American Airlines International First Class From 50K Miles

Filed Under: American, Awards

As I’ve said before, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with planning travel way in advance, given the deals that are available. However, if you’re going to do so, go into it with the expectation that the trip may not materialize, as we don’t know how the current situation will evolve.

For those interested in planning some travel, American Airlines has some great deals right now.

American Airlines’ “web special” awards

While American Airlines has an award chart with published prices, they often have awards that aren’t priced according to the chart. Sometimes awards are more expensive, while sometimes they’re cheaper.

These cheaper awards are called “web special” awards, and can represent an incredible value.

The best way to search web special awards is to just do an award search on aa.com and look at the calendar view, and then you’ll see the huge variance in pricing.

American’s 777 business class

Discounted American Airlines first class awards

A few days ago I wrote about American’s discounted web special awards to & from Japan, but the deals go way beyond that.

You can fly between the US and Tokyo for:

  • 45,000 miles one-way in business class (usually at least 60,000 miles)
  • 55,000 miles one-way in first class (usually at least 80,000 miles)

You can fly between the US and Hong Kong for:

  • 45,000 miles one-way in business class (usually at least 70,000 miles)
  • 55,000 miles one-way in first class (usually at least 110,000 miles)

You can fly between the US and Sao Paulo for:

  • 40,000 miles one-way in business class (usually at least 57,500 miles)
  • 50,000 miles one-way in first class (usually at least 85,000 miles)

As you can see, those prices represent huge discounts, and that’s assuming you can even otherwise find saver level award availability, which can be really tough to come by on American “metal.”

If you’re looking to fly first class, you’ll be flying a 777-300ER, which is on the following routes:

  • Dallas to Tokyo Haneda
  • Dallas to Hong Kong
  • Los Angeles to Hong Kong
  • Dallas to Sao Paulo
  • Miami to Sao Paulo
  • New York to Sao Paulo

American’s 777-300ER

All of these routes have wide open availability at the moment.

You’ll want to search directly on aa.com with the calendar function, and many dates even have availability for two or more passengers.

Note that you’ll find the most availability with connecting itineraries. For example, you won’t find any first class awards if searching just between Dallas and Hong Kong, but you’ll find plenty of space for connecting itineraries — you just need to connect to anywhere. This is because American uses married segment logic for awards nowadays.

An American Airlines first class reality check

I think it’s important to mention that American Airlines first class isn’t much to get excited about. Here’s my review of American’s 777-300ER first class between Dallas and Hong Kong.

However, with first class awards wide open, and with these first class awards pricing lower than business class awards on partner airlines, you really can’t go wrong, in my opinion. Just don’t expect this to be Cathay Pacific first class

American’s 777 first class

Personally I’d rather redeem 55,000 miles for American Airlines first class over 60,000 miles for Japan Airlines business class or 70,000 miles for Cathay Pacific business class.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class

Bottom line

American Airlines has some amazing web special awards at the moment, which can represent a great deal for first and business class travel.

Of course no one should be traveling right now for fun, though there’s nothing wrong with booking these many months out and hoping that things are better by then.

Just remember that this situation is still evolving, and we don’t know when things will improve. For example, as of now Japan has banned tourists from the US (and many other countries) indefinitely. I certainly expect that will be lifted within the next several months, though you never know…

Anyone going to take advantage of these American first & business class award specials?

Comments
  1. This is intriguing, since I may be flying from Tokyo to Miami next March. I’m interested in whether folks would rather do (1) 55,000 miles for American first class, (2) 45,000 miles for American business class, or (3) 60,000 miles for Japan Airlines business class.

  2. Hey Lucky

    Maybe you can do an article on what you think service (food, beverage, amenities etc.) will be like once things return to normal in business and first class. With the airlines in such dire financial situation, I cannot imagine service will return to what it was prior.

  3. @Vivek

    I can’t fathom the thought that American even *could* cut the quality of their First class cabins even further…

  4. @ Brian — I do think F over J is worth the incremental 10K miles, even if F is nothing to get excited about. And while JAL J is very good, I do think I’d take AA F and save 5K miles over JL J.

