One Route Where You Can Use American Miles to Take the Whole Family to Europe in Business/First Class

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.

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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Comments

  1. Not to be rude, but an honest question… Do you write these posts with voice to text? Did you mean phasing out?

  2. Ouch, tough crowd. Most newspapers don’t even employ copy editors any more, so typos are expected on a one-person-blog…

  3. While less spacious, if I’m flying in Business on an older AA plane, I’ll still take the refurbished 767 seat over the old 777-200 seat. While the 767 seat is narrower, the angle is too awkward to sleep thoroughly on the 772.

  4. being critical about substance… yeah, me too. but every time i read the comments on Gary’s posts, there’s a grammar or spelling nazi with panties in a wad over a typo. you people must really have life figured out, that THAT is what bothers you. please write a grammatically correct essay on what it’s like in rainbows and unicorn-ville. i hear that along with the end of the rainbow gold, the unicorns poop gold as well- true, or no?

  5. The dude is a self-proclaimed “thought leader” and makes a ton of dough from affiliate $$$. A copy editor would be a tiny investment for a Titan and thought leader like him.

  6. Back to the subject at hand …

    Thanks for the research but is there anything available when the kids are out of school?

    Thanks again!

  7. American still charges the so called fuel surcharge for rewards flights. Just got stuck paying $500 plus the miles. American calls it carrier Imposed Fees.

  8. @Kalboz the Christmas/New Years holidays are uniquely tough and it’s too early for next summer availability. Many folks do get February winter break in the northeast.

  9. all of the American flights that go through london have that huge fuel fee and no Business availibility – I booked a Condor business flight from San Diego to Frankfort but I am having problems getting home from Budapest. There are no Air Berlin award flights that I can find on American or Air Berlin which would avoid London. Or should I just get the American flights through London – pay the fuel fee – and hope Business opens up?

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