t book. (Although I think the HA AKL-HNL flights were only bookable 229 days despite showing availability 331 and 330 days out out but I can’t remember for sure) This was the same across several days. I called AA out of curiosity and two different reps told me that they weren’t showing the same availability I was – as in they couldn’t see space available 331 days out as being available but could see availability 330 days out. There eventually ended up being quite a few that were bookable for me

  16. @Gary: I think this is gone now….I was able to put 4 tickets on hold. Thanks for the heads up!!
    BTW, C space was available as well (C7 most flights) and now it is all gone 🙁

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