American AAdvantage Award Availability in the Toilet (5 Tips)

After last week’s announcement of the upcoming March ’16 AAdvantage devaluation, award availability on American Airlines has decreased dramatically. I attempted to book an international trip to Europe yesterday, and there was almost nothing left in the MileSAAver category (one-way – 30k Economy/50k Business class). If you are planning to travel with another person it is next to impossible unless you are willing to be very flexible. Booking domestic flights is still pretty easy, but there is limited international flights available, especially in business or first class. There is also little to no availability on international partner flights.

Basically, everyone must have been waiting to use their AAdvantage miles, and when they heard about the devaluation everything got snapped up pretty quick last week. All is not lost! Follow my tips to and you should be able to find a few scraps left.

 

Book 11 Months Out

AAdvantage award tickets are released 11 months out, so keep checking daily for new award space daily as it is released.

 

Flying To Europe

Dublin has the most remaining award space. Use Ryanair to fly anywhere else in Europe for cheap.

 

Avoid Award Tickets On British Airways

British Airways flights have high taxes and fees, which will ruin almost any award redemption. Try to find a flight with no legs on British Airways. Other AA partners have lower fees or none at all.

 

Booking From Nearby Airports

If you want to go to Paris, but there is no availability flying into CDG, make sure to search nearby airports such as Dusseldorf, Dublin, or London. Then take Ryanair, Easyjet, or high-speed rail. Check American’s route map for more information.

 

Booking For Two (AAdvantage Hold)

Finding tickets for two is now especially difficult. If you are planning to travel with two or more people you MUST search for that number. Just because it shows that there is award availability for one, that doesn’t mean there is room for two. Many times there is only award space for one seat, especially in premium cabins. If you were to book that one available ticket, the award flight would disappear, so always search for the number you require.

  • If you have enough points in your account to book for two, just search for two tickets and book. Easy enough.
  • If you are booking from separate AAdvantage accounts, utilize the hold feature when you find a flight you like. This way you can hold the flight on account #1 and search on the account #2 to see if the flight is still available. If it is available then book on #2, and then remove your hold and purchase on #1. This is a great method to ensure you both get on the same flight.

AAdvantage Award Availability

 

Bottom Line

I’d make sure to book ASAP, as more people will be snapping up award space as we get closer to March ’16. Utilize the tips above and also our 10 Tips for Booking Award Tickets.

If you have any tips on how to maximize AAdvantage award availability make sure to leave them in the comments below. Good luck!

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21 Responses

  1. Dee says:

    Which card would you recommend for overseas trip now that AA is not that hot?

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