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.
American Airlines was the first US-based airline to roll out a true premium economy product, starting with its first Boeing 787-9 in October 2016. Since then, AA has retrofitted more than 100 widebody aircraft — including all of its Boeing 787-9, 777-200, 777-300ER and Airbus A330-200 aircraft. And it’s in the process of retrofitting its Boeing 787-8 aircraft and expects to complete that retrofit in mid-2019.
Throughout this process, the question has been: When will travelers be able to book premium economy awards?
Now, the long-awaited day is almost here. On Thursday, Jan. 24, American Airlines will launch premium economy awards. Unfortunately, that’s all we know at this point. American Airlines isn’t sharing the mileage prices for these awards with us quite yet.
One of the things I’ve been most pleased about American Airlines’ premium economy product is how reasonable of an upsell it has been from economy. I generally find that premium economy is about $200 more than economy each way. For a wider seat, more legroom, much better catering and better elite-qualifying multiples, that’s not a bad price for those that don’t want to slum it out in economy and can’t afford business class.
So, we will have to see if American Airlines prices these premium economy awards competitively vs. economy award prices. If AA splits the mileage difference between economy and business class, it’s going to be a hard sell for travelers. However, if it’s just a reasonable premium — say 40,000 for US to Europe vs. 30,000 in economy and 57,500 in business class — it might be a good redemption option.
New desktop award booking tool: The other bit of news that’s coming from this pre-announcement is a “new desktop award booking tool” that’s also going to launch on Jan. 24. This is supposed to “give customers easier access, at a glance views of the lowest mileage days, availability” and more.
Although it was unclear at first what exactly this entailed, an American Airlines spokesperson reached out Thursday morning to clarify that this is a new online award search tool built into the desktop version of its website. This won’t be a downloadable application.
Once this rolls out, travelers have four ways of booking awards — including premium economy awards: the revamped desktop website, the mobile website, AA’s mobile app or calling reservations.
Systemwide upgrade impact? Many American Airlines Executive Platinum elites have worried that the introduction of premium economy awards might lead to limitations on systemwide upgrades. Currently, systemwide upgrades can be used to upgrade a traveler from economy (or premium economy) to business class.
The good news is that’s not changing on Jan. 24 with the introduction of premium economy awards. Of course, AA could add this limitation later — but at least it’s not doing so now.
For more on American Airlines Premium Economy, check out:
- Worth the Extra Money: American Airlines (777-200) in Premium Economy From London to Miami
- Seat Review: American Airlines (777-200) Premium Economy From Dallas to Miami
- Seat Review: American Airlines (787-9) Premium Economy From Dallas to Los Angeles
- American Airlines’ 777-300ER Aircraft Nearly Complete With Premium Economy Refit
- Five Things We’ve Learned About AA’s Premium Economy
This post has been updated with a clarification from an American Airlines spokesperson that the “desktop award booking tool” isn’t a downloadable application.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you*
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation*