This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Last August, American announced a slew of new and unique routes between its hubs in the US and Europe. Flights included Charlotte (CLT) to Munich (MUC) and Philadelphia (PHL) to Dubrovnik (DBV).
However, there’s one route, Philadelphia to Bologna, Italy (BLQ) that appears especially unique, mainly because the front of the aircraft is completely empty on many days.
I discovered this after vigorously searching for award availability from Florence (FLR), Rome (FCO) and Milan (MXP) back to New York earlier this week. After browsing the map I plugged in Bologna and to my surprise, there were seven saver level awards in business for the dates I needed to fly. I ended up booking myself, my girlfriend and our friend back to the states in business class, all with miles and very reasonable taxes of ~$40 per ticket.
JonNYC, who closely monitors American Airlines, also commented yesterday on how the route is faring, and the conclusion is … not well.
While this bad for AA’s bottom line, it means there’s fantastic business-class award availability between the states and Bologna during peak summer dates — and that’s a rarity in award travel. While Bologna might not be the most popular destination in Italy, there’s still plenty to see and do there. And if you’re wanting to visit somewhere else, it’s centrally located and requires just a quick train ride, drive or flight to get to other Italian cities.
Unfortunately you’ll be on one of American’s subpar products: a 767-300. The aircraft does have lie-flat seats but no seatback entertainment. Instead, you’ll be given a tablet with a more limited selection of movies and television shows compared to standard in-flight entertainment systems.
But hey, saver business award availability to Italy in the summer with low taxes and fees? It’s hard to complain about that.
To book, head over to AA.com and plug in your preferred departure airport and dates. Note that American only flies this route a few times a week, so you may not see availability everyday. And many days have multiple saver awards available, so you may be able to fly your entire family to Italy on the cheap.
If you don’t have any American miles, you can book via Alaska for 57,500 miles and $19. British Airways Avios and Asia Miles are also options, although they’ll both tack on higher taxes and fees.
Routes: US Airports to BLQ
Cost: 57,500 American miles + $6 one-way
Travel Dates: June 6 to September 28
Pay Taxes/Fees With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare plus trip delay insurance), Citi Premier Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)
Philadelphia (PHL) to Bologna (BLQ) nonstop for 57,500 miles + $6 in taxes and fees one-way in July:
Bologna (BLQ) to Philadelphia (PHL) nonstop for 57,500 miles + $6 in taxes and fees one-way in July:
Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Bologna (BLQ) for 57,500 miles + $6 in taxes and fees one-way in August:
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Bologna (BLQ) for 57,500 miles + $6 in taxes and fees one-way in August:
New York-LaGuardia (LGA) to Bologna (BLQ) for 345,000 miles + $34 in taxes and fees one-way in July for six passengers:
Maximize Your Purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare on plus excellent trip delay insurance), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Premier Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
Featured image by Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards