Wide Open Business Class Europe Awards With No Fuel Surcharges on American

American’s revenue management has been notoriously stingy about releasing seats for premium cabin international travel — over the past three years to Europe, and over the past 18 months or so even to Latin America and Asia.

What’s more, because American doesn’t have as many partners across the Atlantic as Star Alliance airlines do, that leaves few options and fewer still that don’t hit you with big surcharges as their primary European partner is British Airways. So when American releases premium cabin awards on their own flights, that’s notable.

We’re seeing really good availability right now on American’s flights between New York JFK, Chicago, and Philadelphia and Manchester, UK.

Wide Open Business Class for Summer and Early Fall

Availability between the US and Manchester becomes decent in late spring and reasonably good over the summer, and then outstanding for the fall.

Here’s New York JFK – Manchester non-stop availability for 2 passengers in business class:

Availability is a little bit less good, but still quite good, for Chicago – Manchester:

My own preference would be to fly Philadelphia – Manchester on legacy US Airways aircraft:

American flies Boeing 767-300s New York JFK and Chicago – Manchester. The new 767s are fully flat with all-aisle access, but much narrower than a Boeing 777. I find the seats quite tight in bed mode.

For Philadelphia – Manchester, though, you’ve got US Airways Airbus A330s which means reverse herringbone 4-across seating. US Airways pioneered the seat (that’s similar in American’s Boeing 777-300ERs) which has been adopted as the world’s top standard by Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, and others.

Availability between the US and Manchester goes in both directions.

How Much Do These Awards Cost, and Where Can You Go?

American charges 50,000 miles per person each way between the US and Europe for business class. (Bookings made March 22 onward will be 57,500 miles each way.)

You can use British Airways Avios for the flights, of course, but those will incur fuel surcharges.

With American miles you can include flights within the US to any of the 3 gateway cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia) for no additional miles.

Beyond Manchester you can book an easyJet, Ryanair, Flybe, Jet2 or other low cost carrier elsewhere in the region. Or you can include a short haul British Airways flight to London Heathrow (and beyond) without incurring substantial fuel surcharges.

(HT: Points MD)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I recently booked a trip for next year from the US through Manchester to London to Vienna just to get where I was going because of poor award availability into traditional places like CDG, FCO, etc.

  2. Gary,
    You said “With American miles you can include flights within the US to any of the 3 gateway cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia) for no additional miles.” Does one need to call to do that? forinstance when I plug in STL – MAN I get routed ORD-PHL-MAN Never do I see a STL-ORD-MAN.
    Thanks

  3. @Patrick well [assuming what you want is a valid routing for the specific cities] you could use multi-city search, but multi-city usually misprices awards so you’d have to call for a reprice

  4. Are all the 767’s (ORD-MAN) converted to the new seats? I understand the 777-200 fleet refurb is way behind schedule.

  5. manchester. wow. hey, how ’bout that. spend 100k RT to get to manchester, then spend $xxx more to get to somewhere you really want to go.

    the wide open availability on turkish, recently, kills this.

    didn’t american have wide open availability to europe before that, even???

  6. If I book this now and then need to change dates (but not actual routing) in a few months, will AA charge additional miles (assuming I am changing after the upcoming AA devaluation)?

  7. @Neil if you make a change that does not require a reissue — ie change dates but not routing — the mileage cost of the award will not change. Of course there needs to be award availability to do that.

  8. @Gary,
    Just looked at r/t boi-sea-phl-man-ord-sea-boi and the taxes/fees/fuel charges = $545 for two. Doesn’t that sound too high considering no BA flts involved?

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