The Summer Of Non-Existent Airline Award Seats

The Summer Of Non-Existent Airline Award Seats

135

I’d like to think I’m pretty good at finding airline award availability. Well, at the moment I’m finding myself totally stumped, for the first time ever (I think?).

I enjoy searching & booking award travel

There aren’t many things in life I claim to be really good at, but finding airline award seats is one of them. I’m incredibly persistent, I love getting a deal, and I enjoy following availability trends. Searching for award availability is kind of what I do in my free time, even if I don’t actually have plans to go anywhere. So while others enjoy watching those organized sports things on TV, my hobby is airline award availability.

Along those lines, I manage booking award flights for my entire family and also for some friends. I set reasonable expectations for them, and all I ask is that they trust me. Give me a range of a couple of days where you need to be somewhere in first & business class with a reasonable routing, and I’ll get you there.

Now, it’s important to emphasize that I set reasonable expectations. I’ll never promise someone I can find availability on a specific flight, and I can’t promise someone a first class award seat to Australia or Tahiti the day before Christmas. However, finding some reasonable premium cabin award seat across the Atlantic (as an example) is just about always possible.

The other important part of this is trust. Airlines open up most of their award seats as the departure date approaches, so I might only get them a ticket within a few days of departure, but I will get it. They have to trust me, even though I recognize that to many, the concept of having concrete plans in Europe without a flight a few days before can be daunting.

As I always remind family members, I’ve never ever let them down with this stuff. So they have to trust me, as unconventional as my approach to booking flights is.

Well, for the first time (literally ever), I’m finding myself in a position where I don’t think I can follow through on my promise of saver level award availability. And ultimately that’s my problem, and it’ll be my job to make things right… but wow.

Airline award space is (almost) nowhere to be found

I’ve never seen anything like this summer before

Of course I knew this would be a busy summer for transatlantic travel demand, but even so, I wasn’t predicting quite the extent to which flights would be full. For example, seeing Lufthansa Boeing 747-8s a couple of weeks in advance be “F0J0” (meaning not a single one of the 88 first & business class seats is for sale) is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen as consistently before.

Like, two weeks out I’m seeing five day periods where every single first & business class seat on Lufthansa is sold out from New York and Newark to Frankfurt. This is the story of most transatlantic flights, it seems..

Usually with a bit of creativity there are some backup options that are pretty regularly available, but even those aren’t available at the moment. I mean, even Air Serbia’s New York to Belgrade flight is sold out in business class some days, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

The level of availability I’m seeing right now across the Atlantic over the next several months is lower than the availability I’ve seen to major events ranging from the World Cup to the Super Bowl.

So if you’re hoping for some last minute transatlantic award space this summer, be warned of this, because the typical old tricks don’t work. Good for airlines, I suppose, because long haul flying hasn’t otherwise exactly been profitable for the past couple of years.

I’m a person of my word, so of course when I ask people to trust me with booking award travel, it also means I need to follow through on that promise. Suffice it to say I’m refreshing award availability constantly, though it remains to seen if I find something, or if I’m on the hook for some very expensive award tickets. That’s why I’m throwing out this warning to others who take a similar approach to planning last minute travel.

Flights are FULL

Bottom line

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that transatlantic travel demand is through the roof this summer. As someone who closely studies airline availability trends last minute (for the purposes of finding award seats), I can say that I’ve never seen premium cabin seats on transatlantic flights as full as right now. Ever.

When every single Lufthansa first & business class seat on a 747-8 is (pretty consistently) sold out one or two weeks in advance, you know we’re living in strange times.

Anyone else noticing the extent to which award seats simply aren’t available right now? Is this impacting your travel planning strategy?

Conversations (135)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. tim Guest

    im not seeing that they are sold out, im seeing that zero partner availability is being offered. typically, if a flight is available on united.com its available for all partners. NOPE and its not going to europe thats the big problem, it is coming back. after waiting 90 minutes on the phone with ANA, united was making no flights available baCk to the usa for reward tickets. none. so i gotta find out how to...

    im not seeing that they are sold out, im seeing that zero partner availability is being offered. typically, if a flight is available on united.com its available for all partners. NOPE and its not going to europe thats the big problem, it is coming back. after waiting 90 minutes on the phone with ANA, united was making no flights available baCk to the usa for reward tickets. none. so i gotta find out how to get home, cause even economy prices are out past what i can afford

  2. Enicideme Guest

    Just booked 4 r/t tickets to Europe on American from CLT, 30k miles each way, leaving in two weeks. Availability is wide open from CLT to almost any European city. much better then most summers. Economy but when flying direct not that big of a deal!

  3. Sharon Guest

    And just back from London to IAD in Polaris and the flight was half empty with only half full in Polaris as well. And only 60K to get in Polaris!

  4. Kim Kirk Guest

    Any chance an airline will cancel already booked award seats? With such tight availability and sky rocketing prices... I'm worried.
    I booked business EWR - ZURICH on Swiss outbound and United return.

    1. wurohe Guest

      If the airline cancels, they are obligated to rebook you in the same fare class regardless of award availability.

  5. MARK Williams Guest

    Interesting. I recently nabbed a "free" short notice (under one week) MAN-LHR-LAX premium economy frequent flier ticket on BA with my AAdvantage account for 40K. The Brits and their f*ckin taxes tho.

  6. Elliott Guest

    I fly AA miles from Miami to Mallorca through Madrid. Since Covid there have been no award availability on the partnered Iberia leg to Palma. Thus routings have been available though the UK but requires change of airport, very high fees and extremely lengthy travel times. Pay for coach fares have increased from a great deal of about $465 - $550 rt to $900 - 1200.

  7. Ian Guest

    For those who really want LH F/J, I wrote a tool for this to easily find availability. There’s no F between the US and Europe available right now on any route.
    https://awards.pnr.sh

    1. Arturo Guest

      My man you deserve a standing ovation. The site is great, availability is not ,but I digress. Thanks for providing an alternative to Expert Flyer.

      Again thanks for this tool.

    2. LH F fanboy Guest

      this tool is awesome. you're a certified god

  8. Ben Guest

    Just got off the phone with Lufthansa an hour ago and booked 3 award business class tickets on July 18th. They mentioned that they are only opening award space early for HON and Senator members and you have to call. Thankfully I am a HON member but they have really cracked down on showing award availability. If anyone needs some guidance I am happy to try and assist.

  9. Anthony Guest

    I am in Italy at the moment and you can see the impact of F0J0; the place is bloody packed. I'd day people are that desperate to travel they are even flying.... economy!

  10. highrisesea Guest

    For years I've had no trouble at all booking business or first class to southeast Asia using Alaska miles. Quite suddenly, all award availability has been pulled. Only inter Asia connecting flights are available in business.

    1. Mary Guest

      Finding ANY business or first class availability through Alaska has become a nightmare. I have spent hours on the phone with them (am currently a 75k elite) and there is just literally nothing. Also true for domestic routings. Don't even get me started on the supposed perk of guest upgrades.

  11. Skdxb Member

    Ben I,m so glad you posted this topic, and in fact, I was about to request you to write something exactly similar. There is no doubt that the airlines are playing a foul game and blocking reward seats. SQ, EK, and many others literally do not release any seat or maybe at the most 1 seat if at all. This dirty game started maybe a month or two ago and before that, it was easy...

    Ben I,m so glad you posted this topic, and in fact, I was about to request you to write something exactly similar. There is no doubt that the airlines are playing a foul game and blocking reward seats. SQ, EK, and many others literally do not release any seat or maybe at the most 1 seat if at all. This dirty game started maybe a month or two ago and before that, it was easy to find seats. Try going on the ANA website and it will literally not show you any seats for most of the routes. I am not going to tire myself or waste my time mentioning the routes and airlines involved as it is obvious this has been agreed upon and well planned. An insider of a reputed airline told me that this was the directive given to them and it will most likely last for another 12-18 months.

    1. reddargon Diamond

      Interesting. Who orchestrated this directive? 12-18 months is quite a long time, but if the airlines are able to sell out business class consistently without opening up award seats I wouldn't be surprised at all.

    2. Johhny jet Guest

      This is another misleading comment.

      "SQ, EK, and many others literally do not release any seat or maybe at the most 1 seat if at all."

      Dude last month there was wide open award space in J, close in EWR/JFK - SIN. You could've booked it with the promo they had.

      SQ Suites? Yes that's different JFK - FRA because there are only 6 seats and cash fares aren't terribly priced. (and...

      This is another misleading comment.

      "SQ, EK, and many others literally do not release any seat or maybe at the most 1 seat if at all."

      Dude last month there was wide open award space in J, close in EWR/JFK - SIN. You could've booked it with the promo they had.

      SQ Suites? Yes that's different JFK - FRA because there are only 6 seats and cash fares aren't terribly priced. (and keep in mind how much of a 'bucket list' item it is for many).

      EK? Last month I had no problem finding F space DXB - FRA/ZRH/CDG/BRU... T-1 month? Maybe look again or be more flexible?

      Try going on the ANA website and it will literally not show you any seats for most of the routes.