  5. I jumped on a HKG-LAX-JFK in AA F for 61K the other day (Going for 50K in J) Decent availability in Nov/Dec/Jan

  6. @ Lucky – Thanks so much for the reply! I’ll just have to hope this sticks around for a couple weeks so I can book this for my preferred dates. =)

  7. I’ll pass but for someone that flies frequently to Tokyo for business you can’t go wrong with 45K for business class.

    Given these times we are currently facing American should consider easing the restrictions on these web fare specials such as allowing changes and cancellations .

  8. @ FirstAA — It isn’t. Make sure you’re searching connecting itineraries the right time of year.

  9. @ D3KingAmerican — Keep in mind web specials can be cancelled, they just can’t be changed.

  10. Is this AA stock accessible through an etihad partner award? A lot easier to come by etihad miles now that the grAAvy train is over.

  11. @ Lisfranc — Web Special awards aren’t always even available at the “saver” award costs, strange as that may seem. If they are available to Etihad it would be at the normal award costs.

  12. This deal has been around for months and I booked this to travel in September before the COVID-19 pandemic! The likelihood of this trip is low, I hope AA will waive the fee to redeposit my points 🙁

  13. Good point Lucky.

    Also agree AA F > JAL J especially for 5k less miles. Even with AAs abysmal service, there’s still only a handful of F seats vs 50ish JAL J seats.

  14. I literally JUST booked my flight for wife, daughter, and me from DFW direct to Haneda for 40,000 miles round trip a person. WOOH! The flight is priced at ~$1400 for a whopping 3.5 cents per AA mile.

  15. I was hoping this would work for space on a good airline like JAL. My experiences with AA first class to Asia have been terrible. Still, at least it’s cheap, I guess.

  16. On what basis should the travel restrictions get lifted if there is no vaccine? The whole point of “flatten the curve” is that once it has been flattened the restrictions need to stay in place to keep it flat. Lifting restrictions = An explosion in cases. It won’t happen

  17. All things aside it is that the dreaded ‘dynamic pricing’ of awards has come to show some great deals. February I canceled a Cathay ticket JFK-AKL as COVID was starting to kick off. Re-booked with AA in J JFK-LAX-AKL for 71k one way.

    Supposed to be preforming at Fuji Rocks in Japan come August, however, I don’t hold many hopes for a music festival with 50k attendees going ahead. Regardless, I drained most of my AA miles between November – Feb.

  18. Lucky – what makes you think they will offer international F when they return? F was only offered on limited flights and I have seen several stories that AA is likely to follow the lead of DL and UA with no international first class. They will likely keep it on the trans on flights but not international ones.

    Agree it is worth an extra 10K but would be bad if they let you know in July or August that those flights now have no F so you get the miles back and business class is now either not available or only at a much higher mileage cost. IMHO that is a very likely scenario. Personally I would book business not to save the miles but to ensure I likely have a seat!

  19. No reply when I ask Lucky or anyone: Do you know if American will proceed with BLR / SEA and SEA / LHR ?
    Thanks.

  20. I jumped on two RT awards SAN-DFW-GRU in J for 160k total. Dynamic pricing not the worst

  21. I like how for all of United and Delta’s talk of the benefits of dynamic award pricing, it’s AA that beats them to this.

  22. Keep in mind there may be a 2nd wave of covid infections later this year in the fall/winter and/or early next year.

    ~ The Honorable Reginald

  23. Ben, when you say search connecting itineraries do I have to put in multi-city?
    For instance lax to hnd what would I search?
    thanks so much!!
    Terry

  24. 55K in first class was a deal. It’s completely gone. I found only one date for 63K so I decided to go for it. HND-DFW-IAH in First for 63K. Good value for the miles. I’m going to Japan.

