Unicorn: Good American Airlines Premium Transcon Award Availability (Business AND First)

American’s award availability has been quite poor over the last couple of years, so when space opens up I’ve frequently made note of it. One area that’s been especially bad are the transcon domestic flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles and San Francisco operated by a specially configured three-cabin A321 aircraft.

The aircraft offers fully flat beds in business class.

In first class seating is “1-1” meaning there’s one seat at each window and an aisle in the middle. They use a modified version of the Zodiac international business class seat from their Boeing 777-300ER>

And right now American is offering decent availability for first and business class awards New York JFK – San Francisco and back through June 6 and then again in August.

Here’s New York JFK – San Francisco in February for two passengers in first class.

Here’s some still in August for two passengers in first.

In February there are even a handful of dates with as many as 4 business class seats between New York and San Francisco. Availability the other direction isn’t quite as good but still far better than usual.

For New York JFK – Los Angeles there’s a smattering of dates available, perhaps 20% of the calendar, during the summer months for business class. August features a few dates in first as well.

One great thing about this availability is that it pairs nicely with Flagship business class lounge access in Los Angeles and in New York. There’s self pour liquor and a substantive buffet as well as some cooked to order food as well.

Flagship Lounge New York JFK

Flagship Lounge LAX

First class awards also gain access to Flagship Dining at JFK and at LAX. That’s cooked to order dining and more premium bar options in a private sit down environment.

Flagship Dining New York JFK

Chili Honey Glazed Pork Belly with sweet potato puree and tempura fried cauliflower, LAX

American AAdvantage charges 32,500 miles each way for business class and 50,000 miles each way for first and of course seats can be accessed through partner airline programs (with no fuel surcharges).

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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  1. It’s pretty sad that domestic saver is on AA is a unicorn! (although I agree that it is)

  2. @Mels

    Isn’t there a single lie-flat flight between LAX and MIA? I know there are between DFW and MIA…

  3. Last week I booked 4 saver award seats in First for JFK – LAX in September using AA miles. Held 3 awards one day, then another opened and held that one. The following day a 5th first saver award on the same flight opened.

  4. @Jon The DFW to MIA is a repositioning flight. It is moving from DFW to MIA to then fly an international route again.

  5. I agree with the above commentors re: LAX-MIA. They used to have a 3 class 777, but have done away with that and are using the 320 2 class config – sad. I recently had to attend a board meeting in MIA, first flew the transcon LAX-JFK in 1st for business there, so had access to the Flagship Lounge/Dining and then to MIA via LGA, which I will never do again, then returned MIA-LAX in what they call 1st. No access to the Flagship Lounge (and only on AAdmiral’s Club open and at a very inconvenient location) and the fare btwn MIA-LAX was MORE than the fare btwn LAX-JFK. Doug Parker and group hard at work again to screw the customer….

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