      Hmm, so I'm guessing you're trying to book ANA metal. Tons of pent up Japan demand so people are booking as soon as they see something a year out thru ANA program. It is also known that NH releases 1-2 seats at schedule open (which is why sometimes F cabins go out empty).

      Share exactly who/what your "reputable" source said and at what airline

  12. Donato Guest

    Frequent flyer programs originated as the brilliant idea of rewarding frequent fliers with a product that was likely to lose value, i.e. unsold vacant seats. The system works well in general and only fails at times like this when demand exceeds supply.
    With this understanding airlines are within their rights in having few offers with one caveat; those airlines that let miles lapse have to halt that during a period like this.

  13. Sal Guest

    Did you see the sale TAP had for business class travel in May? Wouldn't have helped with award travel, but they had transatlantic biz class available for $1200 one way. That was my saving grace.

    1. Jason Guest

      TAP almost always has J class fares that low. Very reasonable, and we are flying IAD-LIS-FCO one way in October for approximately $1400 one way versus $3200 one way on the UA nonstop.

  14. Noah Guest

    I was able to snag an IST-IAD For 45k TK points but booked it in November of last year. Just had to book early for this summer.

  15. Mark Guest

    The scarcity of premium seats at saver levels is amazing, but what I find truly horrifying this summer is that the evil of dynamic pricing for award seats is now fully on display with airlines charging heart-stopping numbers of points. Air Canada is charging well upwards of 250,000 Aeroplan miles for business class one way from Tel Aviv to Toronto in July; and is offering partner flights on United from LHR to YYZ via EWR...

    The scarcity of premium seats at saver levels is amazing, but what I find truly horrifying this summer is that the evil of dynamic pricing for award seats is now fully on display with airlines charging heart-stopping numbers of points. Air Canada is charging well upwards of 250,000 Aeroplan miles for business class one way from Tel Aviv to Toronto in July; and is offering partner flights on United from LHR to YYZ via EWR or IAD for as much as ***850,000*** Aeroplan points. Staggering

    1. StaceyW Guest

      Yes, UA wants 256k mikes ow in Biz SFO-AKL plus about $500 in fees! WTH, used to be 85k ow. And I can never find seats. Nor get availability on their alliance partner ANZ. Only UA flights. I feel like all the miles I’ve accumulated are for nothing.

  16. Art_Czar Member

    Closed borders to Japan and China, combined with pent up travel demand in the US, have made European travel destinations really popular this summer. Like a lot of points enthusiasts here, I was fortunate to have booked our summer travel 8 to 10 months in advance. Family of 4 in Qsuite quad one-way and in TK biz in the other direction - looking forward to the lounge experience at IST too.

  17. Chris Guest

    Still seeing sporadic award availability throughout July and August on the JFK-CMN route on Royal Air Maroc. 44k Etihad miles or 57.5k AA miles.

    1. Stuart Guest

      Shhhhh, lol. It's the secret sauce for us in DC for the IAD flight, lol.

  18. Joelle Erickson Guest

    I'm currently in Switzerland and just ended an odyssey trying to book Lufthansa First back to the United States on my birthday. Although I did find a seat to Chicago, it was absolute insanity. I'm flying on a Wednesday (i.e. not the busiest travel day) but I was seeing seats get snatched up before they even got alerted by ExpertFlyer. I had to literally keep refreshing the website hour after hour until something popped up....

    I'm currently in Switzerland and just ended an odyssey trying to book Lufthansa First back to the United States on my birthday. Although I did find a seat to Chicago, it was absolute insanity. I'm flying on a Wednesday (i.e. not the busiest travel day) but I was seeing seats get snatched up before they even got alerted by ExpertFlyer. I had to literally keep refreshing the website hour after hour until something popped up. I've never seen that before. Even backup flight costs were high, and I couldn't find good saver Business from the States to Zurich for the dates I was looking at. Even Economy redemptions are going for 60k miles! I'm staying home for the rest of the summer, it's just too crazy out there.

    1. tim Guest

      im not seeing that they are sold out, im seeing that zero partner availability is being offered. typically, if a flight is available on united.com its available for all partners. NOPE and its not going to europe thats the big problem, it is coming back. after waiting 90 minutes on the phone with ANA, united was making no flights available baCk to the usa for reward tickets. none. so i gotta find out how to...

      im not seeing that they are sold out, im seeing that zero partner availability is being offered. typically, if a flight is available on united.com its available for all partners. NOPE and its not going to europe thats the big problem, it is coming back. after waiting 90 minutes on the phone with ANA, united was making no flights available baCk to the usa for reward tickets. none. so i gotta find out how to get home, cause even economy prices are out past what i can afford

  19. Scotty Guest

    I get around 100k AMEX points per month and had some great trips now considering going with a cash back card for my business.

