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American Airlines is known for being exceptionally stingy when it comes to releasing award seats for business and first-class seats on its own aircraft, so we tend to get very excited when a large number of “free” seats become available — such as today!
AA is currently offering award (and upgrade) space to many European destinations, including the most premium routes operated by the airline’s new 777-300ER, such as New York and Los Angeles to London. While AA partner British Airways tends to offer decent availability year-round, the airline tacks on outrageous fuel surcharges, making award bookings very costly if the transatlantic segment is operated by BA. Note that AA awards are still subject to the UK’s Air Passenger Duty, so expect to pay a few hundred dollars in fees on flights departing some UK airports, including London.
That said, you’ll still pay far less in taxes than you would for the full cost of a revenue business-class ticket, and business to Europe is one of the few premium-cabin awards that saw only modest increases during AA’s March devaluation, so these award flights are still a very good deal. The most availability is in early 2017, but there are a few awards to be had later this year. Let’s see what’s available (all awards are based on availability for four passengers)…
Los Angeles to London
The crème de la crème of AA awards to Europe is business class on the airline’s 777-300ER between Los Angeles and London. You’ll spend nearly 10 hours in AA’s latest 1-2-1 business-class seat on this nonstop route.
There’s plenty of availability throughout 2017 — you can find four or more business-class seats on many dates.
There isn’t quite as much availability on the return, unfortunately, however you will have many options on this route if you don’t mind connecting in Chicago on the way back to LA.
New York to London
This route is also operated by the 777-300ER on select flights, so be sure to check your aircraft type before pulling the trigger.
Miami to London
You can fly AA’s 777-300ER between Miami and London as well. If you’re headed elsewhere in Europe, consider booking a connecting British Airways flight from LHR.
New York to Barcelona
It’s not just AA’s most premium routes with availability — you should be able to find open seats on almost any Europe route, including New York to Barcelona.
New York to Paris
New York to Paris also has plenty of open award seats throughout early 2017.
Note that AA is currently in the process of reconfiguring its 777-200s, which operate some of these flights (including JFK to Paris on select dates). Check the seatmap to see which configuration you should have on the flight — 1-2-1 indicates the new seat. However, it’s important to note that American has been known to swap aircraft at the last minute, so you could end up with the old angle-flat 777 seats even if you see the map above when booking.
Paris to New York
First class is also wide open on some routes, but you’ll pay an arm and a leg to book it — 85,000 miles each way. Also, note that AA’s new 777-200 configuration doesn’t offer first class, so if you see it offered on a route like New York to Paris, it’s likely that your flight is currently scheduled to be operated by the old 777 configuration — like the one the Pope flew around in last year.
Will you be booking an AA award?
H/T: View from the Wing
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you*
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation*