Don’t Wait to Book: Great Award Space on AA’s Premium Transcon Routes

Feb 6, 2018

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Last week, we wrote about plentiful Virgin America first-class award space, which was bookable with AAdvantage miles. Now, however, there’s fairly wide-open award space on AA’s own premium nonstop routes between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), and you can depart as soon as today (Tuesday, February 6):

You can search right from the AA.com homepage, although the Advanced Search option will sometimes return more results. Once you have the initial results, select the “Non-Stop Only” option from the drop-down to eliminate the connecting flights.

Here are the first class nonstop options from NYC to LA starting Wednesday, February 7:

While AA’s MileSAAver domestic first class awards are generally 25,000 one-way, the airline charges 50,000 miles each way on this route due to the quality of the product. On these A321T-operated flights, first class is arranged with just one seat on each side of the aisle. Each seat is fully lie-flat and both the service and dining are designed for the celebrities that frequent this route. (I sat across from Ansel Elgort the last time I flew this route in business class.)

If you splurge for a first-class award, you’ll get a chance to check out American Airlines’ industry-leading Flagship First Dining before the flight at either JFK or LAX.

AA Flagship Dining at JFK.
AA Flagship Dining at JFK.

The food’s so good that AA’s half-jokingly reminding passengers not to forget about their flights:

Flagship First Dining advertisement found in New York's JFK in early February. Image by JT Genter/The Points Guy.
Flagship First Dining advertisement found in New York’s JFK in early February. Image by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

If you decide to enjoy the lie-flat bed rather than eating in-flight, you might even be able to score a meal after arrival too. When I talked with the JFK Flagship Lounge manager in December, he said that first-class passengers are “absolutely” welcome to visit for a meal after their flight — although this may have been a temporary measure during the airline’s LAX catering crisis.

Other Mileage Programs

If you’ve got points and miles in other currencies than AAdvantage, you can actually score an even better deal:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 30,000 miles one-way in business class
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 40,000 miles one-way in first class
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 50,000 miles round-trip in business class
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: JFK-LAX for 70,000 miles round-trip in first class
  • Japan Airlines Mileage Bank: JFK-LAX for 90,000 miles round-trip in first class

British Airways Avios can also be used for this route at 50,000 Avios each way in first class — the same rate as what AAdvantage charges.

H/T: View From The Wing

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
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