  20. Phipz Guest

    I knew I would be going to Spain in August if this year since January. Started looking mid Jan and couldn’t find a single business class deal out of the US for kess than $3,000. Finally around early May I found a deal out of Montreal on Air Canada for $1,800. It was not easy but almost impossible.

    1. Jason Guest

      I wouldnt expect to find a business class ticket for less than $3,000 to Europe from the U.S. You got extremely lucky with $1,800. That's the outlier

  21. Kevin Guest

    I’m glad you confirmed the drought Lucky. I too spend an inordinate amount of time researching award availability, so it’s good to know I wasn’t confused

  22. Blaz Guest

    I was lucky to book my award flights almost a year ago , but having said that, my departure flight was cancelled due to Japan's ongoing covid restrictions and AA Advantage couldn't find a single route in business class to replace it and get me to Paris, let alone getting me there on the dates that I was originally booked on. So ,luckily I was able to get a reward business class flight out of...

    I was lucky to book my award flights almost a year ago , but having said that, my departure flight was cancelled due to Japan's ongoing covid restrictions and AA Advantage couldn't find a single route in business class to replace it and get me to Paris, let alone getting me there on the dates that I was originally booked on. So ,luckily I was able to get a reward business class flight out of Darwin to Singapore (Singapore Air), and bought a relatively cheap Oman Air business class ticket to Paris on a slightly earlier date, but who's complaining? But the scarcity of business class reward flights isn't surprising ,given the demand and the fact that many oneway tickets are attracting big bucks. My award business class flight from London direct to Perth, Australia has an asking price of US$6,000, and the flights are almost full. An award ticket would be lucky to return them a third of that revenue amount.

  23. Kathy Guest

    Not only award tickets, but upgrades are gone. Even Concierge Key are not get upgraded.

  24. mauipeter Guest

    I could have written this post. Always looking for friends. I was always able to find flights in J from Hawaii to Europe last minute for 60K to 70K miles on the United site. This year, nada. 180K miles, and that with 'Mixed cabin'.

  25. Asdf Guest

    I persuaded my parents to be willing to fly DE's A330 flights Ben wrote about, SEA-FRA, for a guided tour around Scandinavia, and connect everything up with some extra days in Germany and Deutsche Bahn tickets. J outbound booked months ago, Y return booked a month ago to get the date they needed. They're retired, so they had days of flexibility on either end. AY's HEL-SEA flight was available in Y at one point on...

    I persuaded my parents to be willing to fly DE's A330 flights Ben wrote about, SEA-FRA, for a guided tour around Scandinavia, and connect everything up with some extra days in Germany and Deutsche Bahn tickets. J outbound booked months ago, Y return booked a month ago to get the date they needed. They're retired, so they had days of flexibility on either end. AY's HEL-SEA flight was available in Y at one point on exactly the right date but we didn't grab it fast enough (wanted J).

  26. M. Casey Guest

    What I’m reading, the airlines are selling out their premium cabins with $fares$ rather than miles. I’m following several markets bookings for myself and family and constantly I’m seeing J0 C0 and only Y9 B9 and everything below that 0zero0 in availability.

    I have only 3 segments that are waitlisted for upgrade, the rest were purchased in the premium cabin.

  27. Stuart Guest

    No doubt that the issue is the U.S. and Europe. There is nothing. I am telling clients in Europe to not expect me there again until the fall. Add to that the insanity of hotel rates in Europe now and it's beyond me how people are affording it all, especially a small family. I mean, I need to stop in London next week on my way back from Australia (the only routing I could get...

    No doubt that the issue is the U.S. and Europe. There is nothing. I am telling clients in Europe to not expect me there again until the fall. Add to that the insanity of hotel rates in Europe now and it's beyond me how people are affording it all, especially a small family. I mean, I need to stop in London next week on my way back from Australia (the only routing I could get as Pacific flights have non-existent availability) and the rates at even the average Hyatt Churchill are over $1K a night for a standard room on a Tuesday night.

    The one sweet spot for awards seem to be the Middle East. EK does have quite a bit in Business available. And hotel rates in Mauritius are not bad in August. I personally think that anyone looking at Europe right now should seriously be realistic and consider elsewhere. Crowded, expensive, and will feel like Disney World on spring break. I'm avoiding it all cost.

  28. Bob Guest

    What does this mean:

    I’m on the hook for some very expensive award tickets.

    Does this mean the awards are your account and you are gifting tickets?

    1. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

      It means Ben’s standing by his word, and helping friends or family out when he said he would.

