Wide open American AAdvantage Business Class award space to London and Paris!

American Airlines devalued their AAdvantage loyalty program last March. Since then award availability has been in the toilet for some time. The good news is American has opened up Business Class award inventory from many major cities in the US to London and Paris, which starts at 57.5k AAdvantage miles one-way. If you’ve been waiting to use your miles, now is the time to make your move. I just booked a one-way from Paris to Minneapolis this fall!

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 11.44.42 AM

Excellent Business MileSAAver availability!

 

The problem with AA bookings in the past has been that American forced you to fly partner British Airways to London, which tacked on up to $1,000 in fuel surcharges. You can now book, flying on American metal only, from Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Miami, New York or Philadelphia to London or Paris on a Business MileSAAver ticket. Check routes from your city, there may be availability this fall and winter. Availability is best in early 2017.

Thrifty Tip #1: You will have to pay around $275 in UK taxes on one-way flights from London. This is required by UK law. Always book round-trip if you’re flying into London to save. Typical flights from elsewhere in Europe run around $125 in business class one-way. Flying one-way to Europe is always cheaper at around $5 in fees.

Thrifty Tip #2: Find a flight but want to wait before booking? American allows a 24 hour hold on all tickets. Go through to the payment screen and select hold instead of paying. You can hold for 5 days.

 

Sample flight flying the flagship 777-300ER from Chicago to London

Sample flight flying the flagship 777-300ER to London

 

The other issue with booking AAdvantage awards has been that there typically is only one award seat on many Business Class flights, but with the current availability there is up to four or more seats available. This rarely happens.

Mrs. TT and I flew to Dusseldorf last year in business class on American’s Boeing 767-300 product. The flight product and service were great and only cost 100k AAdvantage miles + $125 round-trip, but it was next to impossible to book. It was only after searching for hours and hours that I was finally able to find a flight which was all on American metal, and not on a partner such as British Airways. There was just no availability and there rarely has been over the years. Take advantage of this rare occasion to book!

Thrifty Tip #3: Make sure you have the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card. You receive 10% of your points back for flight award redemptions. Up to 10k AAdvantage miles per year!

 

Thrifty Traveler 767-300

Mrs. TT and I enjoying some pre-flight champagne on the 767-300

 

What Aircraft to Book

There are very large differences in the aircraft that American flies. You want to avoid any aircraft type “777” for your long-haul flight across the pond. American’s flagship aircraft is the Boeing 777-300ER (lead photo of this post) which is labeled “77W”. This is the aircraft you want to fly!

You can also book the “772” which is the 777-200 retrofit with the new interior which I reviewed on the 787 Dreamliner. You can also fly the “763” which is the Boeing 767-300, which Mrs. TT and I flew last summer. There are other configurations but I’d avoid them if possible. The business class you want is laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, with two seats in the middle, and all have direct aisle access. Avoid the 2-3-2 configuration!

 

1-2-1 seat configuration on the Boeing 777-300ER (this is what you want to see)

1-2-1 seat configuration on the Boeing 777-300ER (this is what you want to see)

 

Bottom Line

Book ASAP. This only happens a couple times a year and you have to book quickly. Use the hold function instead of booking if you’re not sure you want to book. You will probably have to tinker around with different dates and cities as availability is hit or miss. For best availability book in early 2017!

 

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H/T: View From The Wing

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Credit Card 
  • 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles after $1,000 spend in the first 3 months of account
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights
  • Double AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back — up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year (Huge bonus)

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