American AAdvantage has been extremely stingy with international award space on its own flights over the past three to four years; premium award space doubly so.
What’s more, because American doesn’t have as many partners as Star Alliance airlines do, that leaves few options especially to Europe 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.
At one point it even became absurd domestically, with only a handful of dates during the whole year where saver seats could be booked Dallas – Austin — a $49 flight at the time with 14-15 flights a day. Fortunately that extreme scenario didn’t last terribly long.
This hasn’t been too big a deal for me, I’ve long preferred to redeem on partners, but it’s been a real shortcoming for many members. Indeed when premium cabin international award space opens up on American’s own flights it’s been noteworthy.
Award availability has gotten better though things seem to go in waves, feast or famine, and you have to jump on the space when it opens up wide.
Most often we’ve seen space open up to Paris and to London. Sometimes it’s it’s other cities in Europe. Six weeks ago we saw wide open space on most routes to those two cities.
That ‘wave’ is gone, however there’s one flight in particular that has really really good award availability right now: Miami – Paris.
In October and November it’s really good availability in first class. Here’s what availability looks like for six passengers.
American has a Boeing 777-200 that hasn’t yet been reconfigured with new business class (and no first class) on the route. They’re phasing out first class, and awards are easy to get.
American’s Old Boeing 777-200 Flagship First Class
A reconfigured plane goes onto the route after that, and from mid-January through mid-April we see the same fantastic sort of availability on that route in business class. That’ll be American’s new business class.
American is in the process of moving from Zodiac to B/E Aerospace as the supplier of a new fully flat business class with all aisle access. However this is early enough in the process that we’ll probably still see a Zodiac Aerospace seat on this plane.
Zodiac Aerospace New Business Class Seat, American Airlines 777-200
Availability isn’t only out of Miami. During the winter and through the first few days of May there’s good availability to Paris out of other gateways like New York and Chicago.
Here’s availability for 4 passengers in business class New York JFK – Paris.
You may want to pay attention to the aircraft that serves the route, though, as American’s 767 flying New York and Chicago to Paris is a narrower business class seat that I do not like nearly as much.
American Airlines 767 Business Class
If you want to take your family to Europe this fall, winter, or even early spring it’s a great opportunity to use American Airlines AAdvantage miles to do it.
You can of course use miles from partner programs such as British Airways but you’ll pay separately for each flight segment (while American will include US domestic flights in the award, and connections within Europe) and you’ll pay fuel surcharges as well (which American won’t collect). At 57,500 per person for business and 85,000 for first this is a good value.