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.
- You can book British Airways space pretty regularly, it’s usually better to buy business class tickets when there’s a sale than it is to spend for fuel surcharges since your miles may save you only a few hundred dollars.
- Iberia availability booked far in advance can be really good. Sometimes airberlin has seats.
- And American opens its own space in spurts, tons of space for a few days and then it’s gone. You have to jump on it whenever it appears.
Right now though there’s something of a unicorn: amazing award space for the whole family on American’s oneworld partner Finnair. That means great saver pricing and no fuel surcharges.
Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo
oneworld member Finnair flies New York JFK – Helsinki daily. It has six or more business class award seats most days across much of the schedule.
Availability is almost as good in reverse.
Finnair flies Miami – Helsinki three days a week. And it goes from having business class award space open for 2 passengers only a couple of days a month to most days they operate the flight in late January. This lasts through end of schedule.
About half of these dates appear to have four or more business class award seats available. And availability looks similar for Helsinki – Miami as well.
Finnair flies Chicago – Helsinki from early April through late October. While availability for 6 or more business class awards can be found mostly on the weekends, a smatter of other days during the week will have (fewer) business class awards available.
Their US routes are operated by Airbus A330-300s equipped with Thompson Vantage business class seats. This is essentially the same seat American puts on its Boeing 767s. However since the fuselage is wider the configuration isn’t a straight 1-2-1 with direct aisle access for all seats. Instead they alternate with a 1-2-1 and a 2-2-1 configuration. There’s either a “throne” seat as its often referred to or a pair of seats at one window.
American’s Thompson Vantage Business Class Seat (Boeing 767)
Of course Finnair’s catering is going to be better than American’s, and their lounge in Helsinki will be very good (with the showers and sauna being a highlight).
And you can use Finnair to connect from Helsinki across Europe and American includes that as part of the award. Or you can connect to British Airways or Iberia for European travel too.
American charges 57,500 miles per person each way in business class without fuel surcharges. Other Finnair partners will add fuel surcharges to awards.
(HT: Marty K.)