Wide Open Business Availability to Europe With AA and Delta Miles
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Trying to find low-cost award availability to Europe for can be frustrating. If you’re booking with AAdvantage miles, you usually face a decision between paying hefty fuel surcharges to fly British Airways flights or paying higher award rates on American Airlines flights. As Gary Leff points out, there’s a better option: Jet Airways.
Haven’t heard of Jet Airways? Well, this carrier doesn’t currently fly to the US — although you might have seen Jet Airways aircraft around JFK operated by Etihad. However, Jet does have North American operations: between Toronto (YYZ) and Amsterdam (AMS). Here’s the great news: There’s at least four economy and business class award seats on these flights throughout most of 2017.
And, you don’t have to live in Toronto to take advantage of this availability. You can connect from the US through Toronto to get over to Europe using this Jet Airways award space. American Airlines flies nonstop to Toronto (YYZ) from Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York’s JFK and LGA, Philadelphia (PHL) and Washington DC (DCA).
Not interested in visiting Amsterdam? You can connect through AMS to other cities in Europe for the same award rate. While Oneworld doesn’t have a strong presence at AMS, you can still connect through to plenty of cities — from Barcelona (BCN) to Rome (FCO).
And now, you have another option for booking Jet Airways flights with miles. Although it wasn’t supposed to be available until March 1, you’re now able to book Jet Airways flights with Delta SkyMiles.
Both American Airlines and Delta charge the same rates for partner economy awards between the US and Europe. But, effective January 1, Delta’s business class partner award rates are even higher than before:
- Economy: 30,000 miles one-way
- Business (AAdvantage): 57,500 AAdvantage miles one-way
- Business (SkyMiles): 70,000 SkyMiles one-way
However, unless you’re flying out of Toronto, you’re also going to have to find connecting flights with saver award availability at this rate. This can be the frustrating part of the exercise: trying to find award availability on the short flights when there’s already known availability on the long-haul flights.
Searching and Booking the Award Flights
Jet Airways award availability doesn’t appear on AA.com. So, you’ve historically needed to rely on a service like ExpertFlyer to find award availability. However, now that you’re able to book Jet Airways flights using SkyMiles, you can just use Delta’s award booking search tool to find Jet Airways award space.
In order for (most) partner awards to show on Delta’s website, there must be saver level award availability. Unlike awards on Delta-operated flights — which can vary widely as there’s no published award chart — partner awards are either available at the lowest rate or not available at all. So, if you find award availability through Delta’s search tool, there’s going to be availability using AAdvantage miles as well.
Since Jet Airways space doesn’t show on AA.com, you’re going to have to call AA to book the award. Just note that you have to go into the call ready to provide specific details. Even the Executive Platinum desk agents I’ve worked with recently on domestic flights have struggled to find award availability on American-operated flights with availability clearly showing on AA.com. So, international flights on partner airlines are likely to be even harder to book. Prepare to stop your agent from reading off the British Airways award availability for your dates and to walk through the specific segments you’ve found award availability on.
While it might not be the easiest process, if you’re looking for cheap award flights to Europe with no fuel surcharges, Jet Airways is currently the way to go. Just make sure you have a lot of flexibility — to get saver award availability on the connecting flights — and patience through the booking process.
H/T: View From The Wing
Featured image courtesy of NurPhoto via Getty Images.
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