Booking Europe awards with American miles can be tough. American releases very little space on its own flights, and their primary transatlantic partner is British Airways — and British Airways fuel surcharges can be truly choke-worthy.
On odd occasions American offers great spurts of availability on their own flights, then it dries up. Fortunately there’s Iberia…
Iberia business class award space for two passengers is fantastic for summer next year. American can book award space only 331 days out, so only a bit of August is yet available to AAdvantage members.
Iberia flies from New York JFK, Chicago, Miami, Boston, and Los Angeles. With American, you can include flights to one of those cities in your award and also flights beyond Madrid to elsewhere in Europe (or on to other regions where Europe awards are permissible).
Here’s Miami – Madrid for 2 passengers in business class in July:
Here’s Boston – Madrid for 2 passengers in business class in July:
Here’s New York JFK – Madrid for 2 passengers in business class in July:
Here’s Chicago – Madrid for 2 passengers in business class in July:
The only route where availability isn’t especially good at this time is Los Angeles – Madrid.
If you use British Airways points directly to book these flights, fuel surcharges really hit the wallet (especially if booking more than one seat!). Here’s the fuel surcharge on a one-way business class flight from New York JFK to Madrid.
However booking an Iberia business class award through American AAdvantage or through Iberia directly entail fuel surcharges that are less than 15% of what British Airways would charge.
If you have an Iberia Avios account that has been open at least 90 days, and has had some activity (earned at least a mile, American Express Membership Rewards transfer into Iberia) you can move British Airways Avios over to Iberia and then book Iberia flights from your Iberia account.
American charges 57,500 miles each way between the US and Europe in business class. That includes connecting flights in the US and in Europe, and is a fantastic deal as long as you’re not paying big fuel surcharges.
These awards will cost 50,000 – 62,500 Iberia Avios each way depending on city (New York and Boston are cheaper) or the same number of British Airways Avios though with big fuel surcharges. Off peak dates are even cheaper:
- Boston and New York – Madrid costs 34,000 points each way in business class
- Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami – Madrid costs 42,500 points each way in business class
Iberia awards don’t appear on the American Airlines website of course, you need to call, which is perhaps why availaility stays so good.