American’s saver award availability is much stingier than United’s, though it’s much more generous than Delta’s. American is especially stingy in business and first class, so it’s newsworthy when things open up.
Last year they opened up business class space to Tel Aviv and I flew with my extended family to Israel on miles. Unfortunately American no longer flies to Israel.
Currently there’s excellent availability to Europe for travel on limited dates in November/December and many more dates from January-March.
American now charges 115K miles round-trip for these awards, but there are better ways to book.
View other ways to book and sample routes with amazing business class saver award space after the jump:
BA charges 120K round-trip and tacks on fuel surcharges, so that would be a terrible use of Avios.
Alaska charges 100K round-trip and has no fuel surcharges.
But the clear winner is Cathay Pacific Asia Miles at just 80K round-trip and no fuel surcharges. You can transfer points from AMEX, Citi, or Starwood to Asia Miles, but the main caveat is that transfers aren’t instant. It can take a day for AMEX or Citi points to reach Asia Miles.
Cathay Pacific doesn’t allow award holds for partner travel. You are able to hold an award on AA.com for up to 5 days though. Usually when you cancel an award it will go back into inventory, but there’s no guarantee of that.
Cathay Pacific allows you to travel up to 10K flown miles for 45K miles in coach, 80K miles in business class, or 120K miles in first class, so that works for most flights from the US to Europe except for the west coast. For a flight from Los Angeles-London (which also has good availability right now) you can use 100K Alaska miles or 115K AA miles in business class (it would be 120K with Asia Miles).
I just held an award on AA.com from Chicago to London for 5 passengers over our kids’ winter break, though I’m not sure that London is the ideal place to spend a winter break. Besides, we’re still traumatized from last year’s experience on American…
To search for American flights only (in order to exclude BA flights with $1,000+ fuel surcharges) click on Advanced Search and then switch from AA+AAdvantage Participating Airlines to American Airlines and American Eagle only:
Grab the 77W if you can for the best business class in AAs fleet:
Sample award search for 4 passengers from Chicago-London (AA flights only, toggled to non-stop flights only)
Sample award search for 4 passengers from JFK-Milan (AA flights only, toggled to non-stop flights only)
Sample award search for 4 passengers from JFK-Paris (AA flights only, toggled to non-stop flights only)
Sample award search for 4 passengers from JFK-Zurich (AA flights only, toggled to non-stop flights only)
Sample award search for 4 passengers from Philadelphia-London (AA flights only, toggled to non-stop flights only)
Will you burn your miles for a trip to Europe this winter?