  29. Richie Guest

    You and a lot of the comments have hit great points. Initially I booked ATL to FCO via MEX for 85k Skymiles in August, but kept obsessively looking. One day found round trip between ATL and FCO for 100k one way Premium select and the other in Delta One A350. The upgrade price for weeks was ~1600 to go from premium select to delta one. A few days ago I happened to log in and...

    You and a lot of the comments have hit great points. Initially I booked ATL to FCO via MEX for 85k Skymiles in August, but kept obsessively looking. One day found round trip between ATL and FCO for 100k one way Premium select and the other in Delta One A350. The upgrade price for weeks was ~1600 to go from premium select to delta one. A few days ago I happened to log in and saw an upgrade off for ~600, it was worth it for me and I snagged it. It's rough looking for those good deals right now, I've found better look booking with miles and then hoping for a paid upgrade that is reasonable.

  30. Andrew Guest

    I have observed since a long time that UA Mileage Plus blocks award availability of most partners (LH, SAS, LX, AUSTRIAN, etc) only certain routes and in certain days are open. I constantly check different cities in the USA (ORD, IAH, MIA, ATL, DFW, IAD, JFK, EWR, BOS) and Mexico (MEX, CUN) the there is nothing. Sometimes there´s awards in MEX in LH 747-8.
    I observed the same phenomenon with AAdvantage.
    Sometimes when...

    I have observed since a long time that UA Mileage Plus blocks award availability of most partners (LH, SAS, LX, AUSTRIAN, etc) only certain routes and in certain days are open. I constantly check different cities in the USA (ORD, IAH, MIA, ATL, DFW, IAD, JFK, EWR, BOS) and Mexico (MEX, CUN) the there is nothing. Sometimes there´s awards in MEX in LH 747-8.
    I observed the same phenomenon with AAdvantage.
    Sometimes when I do find something interesting it cost twice the usual saver award, its a very complicated route ( 2 or more connections) and not with the legacy airlines but rather with TAP, or POLISH.

  31. CMorgan Guest

    I am so glad I booked some upcoming mileage flights almost a year out. JAL F LAX and SFO to MNL JAL J class MNL - LAX - ANC. DL F ANC -SFO. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class And AF J Class LAX -LHR RT - New Years with routing thru DC on the way back. None of those award flights are Available now. I used AS, DL and VA miles for these trips.

    1. Joe Jones Guest

      JL F is still available on short notice -- I saw seats out of ORD and JFK next week. NH seats, on the other hand, are as rare as hen's teeth this summer, even in Y.

  32. Ken T Guest

    We booked in April for a September 2 flight from IAH to BUD, returning AMS TO IAH. All on United.
    There’s plenty of premium award on UA but most of it is at outrageous cost (in miles.)
    We were stuck with 155k miles each Houston to BUD with connection in Munich on LH to BUD IN COACH!
    Our return flight was also going to be 155k each. I kept checking and found...

    We booked in April for a September 2 flight from IAH to BUD, returning AMS TO IAH. All on United.
    There’s plenty of premium award on UA but most of it is at outrageous cost (in miles.)
    We were stuck with 155k miles each Houston to BUD with connection in Munich on LH to BUD IN COACH!
    Our return flight was also going to be 155k each. I kept checking and found that a flight two days later was only 95k, so we rebooked and will spend an extra couple of days in Amsterdam.

    Two years ago, for a similar trip, Lufthansa was wide open with premium awards. We flew nonstop Austin to Frankfurt in biz and even our connecting flights were in what passes for biz class at LH.

    Overall, Lufthansa’s hard product sucks by comparison to UA Polaris but flying out of Austin vs IAH has a lot of advantages.

    I keep checking every day for something better for our outbound flight. Maybe a last minute Turkish or Austrian will pop up. For previous trips we’ve never Paid more than 60k for Biz on UA or 70k on LH. But as the article says, there ain’t nothing on LH!

  33. Tina Guest

    Thank you for this post. I just started accumulating points for air travel and have been looking to book award travel and found it difficult.
    I wondered why so many people were into this game, when it seems so time-consuming for relatively low gain most of the time. (tons of miles for economy seats + high surcharges, virtually no business or first class availability) Now I know that this is an extremely unusual situation.

  34. Darren C Gold

    Try YYZ.

    On AC, use miles or vouchers for Premium Economy then use e-upgrades to Biz.

    For those who got the Chase AC card, $95 got us two 50K mile vouchers and numerous e-upgrades.

  35. Manny Guest

    dropping the PCR requirements to get into USA will increase the demand for tickets even more, so no free flys this summer..

