ACT FAST: US Airways Business Class Award Availability Wide Open!

Filed Under: American, Awards

Last November I wrote about how US Airways would be adjusting fare classes on January 17, 2015, in order to further to align with American.

As I wrote about at the time, the changes included the following:


Among those changes was the fare code for saver level business class awards being adjusted from “I” to “U.”

“I” is the standardized business class award code for Star Alliance, while “U” is the standardized business class award code for oneworld.

Previously “U” was just a fare code for a revenue economy ticket.

Anyway, as part of this transition, it seems that US Airways has forgotten to adjust inventory for “U” class, and as a result transatlantic business class awards on US Airways flights are wide open, even over peak summer dates.

US Airways business class seat A330

For example, there are a minimum of six saver level business class award seats on the below routes:





While US Airways’ soft product might not be amazing, they have a really solid hard product, given that they have the original reverse herringbone seat. And I tend to think for transatlantic business class, the hard product is the single most important thing.

US Airways business class seat A330

Here are a couple of trip reports I’ve written about US Airways business class:

I generally find oneworld to be the weakest alliance for transatlantic business class awards when you factor in the overall value. That’s because the main transatlantic airline is British Airways, and they impose fuel surcharges for their flights regardless of which airline you book through.

So this is a fantastic option for redeeming miles for transatlantic business class, especially over peak summer dates and for large groups. As a reminder:

  • US Airways Dividend Miles charges 100,000 miles for roundtrip business class between the US and Europe
  • American AAdvantage charges 50,000 miles for one-way business class between the US and Europe
  • British Airways charges 40,000 Avios for one-way business class between the US and Europe (plus fuel surcharges)

I wouldn’t expect this to last, so if you’re interested book ASAP. Keep in mind that American and US Airways allow five and three day holds on award tickets, respectively, so I’d lock in flights now and decide later.

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. @ Joe — Certainly not an aspirational redemption if the journey is half the fun of the trip, but if you actually need to get somewhere (like Europe over summer) I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to book this.

    I’ve redeemed for two US Airways business class awards for my own travels in the past month, for what it’s worth. šŸ™‚

  2. US on an A330 (BCN-PHL) vs. AA on a new flat bed 767 (BCN-JFK)?? Which would you take? I’ve already redeemed US DM miles for JFK but got an alert yesterday that the PHL route had opened up.

  3. @ Mike — Toughie. I would go with whichever is more convenient in terms of time, connection, etc. Purely in terms of hard product I slightly prefer US Airways’ to American’s.

  4. Just booked a europe biz award

    Got charged for biz

    Cabin is listed as economy

    Houston we have a problem

  5. @ Ashdd — Nothing to be worried about. Just look at the seatmap and you’ll see you’re in business. Once they update the system correctly (which was the cause of this problem to begin with) it will show business class.

  6. Ashdd here

    so on US air the TATL segments are indeed listed as Biz.. won’t let me see seat map, because I only held itinerary. the domestic segments are in Y for some reason (E175 aircraft). is that normal

  7. @ fasasdf — Yeah, you can only see the seatmap once you ticket, but you have nothing to worry about. On the E175 you get first class if there’s first class award availability, but if there isn’t then you’re in economy.

  8. @ arthur — Which program are you trying to book through? If booking through US, you may have to call to book.

  9. Ben – This is fantastic information. CLT-FRA is 50k – If i add a domestic segment – CLE-CLT then does it still cost 50K or do I have to add another 12.5 to the total flight cost. That is how it is pricing on the website. Can you explain. Thank you.

  10. @ kim — If there’s saver level award space then it should be bookable at the same cost. Which website are you trying to price it on?

  11. Ben – On the AA Website. That’s what I thought – If I hold the CLT FRA now can I call and add another segment later for same cost?

  12. mmmmmmh – I’m waiting to buy a ticket tomorrow (Dec 17 departure), now I’m afraid because of your announcement, they’ll pull all award availability and maybe I won’t get it…

    Agree about the hard product being more important than the food. Sometimes is good if the food isn’t that good: it means I don’t stuff myself on the plane, and have more time to sleep!

  13. You’re a lifesaver, Lucky. My parents decided to take a trip with very set dates to Europe in May – they’d already purchased tickets, but there was just nothing in business class for my wife and I on those exact dates, and I’ve been agonizing about what to do. Just finished ticketing our flights on the exact dates we needed them. Thanks!!!

  14. Thanks Lucky. If I put the TATL segment ON HOLD online and call later to add the domestic segment, do I need to pay phone booking fee?

  15. @ augias — Good chance it’ll be pulled by then, but it’s also possible the flight will “legitimately” have award space if you’re booking that far out.

  16. @ Ryan — Yes, you can hold for five and three days with American and US Airways, respectively, even if you don’t have the points in your account.

  17. Any recommendations? I have 50k points posting in 2 days, and another 50k posting in 9 days. If I call to book 1 of the held tickets do you think they will place another hold on the 2nd ticket? Sorry if this is an odd question, not sure if you have any experience with this type of situation.

  18. @ Ryan — Unfortunately it’s highly unlikely. If there’s still award space in five days then they can place the space on hold again, but they won’t really extend the hold if there’s no award space anymore. Five days is usually a pretty firm limit. Sorry.

  19. Is the US business class seat on the CLT-DUB flight Airbus 332 the same as the good one you were talking about on the LHR flight? Same question for flights CLT-MAD.

  20. I keep trying to click through to book these flights on the AA website, and now all I get is a message that says “The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request.”

  21. Thanks Lucky! One clarification please: Booking code ‘U,’ albeit economy for the time being, is actually business correct?

  22. Ben, I’m trying to look it up via BA Avios website, but PHL-FRA is coming up as F instead of J – and BA is charging 60K Avios + $562, that doesn’t seem correct.

    Is this a booking class confusion issue specific to Avios?

  23. The Intl portion of my itinery is showing fare code U cabin economy! Are you suggesting not to call to make sure it is in business class? I don’t want to end up in economy while paying 50k miles for biz! Thanks!

  24. Hey Lucky!
    Thanks for posting this!! Our schedule cleared to book our (belated) honeymoon in April… and award availability was dismal, but I was able to jump on this after reading your post… and I’ve got seat reservations in business. I saw the same thing that Sharon saw, but we’re all squared away now. Thanks times a million!!

  25. Lucky/all,

    Is this gone now? was looking for SFO-MXP for Nov, cannot find any on either US Airways and AA website šŸ™

  26. @David, I don’t think US Airway fly to MXP. The best way is to search the transpacific segment PHL to MAD, FCO, LHR, CDG etc.. or from CLT.. availability is there. SFO is my home airport too. Finding biz seat on nonstop SFO-PHL or -CLT can be challenging too. This is why when you search SFO-MXP nothing would come up. Try break it down by segments.

  27. Any one transfer SPG to AAdvantage to take advantage of this availability? If so, have your points transferred yet? I transferred 40k Starpoints to my AAdvantage account and they haven’t showed up yet. Which is worrying me now because my hold is about to expire!

    Transfer initiated on Monday Jan19th at 10PM PST, not transferred yet (Monday Jan 26th noon PST)
    Also, as an aside, I did another transfer from SPG->SPG from my wife’s account to mine at the same time, and those haven’t come yet either.

  28. finally ticketed!

    aa says econ , but us says biz

    seat map is biz and have biz seats elected

    Thanks Lucky you rock

  29. It looks like this is back today. For weeks I have been unsuccessfully looking for a saver biz seat to Europe (non BA) this summer using AA miles. Today there is a gold mine of US saver biz seats out of PHL on the AA website!!!

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