American is tight-fisted with award availability on its own flights. While transatlantic business class began tightening mid-2012, and transpacific business class 18 months later, we’ve seen that overall the percentage of American Airlines seats occupied by award passengers even at higher mileage costs has declined and is now less than on either United or Delta.
Getting to Europe with American miles is tough without coming out of pocket big money paying British Airways extortionate fuel surcharges. Iberia usually has decent business class space for 2 passengers booked 11 months in advance. And there’s one secret route you can try.
Booking awards on American’s flights, though, is tough. The airline seems to occasionally make space available for a day or two before removing it. And remember also that when there’s business class award space there’s usually upgrade space confirmable with systemwide eVIP upgrades that are given to 100,000 mile Executive Platinums.
American is offering reasonably good award availability right now in business class for late July and August. You’ll find great availability New York JFK and Philadelphia – Madrid.
A couple of dates have 6 or more business class award seats available, more have 4 than 6.
There’s also decent availability Dallas and Charlotte – Madrid, though not quite as good.
Other routes with availability include New York JFK – Barcelona and New York JFK – Zurich
The good news is that American’s broken award availability calendar seems to be working. Looking at non-stop flights only brings up non-stop flights, so while British Airways has award availability most days you’re able to exclude BA connecting options (and their concomitant offensive and outrageous fuel surcharges).
American charges 57,500 miles each way and this includes domestic flights in the US and connecting flights within Europe (if those are available). You can hold an award with AAdvantage for 5 days without ticketing, and you don’t need to have miles in your account to do it.