    1. Eskimo Guest

      You never needed a PCR test to get in USA.

    2. Thomas Graham Guest

      Yes u did. Within 24 hours of travel. I arrived in May with that as a requirement. Thankfully it was dropped this week

    3. Uri Guest

      Antigen was enough, PCR wasn't needed.
      Also flew to USA this May.
      Anyway dropped already.

    4. Ian End Guest

      Only ART/rapid test was required

    5. TSpears Guest

      We never needed PCR to get into the US, you could just get the free/cheap antigen tests where the results come back in an hour.

  36. ET Guest

    Seeing the same thing as well after searching every gateway west of the Mississippi on every airline for weeks, with one exception... MCO. I was looking for London next week from BNA. There is a lot of availability on BA between LGW and MCO on BA in the next couple of weeks if you have AA/BA/AS points... but you got the outrageous fees/surcharges which is why I didn't jump in. But, its still cheaper than...

    Seeing the same thing as well after searching every gateway west of the Mississippi on every airline for weeks, with one exception... MCO. I was looking for London next week from BNA. There is a lot of availability on BA between LGW and MCO on BA in the next couple of weeks if you have AA/BA/AS points... but you got the outrageous fees/surcharges which is why I didn't jump in. But, its still cheaper than flying in economy right now and Chase has a BA transfer bonus so could be worth it if you can reposition to Orlando. The current RT cash rate from BNA-LHR on United from 6/22-6/26 is $3100 in ECONOMY!!!!!!! Granite, the Gatwick flight is probably best if the UK is your final stop, but just passing it along.

    After weeks of refreshing and constantly checking, found a one way outbound from ORD-LHR on UA for 60k in biz on 6/22. The one way back in economy was $2k plus. Finally found some upgrade availability though on 6/26 from LHR-EWR and booked a LHR-BNA RT in coach with a return that I may or may not use in September for $1200 and tossed 40 plus points in for the upgrade. No mileage redemptions have opened (that I've seen).

  37. Alison Guest

    Boy, am I glad I book the day the awards become available. I booked September 2022 flights on Iberia back in September 2021 and booked Air France tickets for April 2023 last month (after stalking it every day). I live in LA and will only fly biz to Europe because those are long flights (and I am too old to deal with economy). Still, I do worry that if I miss a flight (could still...

    Boy, am I glad I book the day the awards become available. I booked September 2022 flights on Iberia back in September 2021 and booked Air France tickets for April 2023 last month (after stalking it every day). I live in LA and will only fly biz to Europe because those are long flights (and I am too old to deal with economy). Still, I do worry that if I miss a flight (could still get Covid), that I won't be able to rebook. Good luck in getting those redemptions for your friends and family.

  38. Khatl Gold

    The other thing I'm consistently seeing is Delta domestically having insane redemption prices thru Summer... but also now requiring Global Upgrade Vouchers for certain domestic routing and not allowing Regional Upgrades i.e. Regional Upgrade Vouchers are being devalued. Consistently seeing that even on flights where Delta has only released the schedule in 2023.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Not allowing Regional Upgrades or no space availability for Regional Upgrades?

      I believe Regional certificates have never changed.
      It is Global certificates that had more value domestically and less value internationally.

  39. Deb Guest

    I just booked a trip to Vienna from Houston on BA and had to book premium economy instead of business.

  40. Chad Guest

    I was able to book ORD-GOI with the return GOI-MAD on Qatar, then MAD-ORD on Iberia all business flights business class for March 2023. Couple factors here: booking this far out made finding availability much easier and I often travel during shoulder seasons. Personally I like less crowds and in Europe enjoy the weather much more than summer heat.

  41. MikeBo Guest

    As a milestone birthday gift to myself in January, after a quick reposition flight from BOS - ORD, I’ve booked ORD - NRT in ANA F with an 8 day stop in Japan before HND - FRA in ANA J. After making my way to Paris by train, I’ll do CDG - BOS in coach with AF.

    Using Virgin bonus transfer from Chase, the whole “round-the-world” thing came to 92k actual points and about $400 total taxes/fees (mostly CGD - BOS).

  42. Todd Guest

    Don't forget about the IAH-MAN flight on Singapore. I found J class award space on that flight using SQ miles this summer, although it was about a month in advance.

    1. Ken T Guest

      I’d love to fly J on Singapore’s A380!

  43. Chris Guest

    Funnily enough, I was checking out the BA flight from BDA-LHR today and whilst there is NEVER any J or F availability but usually W or Y ….
    Today it was the other way around for a good few dates over the next couple of weeks.
    High fuel surcharges but plenty of US gateways to BDA.

