Act Now: Redeem American Miles For Business Class To Europe!

Filed Under: American, Awards

Over the past few weeks, American has announced four new routes between the US and Europe, which will launch in the spring of 2015. These include the following flights:

  • A second daily Boeing 777-300ER flight between Los Angeles and London as of March 28, 2015
  • A daily Boeing 757-200 flight between New York and Birmingham as of May 7, 2015
  • A daily Boeing 757-200 flight between New York and Edinburgh as of May 7, 2015
  • A daily Boeing 767-300 flight between Miami and Frankfurt as of May 14, 2015

New Europe flights are now bookable

Yesterday these flights finally became bookable, and as is the norm for American, premium cabin awards space was pretty tough to come by… at least initially.

All four routes didn’t have a single saver business class award seat available, though did have plenty of saver economy award seats available.

That is incredibly stingy, though that’s the norm with American award availability to Europe. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a flight between London and New York which didn’t have a single first class seat occupied only a few hours before departure, but still didn’t have a saver level first class award seat available.

The one exception to the lack of premium cabin award space was on the Los Angeles to London route. While they didn’t have a single business class award seat on the flight, through May 31, 201, every single first class seat was also bookable on miles at the saver level.

My guess is that it was an oversight, as it was pulled pretty quickly. But it’s not the first time this oversight has occurred, as American seems to quite frequently open up an insane amount of award space when they first load routes.

Anyway, it seems that American has now made a rational amount of saver business class award seats available on all four new routes, per and ExpertFlyer:

Los Angeles to London business class upgrade/award space

I wasn’t expecting American to make any saver business class award seats available based on historical trends, though it looks like I was wrong. American has loaded a rational amount of business class award and upgrade space on the second daily frequency between Los Angeles and London.



The space is only available through May 31, 2015, and we’re seeing up to two business class award seats and up to four confirmable business class upgrade seats per flight. There’s generally more availability from London to Los Angeles than from Los Angeles to London.


As a reminder, this route is operated by American’s 777-300ER, which features their new business class product.

American 777-300ER business class

New York to Edinburgh business class upgrade/award space

Through the end of the schedule, American is making two business class award seats and four business class upgrade seats available per flight between New York and Edinburgh. That’s quite generous, given that the flight only has 16 business class seats.




New York to Birmingham business class upgrade/award space

The situation is exactly the same as on the New York to Edinburgh flight. Through the end of the schedule, American is making two business class award seats and four business class upgrade seats available per flight between New York and Birmingham.




Miami to Frankfurt business class upgrade/award space

Much like on the Los Angeles to London route, American is only making business class award space available through May 31, 2015. Since the route only launches on May 14, 2014, that leaves about a two week window for booking these seats.



However, American only seems to be releasing one upgrade and one award seat per flight on this route, so it’s of limited use.


Bottom line

I wouldn’t assume this is an error, though I would act quickly, since I’m sure there will be lots of competition for these few premium cabin seats. Whether you’re looking to redeem miles, or an Executive Platinum member looking to upgrade a paid ticket with systemwide upgrades, this is a great opportunity.

Do you plan on redeeming miles for any of these new American routes?

  1. What is the difference between “business class award seats” and “business class upgrade seats”? Are both of those types of seats available when booking award travel? Are both of those guaranteed business class seats? I know they each have a code, “U” and “C”, I just don’t know the operational differences.

  2. @ Brady — A business class award seat is one you can redeem miles for, while a business class upgrade seat is when you can book a revenue ticket and immediately confirm an upgrade to business class using miles or a systemwide upgrade.

    Let me know if that doesn’t make sense!

  3. @ Lucky – Thanks to your post yesterday, I was able to grab two Business SAAver award seats from LAX to LHR for next spring. Direct AA operated flights each way, so no BA taxes and fees, yay. Better yet, you can hold the reservation till 11:59pm on Friday, Nov 7. Surprisingly generous of AA, in my opinion.

  4. Hi Lucky!

    I was also lucky enough to have a first class AA award flight from DFW-LHR in April 2015 booked. I’m concerned to it might be changed to all business class as it is the older plane that they are retrofitting and it’s still 5-6 months away. Do you think it is better to hold on to the current award or change to the new 767-300ER business class from LAX-LHR? Thanks for your opinion.

  5. I am for one happy chase has stopped the 70,000 offer so lucky can actually start posting some quality content. Like this one.

  6. Hi Lucky, I have a question I hope your experience can help me answer. I just priced out 2 seats on the new JFK-EDI route, on BA and AA’s website. Why does BA think they can charge me and additional $828 US dollars per person for “BA Carrier” charges, when the flight is operated on AA metal? I expected to see some taxes and fees, (AA website is over $500) but $2000 in taxes on AA metal?
    Do they waive those charges if you book over the phone? Is this an award pricing engine issue?

    Many thanks,

  7. @ Jim — Well on the plus side, if it switches to a two class plane then you’ll get the difference in miles and the new business class product. So I would go with whichever schedule is more convenient for you.

  8. @ JW HPN — Those are the fuel surcharges, which they do impose for travel on American between the US and Europe. There’s no way to waive them. Sorry.

  9. Hi Lucky.

    Sorry I wasn’t more clear. It’s a USDM award on AA flight so I don’t think I would get any miles back, especially since other segments on the trip are 1st class with JAL and Cathay. I think my question is how the AA retro-fitted business class on the 7?7-200 compares with the new 767-300ER business class.

    Thanks again for your input.

  10. @ Jim — Well it’s the 777-300ER they fly on Los Angeles to London, and the products are very similar. So I wouldn’t change if the goal is a better product, as they’re comparable.

  11. Ben can you explain how you can tell if there is confirmable upgrades available? Do you have to call to get this done?

  12. It is sort of sad when we get excited that American has released some business class award seats. As you said this is not available for the summer.

    Frustrated that AA has pretty well stopped making 2 seats to Europe possible at the saver level. I remember the good ol days when 100K AA miles could get you a return business class flight to Europe on many days in the summer, and 200K could get you 2 tickets in business class. I wonder when AA’s partners like British Airways or Iberia or Air Berlin will stop making award seats available at the saver level in business class.

  13. Lucky, if i have AA miles to burn and want to get to Europe in a premium cabin, aren’t there better options than flying AA metal?

  14. What website or system do you use to see the fare code and number of seat available for upgrade and award space? Apologies for asking a rather basic question, but this would be helpful as I plan future system wide upgrade use and award travel.

    Thanks! I have been reading your articles and greatly enjoy the updates, reviews and information.

  15. To those who are having problems finding seats in J, they are out there, I was able to get two seat on April 1st LAX-LHR. Finding F seats is the tough, but very happy to get the seats I got have to love the fee $11 for two people… As Lucky has posted my biggest issue with AA is the lack of award seats on flights to Europe, but being able to get these makes me on happy traveler…

  16. @ eric — Europe is tough right now with American miles, sadly. Your other options are airberlin, Iberia, or US Airways, unless you want to pay the fuel surcharges on British Airways.

  17. airberlin cancelled my MIA-TXL flight and I am ‘forced’ to give up my full flat bed and go with the MIA-FRA AA 763.

    Do you personally think that AA would put their retrofitted 763 or their 772s? (77Ws would definitely not be in there)

    Thank you for the great information! Always appreciate your posts which gives me great information about award bookings and my travels!

  18. @ David — It would be nice, though unfortunately wouldn’t count on it, at least if you’re traveling in the first half of next year. After that I’d say it’s fairly likely… eventually.

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