  25. Completely not worth it. I’d always pay 80k (or 70k with AS) for the 10-hour direct flight from SFO on JAL without hesitation. AA F is garbage and you couldn’t get me to fly it for even half the miles, especially if I was connecting. Take it from an Exec Plat for 8 years running. There’s absolutely nothing special about AA F.

  26. I am holding 3 OW tics in F for 55k each Sea to HND via DFW for Feb 22 next year. Need to make a decision by 4/11/20. I am seriously considering cancelling after reading the reviews of AA F. Will go to the Philippines instead next January where we own a home and will catch the Sinulog festival in Cebu City. Going via CX in Premium Economy Anc-Ceb.

  27. “Personally I’d rather redeem 55,000 miles for American Airlines first class over 60,000 miles for Japan Airlines business class”

    say whut

  28. @Eskimo

    It will be nice to know I have a confirmed ticket in first class at the end of a vacation.

    D3 is low seniority. There can be 10-20 non revs ahead of me so first class is impossible and business class is highly unlikely on the Tokyo routes.

    The only luck I’ve had non revving to Asia lately in business class is outbound US to mainland China. Leaving China business class is always full now. But then COVID19 happened. So we’ll see

  29. Ben can you expand on your comment that you’d rather fly AA F than JAL J? The mileage difference is almost negligible, hard product is a slight advantage to AA, and I would think the soft product is way better on JAL. Are your thoughts different?

  30. I booked AA business class DFW-FRA (with first on connecting flight CLT-DFW) for 42,000 miles each way (84,000 total) in November. Great deal. Worst case I cancel and pay $200 to have miles redeposited but willing to risk that to get this value for the miles.

  31. I was looking to fly on the route from DFW to Tokyo HND and I am flying with a family of 4. I’m an Executive Platinum with AA and I was wondering if I could book in Business (on the 45K award) and then upgrade, whether that’s a complementary upgrade or a systemwide upgrade (which I have 4 of)? I heard AA Executive Platinums get free upgrades even on web special awards. Would that work for my entire family?

  32. JFK-DFW-HND in J-F booked for 55K end of Oct, hoping things will be better by then, excited to experience autumn in Japan

  33. @Mark5 LAX-SEA-BLR is postponed until October, 2021. I had almost pulled the trigger on a SEA-LAX-DFW trip because I could do it all on the 789 and I’m a wide body geek like that. Plus F SEA-LAX was only $174!

  34. Having done both multiple times the difference is stark under normal circumstance, and business classno JAL is far superior than the pathetic first class on AA, but with covid still circulating I have no doubts that AA will continue to be a relative cesspool of germs while JAL will be super clean.

    AA doesn’t even clean restrooms during the flight, and flight attendants’ contract states they don’t have to do it. I highly doubt that AA will hire a bathroom attendant to keep things sanitary. JL constantly cleans its restrooms in business class under ordinary times, it will be even more so now.

  35. Where do you sit?

    I’m looking at the lead picture for this article and, as a main cabin flyer, am wondering, with all the accessories piled up on the seat, where is there room for the first class passenger? Or related, what do you do with all that stuff if you want to use the seat for sitting?

  36. Also can’t understand anyone who would prefer aa f to jal c. AA is an embarrassment, jal is bliss.

  37. I think all inventory has gone. I wanted to book AA first LGA to HND on 7 March 2021. Was available this week for 55k but as of today when I was ready to book nothing available.

  38. I booked First from DFW to HND at 55k, and when I checked my reservation again today, I noticed that I was downgraded to business (since they are no longer offering flights with First from Dallas). Any suggested action? Will AA allow you to rebook onto another flight with First even if it’s on a different route than the initial itinerary? Would it need to show award space available to be eligible? Thanks!

  39. I second what Trevor said, I booked F, but just noticed I was downgraded to J. I’m wondering what recourse I have with AA if any. AA F was 55k miles, I see JL J is currently available on my dates and others for 60k.

  40. Same here and just called AA. Asked about JAL in J and got offered Coach. There was award space available in J on the date of my flight, so not an inventory issue. Would love to hear if anyone has better luck

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