Great Deal: American Awards & Upgrades To Europe Wide Open!

Filed Under: American, Awards

Over the past couple of years, American has been extremely stingy with making premium cabin award seats available on longhaul flights. However, for whatever reason availability seems to go in “spurts,” where sometimes there’s virtually no availability, and then the next day there’s tons of award availability.

Via View from the Wing, at the moment American has a lot of business class award availability between the US and Europe, including for travel over peak summer dates.

With American, international business class award and upgrade space is identical, so this also means that upgrades are wide available. If you’re an Executive Platinum member, this is a great opportunity to redeem systemwide upgrades.

There’s an especially generous amount of business class award space between Los Angeles and London, as I’d say about half of the dates through late summer have business class availability:


That’s also typically one of the toughest transatlantic routes on which to upgrade, and perhaps the one which adds the most value, since nonstop business class award seats between the west coast and Europe can be especially tough to come by.

And we’re not just talking one seat, but rather seven or more award/upgrade seats, in many cases.


American charges just 50,000 miles for one-way business class between the US and Europe, and there are no fuel surcharges for travel on American. The price of that award will go up to 57,500 miles for bookings made as of March 22, 2016.

Also keep in mind American allows five day award holds, so you can always hold tickets now and then ticket them later.


The way I see it, you’re not at all “settling” by flying American business class. If you can get on one of their 777-300ER planes with reverse herringbone seats, you’re getting the best transatlantic hard product there is, along with Wi-Fi. It’s probably my favorite transatlantic business class product out there.

American-777-Business-Class - 22

There’s great availability out of several other transatlantic gateways as well, like Charlotte, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, etc.

Bottom line

If you’re looking to book premium cabin transatlantic travel, especially as a group, I’d recommend taking advantage of this as soon as possible. Not only is availability amazing, but if you can get on a plane with flat beds, it’s also a really solid transatlantic product.

Were you able to take advantage of some of American’s transatlantic business class award availability?

  1. “With American, international business class award and upgrade space is identical”

    Not true at all. At all. Sometimes they’re correlated, but they’re definitely not identical. Maybe you’re confusing AA with BA.

  2. @ Mike — Can you give any examples for longhaul international flights where they differ? Don’t remember the last time where “C” hasn’t equaled “U.”

  3. I see NY to Zurich routing through Helsinki on Finnair, but I keep getting an error “The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request.” I tried a few different dates and I get the same error. Is Finnair not bookable on Thank you.

  4. @lucky Not sure about tonight (it’s certainly unusual to have this much availability), but in general they’re definitely not the same.

    One example: AA175 DFW-NRT on 4/19 has U but not C.

    And, a few days to a few weeks out, they very often open C without opening U.

  5. @ Ang — Sounds like it’s phantom space, which is common on American’s website. Did you check BA’s site to see if they show the space? BA’s site is usually much more accurate.

  6. I had 3x J awards SFO -> LHR at 110,00 per person for a trip in September. I re-booked and you just saved me 117,000 miles. Many thanks Lucky!

  7. I still don’t understand why anytime an airline simply allows the flights to be booked under their announced frequent flyer program, it is a “Great Deal!” “Act Fast”!

    Why as consumers do we stand for this?

  8. Hi,

    Really awesome article. And wonderful information regarding the American Awards and Upgrades to Europe.

  9. Approximately how often does AA release this “extra” award capacity? It seems like it happens every few months?

  10. You’re joking right? You seriously think U equals C? Wow I am speechless – I thought as a hot shot blogging EXP, you’d actually know what you’re talking about. Guess not! AA releasing U and C together is entirely coincidental. Look at any upcoming flight – AA will very reliably release C but almost never U. Come on man!

  11. By morning, it looked like the glitch was gone. Looking at LHR-LAX on AA, and there is not a single seat left all summer for two people travelling together.

    In my award booking understanding, this is pretty common with AA. They are extremely stingy at releasing award space in business/first class, especially on their 77W, which for me makes their miles much less valuable, as I can’t redeem AA miles for the awards I want, which would be for American operated flights between North America and Europe.

  12. Ooops. I just refreshed my search on, and it does indeed look like there are some dates this summer still with AA business class saver availability LHR-LAX.

    But on another note: No upgrade space and saver business class space is not the same. As a rule of thumb there is generally more upgradeable space then there is award space.

  13. I booked LAX-LHR, but so far can’t find any way to get back home from anywhere in EU to anywhere in the US in J for late July.

  14. Thanks for the tip! I was able to get some great flights for my in-laws for the middle of April out of DFW and back.

  15. Thanks for the tip. I was looking at LAX-CPH in business class for 5 people for the summer. When I last checked a couple of weeks ago, availability was poor. I checked again last night because of your tip, and luckily was able to book 5 seats on the day I wanted to travel. Thanks

  16. Kind of off topic, but it seems today American opened up a lot of First Saver awards to Buenos Aires in April. I had been looking for a few days and it was slim pickings. Then today the full calendar view was very colorful. I was able to get great flights ORD-MIA-EZE on the newer 77W. I grabbed seat 1A in First on the way down MIA-EZE. I’m not sure I want to be that close to the galley but 1A in First seems to be a right of passage. I had 1K on Lufthansa FRA-ORD this summer, that was cool. Hard as I tried I couldn’t even see the wing I was so far forward.

  17. Just changed reservations to 4 Business seats Miami – CDG August for 50K a seat that weren’t available when I first booked the trip couple of months …. always pays to look every now and than.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *