American Airlines is offering fantastic business class award availability to Israel. That’s notable even in its own right. You may not be traveling now, but book six months out. The world may look very different. And American no longer has any charge to cancel and redeposit award tickets, so there’s no risk.
New York JFK – Tel Aviv Boeing 777-200 service is launching daily starting May 6, 2021.
- >New York JFK – Tel Aviv, 11:10 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. +1
- Tel Aviv – New York JFK, 12:50 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.
There are several things notable about this award space that offer insight into how American is running inventory management for the AAdvantage program.
- American doesn’t usually offer much business class award space on its own flights. One of the big weaknesses of American’s program is how stingy they became with business class award space before the pandemic. To fly transatlantic that usually meant travel on British Airways, which incurs big fuel surcharges (depending on the destination, but assume $1000 roundtrip in addition to miles).
At times American has been better about award space since the pandemic started, but planes are flying empty and most of us haven’t been able to take advantage anyway. However when space pops up six months into the future or more it’s a good time to grab seats.
Bear in mind that this space is available in June and July and sporadically in August, it appears that any further out American is holding back seats to sell for cash returning to its old stingy ways. Of course they’ve removed business class seats from many of their planes so there’s often not enough premium inventory to satisfy demand whether paid or award.
- These are websaver prices, not saver awards, so they aren’t bookable with partner miles. American charges 70,000 miles each way for business class saver awards between the U.S. and Mideast (which includes Israel). Websaver prices may be lower, but are a different inventory, which can be booked with American miles but not partner miles. They can have 55,000 mile seats available but not 70,000 mile saver seats which is an odd practice.
- These awards are available non-stop. Websavers are generally available on a connecting basis, and sometimes saver awards on American flights are too. They’re practicing “journey control” offering seats in connecting markets for fewer miles than non-stop flights which they think demand a premium in miles and money. It’s a huge tax on Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia and other hub-based AAdvantage members, when American will offer cheap awards connecting through those cities (so a connecting flight plus long haul) but not if you take just the long haul.
It’s unique in this case that you don’t have to find another city to start from to get this 55,000 mile pricing, it’s available on New York non-stops.
- They’re available connecting, too. You aren’t limited to flying from New York, there’s even space from Los Angeles for instance. That’s usually how websaver space works of course.
- They’re less expensive when booking as part of a roundtrip than as two one ways. Here’s another trick American learned from Delta. One-way non-stops are 66,000 miles each, versus just 55,000 miles each way based on roundtrip purchase. Sneaky. ALways make sure to price your awards both as one ways (which I prefer, all else equal, for the flexibility) versus roundtrips (in this case, cheaper).
This 5677 mile flight takes 11 hours eastbound and 12 hours westbound. American’s 777-200s have 37 business class seats, but the seats are one of two different options – “Concept D” (pre-merger American) and “Super Diamond.
Here’s the ‘Concept D’ seat in a cabin that has both forward- and backward-seating.
And here’s the ‘Super Diamond’ seat.
In both cases you have a fully flat seat with direct aisle access, a nice ride between the U.S. and Israel. Youyang Gu, whsoe predictions have been probably the best throughout the pandemic, believes Covid-19 will be largely under control in the U.S> this summer. With Israel’s rapid vaccinations it’s a reasonable hope that it will be under control there as well.
(HT: Dan’s Deals)