  44. Jason Guest

    I've been noticing the same and was waiting for a post like this to make sure I wasn't crazy! It feels like all the fun has been taken out of the hobby for the time being. Sigh.

  45. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Lucky, great post. I’ve been noticing this same trend for the last 30-45 days. Both for transatlantic award availability 30-60 days out, as well as 1-14 days out. Recently there is nothing to nada. It compares with domestic travel starting in summer of 2021, which was extremely busy. We travel by using half award travel and half discounted business/first class tickets to attain status. Discounted deals have been very rare as well. The other aspect...

    Lucky, great post. I’ve been noticing this same trend for the last 30-45 days. Both for transatlantic award availability 30-60 days out, as well as 1-14 days out. Recently there is nothing to nada. It compares with domestic travel starting in summer of 2021, which was extremely busy. We travel by using half award travel and half discounted business/first class tickets to attain status. Discounted deals have been very rare as well. The other aspect is that if you do find a good transatlantic award, the domestic positioning flight is often crazy expensive. The very few deals we’ve found have been reserved more than 5 months ago. Two things going on, 1) The demand curve for transatlantic travel is off the chart because of the ending of the pandemic 2) Supply has been restricted with reduced planes, pilots and support staff. My feeling is it will take a couple years to correct. So last minute redemptions are going to be problematic for a while. I’ll also say Asia is looking a lot more attractive.

  46. A380-800 New Member

    Oh boy... We really need more A380s to cover all the premium travel demand, don't we......

  47. Lucas Guest

    Hate to say this, but I’m probably part of your problem. One of my pandemic “new rules” was “travel less but in more comfort”.

    I don’t know about the “less” part (though I’m certainly down from 70+ Segments yearly) but certainly I’ve only gone in paid Business each and every time. And I’m probably not alone.

    The thought of slumping it in Economy next to other unmasked people shoulder to shoulder for anything over...

    Hate to say this, but I’m probably part of your problem. One of my pandemic “new rules” was “travel less but in more comfort”.

    I don’t know about the “less” part (though I’m certainly down from 70+ Segments yearly) but certainly I’ve only gone in paid Business each and every time. And I’m probably not alone.

    The thought of slumping it in Economy next to other unmasked people shoulder to shoulder for anything over 1 hour (which I can spend masked no problem) is terrifying.

    I’m sure others think the same (mid-flight impromptu talks showed so). All the newspaper talk about a re-configuring of travel is true - Business for leisure is a thing now. And we’re paying our way for it.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Totally agreed with every point you've made.

    2. GW Guest

      I flew business IST-LAX two weeks ago, a guy was coughing non-stop one row up and not wearing a mask. Even with the mask I ended up getting Covid for the first time (started with sore throat the next day and tested positive in two days). I'm not sure how that guy passed the Covid test but all these just showed the test is a joke for some people.

    3. Donato Guest

      I agree with part of your calculation. You do have to consider that a major source of premium travel is business travel and that is still oerating at a lower level.

  48. Johhny Jet Guest

    I understand this is a problem for many travelers, especially those who are "newer" to the hobby and have spent the panini stocking up on miles and looking forward to their "first summer vacation to Europe in first class 'they actually meal business' for FREE (again that's odd I don't know many airlines that don't charge $0 taxes/fees on award tickets)". Anyways, they need to be flexible if you want to fly in j/f to...

    I understand this is a problem for many travelers, especially those who are "newer" to the hobby and have spent the panini stocking up on miles and looking forward to their "first summer vacation to Europe in first class 'they actually meal business' for FREE (again that's odd I don't know many airlines that don't charge $0 taxes/fees on award tickets)". Anyways, they need to be flexible if you want to fly in j/f to Europe this summer. Yes, should've booked 330 days ago but even that is myth for most carriers as they don't release seats on a strict time bassis anymore (especially domestic carriers). Based out of LAX? Look at flights from Houston and Chicago. Good luck getting that LAX - LHR nonstop on United in J at a saver rate. Based out of JFK? Look at EWR, BOS, IAD, heck even IAH and MIA. Yes JFK - FRA is booked full in F but that's because it's corporate + leisure mixed in. That being said, I've had great success booking LH F awards 2-3 days out. Once you do some research on loads it becomes predictable on when and how many seats will be released. There was also tons of space returning back to the US (OS J, LX J, etc) but ultimately I cancel those because I prefer LH F. Also, these flights have gone out with half the cabin full. Cash prices haven't been too bad either.

    If you know where to look, seats exist. Cheers.

