American Opens the Floodgates on Transatlantic and Transpacific Premium Cabin Award Space

American said to expect more premium cabin award availability, that there’s be more to come beyond what we’d already seen, and that it would be noticeable.

And it is interesting that we are seeing this before premium cabin award prices go up on March 22 even!

American is running a Boeing 777-200 that hasn’t been reconfigured yet on its Dallas – Madrid route. That means it still has angled business class seats, but it also has a first class cabin.

And first class awards are wide open, here’s a search for four first class seats.

One of American’s premier routes is Dallas – Hong Kong. It’s operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, which has my favorite business class seat and which is the only American aircraft that will be keeping first class. Awards and upgrades on this route have been particularly tough.

But we’re now seeing as many as four award seats in business class per flight:

And we’re seeing four first class seats, too — and there are only eight seats in the cabin.

Dallas – Tokyo is another route where we see this. The flights are operated by an unreconfigured 777-200. Here’s four seats in business class.

But that business class is angled.

So spring for the extra 7500 miles and go first class with a party of 4:

Availability isn’t like this on every route, for instance you won’t find this kind of availability on Los Angeles – Sydney. But it’s pretty good in general for many routes right now.

We were told to expect this, we were also told they were testing things, so I seriously doubt we’ll see 4 business and 4 first class seats open so often on Dallas – Hong Kong. But hopefully this signals what American’s talking about, improved premium cabin availability going forward.

American’s awards between the US and Europe are 62,500 miles each way in first class. Between the US and Tokyo (or Korea) are 62,500 miles in first as well. Elsewhere in Asia runs 67,500 miles each way.

Business class awards are 50,000 miles each way between the US and Europe and also between the US and Japan or Korea. They’re 55,000 miles between the US and the rest of Southeast asia.

You can book these awards through other oneworld and partner frequent flyer programs. For instance you can use British Airways Avios (and BA is an American Express and Chase transfer partner) but you pay BA’s award pricing and you pay fuel surcharges. Similarly you can book these with Etihad Guest points transferred from Citi ThankYou Rewards.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

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, 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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  1. Sadly it’s ONLY if you have a AA account, as a AS flyer we are only seeing coach on European trips bummer again as a AS flyer

  2. I found four biz seats lax – Syd perhaps an hour ago and I was pleased with that, since I couldn’t find anything before.

  3. @Gary – What’s the reason for all this, though, especially BEFORE the deval?

    I know you said they’re testing things out, but what is compelling them to do all this now?

    Interested on your insights.

  4. You can also book these awards (except for Australia) through Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan…

  5. @Ghostrider5408:

    Not so. I just rebooked a mid-July AS award trip from ZRH-SEA to DUS-SEA because the inventory on AA J just went WIIIIIDE OOOOPEN.

  6. @Daniel they have been pushing for this for awhile, so i suspect award pricing is unrelated. it just made it into the queue. in fact, it’s aadvantage that was pushing for it — before they got close to the point where they new what a new award chart would finally look like. so aadvantage wasn’t going to be holding off.. lots of internal meetings, analysis, etc.

  7. I am not sure but when I go to AS website ALL i see is coach back and forth across the Atlantic, no matter what I do. last week of Nov first week of Dec

    Oh well

  8. Unfortunately, nothing for late March/early April to Asia.

    BTW, is AA F soft product any good compared to CX/JL J/F soft product? We loved JL and CX for J and F last summer.

  9. My family of four goes to China every summer. I was able to get 4 business seats for June 2015. I booked in September or October of 2014. So in September 2015 I started to look and try to book for June 2016. I couldn’t find any business award seats to PEK or PVG or HKG. I looked and looked for weeks. I ended up using my UA miles to have a stop over in Paris then to PEK. But if I knew AA would open up business seats I probably would have waited since we fly out DFW… Is it not wise to book so much ahead? I always like to plan ahead since I already know which day kids will be out of school… When it comes to family travel in business or first class is it better to wait or not to wait???

  10. Once AA starts showing ANY kind of first-class award space from ord-pek or dfw-pek, I’ll start to believe it. For the past 2 months, it only shows biz class awards and most are only redeemable at 175K when I search.

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