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After British Airways devalued its program to eliminate 4,500-mile short-haul flights in the US, many US-based travelers wrote off the Avios program. There are still plenty of frustrations with the program — from fuel surcharges on British Airways-operated flights to connecting flights pricing separately. However, there have been a few nice changes recently that open an incredible sweet spot.

Last year, American Airlines changed its domestic first-class coding from F (first class) to J (business class). This changed nothing for AAdvantage awards, but this change halved the price of American Airlines-operated flights when using Avios. Last week, American Express improved the standard transfer rate from Membership Rewards to Avios to 1:1. If that wasn’t good enough, Amex and BA just launched a 40% transfer bonus.

Now, you’ll get 75% more Avios when transferring Membership Rewards than you would if you transferred them a week ago, and American Airlines domestic first-class flights are 50% less than a year ago. That means your Membership Rewards take you 3.5x further on AA domestic first-class flights than just nine months ago! The same sub-1,151 mile nonstop domestic first-class flight that would’ve required 37,500 Membership Rewards a year ago now costs just 10,750 points today — that means you can book several round-trips with the sign-up bonuses available with The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN.

How about celebrating by flying in a lie-flat business-class product? While American has a frustratingly inconsistent fleet, it also has some of the best business-class seats in the skies on some aircraft. And, some of these are flown domestically on a somewhat consistent schedule. Now, with the transfer bonus running through September 17, you can try out one of these products for just 15,000 Avios — which you can get for just 10,750 transferred Membership Rewards (as transfers must be in increments of 250 points).

Let’s take a look at the routes you can do this on.

In This Post

Boeing 777-200

Dinner on-board our flight from DFW to MIA.
Katie and I enjoying dinner on a flight from DFW to MIA on the 777-200.

American Airlines’ 777-200 is so complicated that it takes an entire article to explain it. However, there are essentially just two business-class seat options. Both are lie-flat, but one is significantly more spacious and stable than the other. However, either one would be a huge improvement from standard domestic first-class products you’d find on other AAircraft.

From To Flight # Depart Arrival Starting Ending Frequ

ency

DFW MIA 905 17:00 20:55 now Aug-3 Daily
MIA DFW 61 9:10 11:11 now Aug-21 Daily
DFW MIA 905 17:00 20:56 Aug-4 Aug-21 Daily
DFW MIA 2307 10:25 14:10 Aug-22 Aug-22 One-Off
DFW MIA 905 16:55 20:43 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
MIA DFW 61 9:10 11:14 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
JFK MIA 235 17:00 20:12 Aug-22 Aug-22 One-Off
DFW ORD 2332 7:55 10:11 now Aug-20 Sunday
ORD DFW 2334 11:45 13:59 now Aug-20 Sunday
DFW ORD 2400 22:15 0:27 Aug-3 Aug-3 One-Off

*Likely extends beyond August 31. The schedule we are pulling only runs through August 31.

Boeing 767-300

aa-american-767-300-business-class-featured-side1

While this business-class seat isn’t winning any awards internationally, the seat does lie flat, and it’s a huge upgrade from standard domestic first-class products.

Here are the routes and flights — starting from the nearly three-hour flight between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Miami (MIA) down to the two-hour flights between Charlotte (CLT) and MIA.

From To Flight # Depart Arrival Starting Ending Frequency
DFW MIA 2307 10:25 14:20 now Aug-21 Daily exc. Saturday
DFW MIA 1534 7:15 11:14 now Aug-21 Daily
DFW MIA 19 9:05 13:04 Jul-29 Aug-19 Saturday
DFW MIA 60 20:40 0:32 Aug-21 Aug-21 Monday
DFW MIA 2345 7:15 11:09 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
DFW MIA 2738 14:35 18:29 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
DFW MIA 2307 10:25 14:14 Aug-23 Aug-31* Daily
MIA DFW 2427 17:25 19:33 now Aug-21 Daily exc. Saturday
MIA DFW 19 14:00 16:08 Jul-24 Aug-21 Daily
MIA DFW 207 18:00 20:17 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily exc. Saturday
MIA DFW 2441 21:35 23:46 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
MIA DFW 969 11:05 13:20 Aug-26 Aug-26 Saturday
JFK MIA 65 15:30 18:58 now Aug-21 Daily
JFK MIA 235 17:00 20:23 now Aug-21 Daily
JFK MIA 942 11:05 14:10 now Aug-21 Daily
JFK MIA 942 11:05 14:11 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
JFK MIA 65 15:30 18:53 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
JFK MIA 235 17:00 20:15 Aug-23 Aug-31* Daily
MIA JFK 64 13:35 16:44 now Aug-21 Daily
MIA JFK 1406 21:45 0:51 now Aug-21 Daily
MIA JFK 2493 7:05 10:08 now Aug-21 Daily
MIA JFK 2493 7:05 10:01 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
MIA JFK 64 13:35 16:29 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
MIA JFK 1406 21:45 0:44 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
DFW MCO 1009 7:05 10:44 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily exc. Sunday
MCO DFW 2466 11:40 13:26 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily exc. Sunday
DFW ORD 1258 11:45 14:09 now Aug-21 Daily exc. Saturday
DFW ORD 1156 16:40 19:11 now Aug-21 Daily exc. Saturday
DFW ORD 2332 8:00 10:18 Aug-22 Aug-22 Tuesday
DFW ORD 1156 16:40 19:07 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
ORD DFW 2526 10:25 12:45 now Aug-19 Saturday
ORD DFW 2346 14:19 16:44 now Aug-21 Daily
ORD DFW 1611 7:00 9:19 now Aug-21 Monday-Friday
ORD DFW 1611 7:00 9:26 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
ORD DFW 2349 16:50 19:18 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
ORD JFK 130 12:15 15:30 Aug-22 Aug-22 Tuesday
CLT MIA 2529 9:39 11:54 now Aug-21 Daily exc. Saturday
CLT MIA 2529 9:40 11:48 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily
MIA CLT 348 6:25 8:29 now Aug-21 Daily exc. Saturday
MIA CLT 348 6:25 8:28 Aug-22 Aug-31* Daily

*Likely extends beyond August 31. The schedule we are pulling only runs through August 31.

Airbus A330

Image courtesy of American Airlines.
Image courtesy of American Airlines.

AA’s mini-fleet of A330-200s is going to be cycled through the shop soon for a retrofit process, to add true Main Cabin Extra seating and a Premium Economy section. While the business-class cabin is being retained as is, the Envoy seats are a solid mid-tier and they lie flat. While there aren’t many domestic A330 flights, there’s one reliable one:

From To Flight # Depart Arrival Starting Ending Frequency
PHL CLT 600 7:00 8:36 now 1-Aug-17 Daily
PHL CLT 600 7:00 8:36 4-Aug-17 21-Aug-17 Daily

But What About Award Availability?

American Airlines has become known for having AAtrocious AAward AAvailability recently, but I’m finding a decent amount of award availability of some of these flights. The availability is helped by the sheer number of business-class seats on these aircraft (some have 45). Remember to use the best techniques when searching to save yourself time and hassle.

Here’s one 777-200 flight from Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW) to Miami (MIA) with seven business-class award seats available. Even better, a hot dinner is served on this flight.

AA first using BA Avios example

Bottom Line

While it’s a lot more fun to fly these lie-flat business-class products overseas, it’s also nice to try them out on domestic routes. In addition to the extra space, I’ve found the catering to generally be better on these internationally configured aircraft. If you’re flying between one of the cities below, check to see if you can try out one of these aircraft for yourself using less than 11,000 Membership Rewards.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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