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If you feel frustrated you can never find saver availability on American Airlines flights, we have some good news. Sadly, it’s not open award availability. Instead, AA is discounting its “AAnytime” business class awards for flights between the US and Europe for travel later this summer.

On AA’s award chart, there are three stated pricing levels for business class awards between the US and Europe. In addition to these three, there’s even more expensive off-the-chart AAnytime awards.

  • MileSAAver: 57,500 miles
  • AAnytime Level 1: 110,000 miles
  • AAnytime Level 2: 135,000 miles

At 57,500 miles each way, AA saver awards are a solid deal. United charges about the same number of miles for award flights (60,000) on its own aircraft but charges 70,000 miles for partner business class awards. Delta ditched its award chart years ago, but its cheapest business class awards to hop the pond now seem to start at 105,000 SkyMiles one-way. But, there are cheaper ways of booking Delta business class awards.

While AA’s saver award pricing is reasonable, if you can’t find AA saver availability (read: most of the time), the next-cheapest award price nearly doubles to 110,000 AAdvantage miles each way. During this sale, AA is splitting the difference between the two levels, with business AAnytime Level 1 awards costing 85,000 miles each way. AA also seems to be discounting its AAnytime Level 2 awards from 135,000 to 120,000 each way and AAnytime Level 3 awards from 180,000 to 155,000 each way.

The promotion is effective for flights from the US to Europe on August 1-28 and from Europe to the US from August 1-September 18.

At current TPG valuations, 85,000 miles is valued around $1,190 — which isn’t too bad for a business class flight to Europe during peak summer. Plus, you’ll actually be able to book on AA aircraft that don’t tack on fuel surcharges. Usually you can find saver award space to Europe on British Airways when searching through AA, but you’ll have to shell out hundreds of dollars extra on top of the miles for those flights.

But, while this mileage sale may sound good on the surface, this sale potentially has a darker side to it. Just like how Economy Web Specials have created de facto dynamic pricing on some domestic economy awards, this “sale” could indicate that AA is playing with award pricing to move toward more of a dynamic award pricing system.

Don’t get me wrong, paying 85,000 miles each way for flights to Europe is better than the previous anytime award price of 110,000+ miles each way. But, if AA can sell enough business class award tickets at 85,000 miles each way, the airline won’t have an incentive to release saver award availability at 57,500 miles each way — meaning even less saver award availability.

Know before you go.

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