The Cheapest Domestic First Class Fare I’ve Ever Seen

Filed Under: American, Great Deals

I write all the time about how we’re seeing more great premium cabin fares than ever before. Airlines are increasingly trying to condition consumers to pay for the product they want, rather than to rely on upgrades. Even as an elite member entitled to complimentary space available upgrades on American, I sometimes find myself paying for first class, given how it’s only marginally more expensive.

However, at the moment we’re seeing what I think is the cheapest first class fare I’ve ever seen. Admittedly this fare won’t be useful to everyone, though hopefully some of you can take advantage of it. Regardless, I find it fascinating.

American has $74 one-way first class fares between Los Angeles and Portland throughout much of October and November. The fare is available in both directions, though you can choose just to book it as a one-way.



The base fares on these tickets is just $55, meaning under American’s new revenue based frequent flyer program you’d earn just ~275 redeemable miles for the ticket as a non-elite (as an Executive Platinum member I’d earn a total of 11x miles per dollar spent, for a total of 605 miles).

However, elite qualifying miles are still awarded based on distance flown, and you earn double elite qualifying miles for paid first class.

Alternatively you could credit to Alaska Mileage Plan, as they’d award both elite qualifying and redeemable miles for 150% of the distance flown.


As a point of comparison, the economy fare on these flights seems to be ~$58, so it’s ~$15 cheaper than first class. That’s a price at which I think most people would agree first class is worth the premium.


This particular route is operated by American Eagle Embraer 175s, which are by far my favorite regional jet. They’re actually a fairly nice ride in first class, and I generally prefer them to American’s older 737s, given that you can select a single seat on the side of the plane.

While most people probably won’t be using this fare to mileage run, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a first class fare this low.

What’s the cheapest first class fare you’ve ever seen?

(Tip of the hat to CokeandTaco on FlyerTalk)

  1. Flying this route 3x would get you BA status. Not bad for just over $200 in expense. If you’re LAX-BASEE could easily be worth spending a few weekends in PDX.

  2. Just to be clear (in response to other comments), doing this 3x would only get you BA status (OW Ruby for 3x return, OW Sapphire for 5x return) if you also meet the BA “minimum segments on BA metal requirement” of 2x segments for BA Bronze (OW Ruby) or 4x segments for BA Silver (OW Sapphire). Nonetheless, would be a decent tier point run for anyone that meets the segment requirement or otherwise just needs a TP top-up.

  3. This falls in the sub-900 mile category for AA’s meals and thus is a “refreshment” aka snack basket flight, whereas AS serves a light meal on the same segment. The price difference? $251! It’s $392 round trip for AS and I see AA for $141 R/T some days. Easy choice considering that appreciably the products other than food (not a selling point for me personally) are close to identical: Domestic First Class recliner seats, wi-fi, power on some AS planes but not all, no power on the E175. The crews on Compass are consistently friendly, too. Definitely not enough of a difference to pay for even discount AS F on a 2-hour flight. I might do a few of these instead of transcon Y mileage runs this year, with the DEQM bonus for elites it’s worth it.

  4. I can’t get the AA site to produce a calendar/fare as seen above. I’m looking for “flexible dates” button, anyone find it?

  5. i have seen a cheaper on AA between Las Vegas & LAX on their A-320 Aircraft. In May i paid $ 48 for a one way first class, had to be bought 7 days before departure. after 7 days it jumped to $ 69.

  6. Where can I find that Calendar View of an AA route’s first class fares for the entire month? I’m not familiar with that feature from the AA booking website.

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