Updated on January 21, 2016
SECRET OF EUROPE AA AWARDS
Besides the wonderful massive devaluation that American Airlines will be dropping on us after March there are other problems with the Aadvantage loyalty program these days. Namely…availability. It doesn’t matter how many miles an award cost or how many miles you have if there aren’t any flights to use those miles on.
Now there are always “AAnytime” awards but they are such terrible value it is hard to ever justify them on international flights. That means you really want to have “SAAver” awards to book your flight, but these are the ones that seem to be an endanged species.
Now you can use your miles on American Airlines partners which is actually the only way I have used them internationally but sometimes you just need American Airlines metal like when traveling to Europe! Which is likely the most often traveled to continent out side of North American for most Americans.
American Airlines’ partners in Europe are Finnair, AirBerlin, Iberia and British Airways. Each of these have flights to several US cities but the only one with an extensive network to North America is British Airways which usually means if there is any availability to Europe it is on BA. So, this should be great right? British Airways sounds like a good airline. I mean the British are so proper and have that great accent, they must have a great airline, right? Well they are really middle to back of the pack in terms of quality but that’s not their real problem. The REAL problem is that they impose ridiculous “fuel surcharges” (AKA bullsh@#% fees) to gouge their customers even when using miles. The average Business Class tax/fee including BS fee I saw on British Airways award flight using AA miles to Europe were between $400-500 per ticket, EACH WAY!
SO this brings us full circle. We can’t find AA Saaver awards, their partners have a limited network and the flights we do find charge us OVER $450 each way!
I mean you really just need to get SOMEWHERE in Europe and then there are flights all over the place. So what’s the secret?
MANCHESTER, UK! The city of Manchester seems to be the mother-load when it comes to American Airlines business class availability to Europe on AA metal.
AA has flights to Manchester from Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK) and Philadelphia (PHL) and there are usually 2 seats from one of these airports and sometimes all 3 most days this coming summer and fall!! The ORD and JFK flights are flown by a 767 which has a nice looking new business class and PHL has the US Airways reverse herringbone configuration. All the searches I did were for 2 seats.
And once you get to Manchester, it is a short, hour BA flight to London which has connections to anywhere in Europe.
Check out the Months below from July to October:
So you get the picture, there is a lot of space. Now there may be some overlap as they may route you from Chicago to Philly to take the flight but most I checked had at least 2 of the cities with flights open.
There are some sporadic seats here and there to cities in Europe on AA metal throughout the year but as your can see there are tons of flight to MAN for this coming summer and fall!
So get your flights now while Business Class is still only 50K AA miles! These awards will go to 57.5K after March.
There are a few less now than these screen shots show because I had to nab a few flights to take my parents and in-laws to London next September!!
PS: Flights to Dublin on AA metal have some seats also 9-11 months out.
Anyone else notice this? Anyone going to take advantage of it?