  49. Avi M Guest

    My (unlikely) recent success story: Booked an ANA around the world ticket in Business for 125k miles for later this month (stops in Singapore, India, Dubai, Istanbul). The trick for me was to not use a US gateway, but Mexico City. Since I live near Tijuana airport, that was fine for me to position myself there. I found space from MEX to SIN (through NRT) on ANA. Excited to go on this trip next week!

  50. snic Diamond

    Right at the beginning of the pandemic, when we all thought it would blow over in a month or two, I transferred a huge number of points to SQ for 3 business class tickets. I figured it was a gamble, but the tickets were available on the dates we wanted. Needless to say, the gamble didn't pay off and now I'm stuck with hundreds of thousands of SQ points that will expire with no way...

    Right at the beginning of the pandemic, when we all thought it would blow over in a month or two, I transferred a huge number of points to SQ for 3 business class tickets. I figured it was a gamble, but the tickets were available on the dates we wanted. Needless to say, the gamble didn't pay off and now I'm stuck with hundreds of thousands of SQ points that will expire with no way to get them back, unless I can find something to redeem them on. This news of nonexistent award availability is most unwelcome!

  51. Jeff Guest

    I booked early and we’re going in August JFK-ATH round trip in Air France business class each way. Seats existed - people just scooped them up.

    1. Rodrigo M Guest

      Exactly, I’m going to Europe as well. Booked my flight October 2021 cuz I Knew it was going to happen.

    2. _ar Guest

      Totally agree. I booked this spring and summer's redemptions last fall and also bought some paid J in advance.

    3. Khatl Gold

      Same.
      Earlier this year, AF/KLM, Virgin etc. for July/August were wide open.
      AF/KLM still have some availability, but mostly higher prices.
      ...Or folks look at booking out for 2023

  52. nads Guest

    I'm HON on Swiss/LH and there's zero F award availability for months all the way through September from SFO/LAX. It's incredibly frustrating as someone with 500k M&M points and 16 upgrade vouchers. I feel like it's betraying our loyalty to the group?

    I had to pay $10k for my most recent ticket to the EU. Irritating.

    1. Johnny Guest

      Easy. Fly United to Chicago or Houston and book it from there.

      If you paid $10K for your ticket, that's on you. Many people can book it for cheaper.

  53. Daniel Guest

    I have a novel idea/ concept what about looking for seats in coach it's not the end of the world to take a coach flight across the ocean I do it all the time what is so bad about Coach Ben that you won't even address my post or you won't take a flight in Coach yourself thank you

    1. Todd Scheven Gold

      Because most people read the blog for aspirational travel ideas and talking about flying in economy is boring.

    2. dander Gold

      I disagree. Flying up front might be nice but to me its not worth the point outlay. I would rather spend on hotels

    3. Tim Guest

      @Daniel because no one in here wants to read about your sad little adventure, sat shoulder to shoulder, using plastic cutlery. Find yourself another blog maybe? Try “In tears in the middle seat with a sandwich”?

    4. Noah Silverman Guest

      Haven’t seen much in coach either. And if I’m flying coach I’d rather not position. IAD is nearly impossible.

  54. DLPTATL Guest

    I felt like getting from ATL:AMS in DeltaOne in July wouldn't be a big deal even if we had to connect through another Delta hub. Well I finally choked down two tix a couple months back at 350,000 miles each thinking I was getting destroyed, but at least I was getting $3.5k in MQDs each. Now I pulled it up to see if seats were still available...they sure are but now at 750,000 miles each. Absolutely crazy!

    1. Johnny Jet Guest

      You're getting destroyed if you're paying that much for Delta One to Amsterdam from Atlanta. Sorry to break the news to you. The MQDs don't even help as you can earn much more for much cheaper on AM.

    2. DLPTATL Guest

      @Johnny Jet, I don't disagree with you. Doing an AM run later in the year to hit the Diamond threshold, but for that I have to pay in real $s. Even a poor redemption in SkyPesos is still in SkyPesos and not $s. I could have booked for fewer FlyingBlue miles on the same flights, but would have forfeited the $3.5k in MQDs by doing so which saved me a paid trip on AM.

  55. DZ Guest

    I had alerts on Expert Flyer setup 4 weeks in advance for every single flight from SFO anywhere in Europe over a 4 day period in early May and got zero hits. I’ve never seen anything like that.

    1. johhn jet Guest

      That's why you fly out of Houston, Denver, Chicago, Newark.

  56. Leon Guest

    Lucky wont took you so long to write this article. Awards are non-existent, period. I cant find ANYTHING. The most entertaining are the dynamic award prices. I use to see dynamic wards in business with Air France for 330K one way. Im seeing dynamic awards at 833K one way in business. It's basically the airlines giving us all the big middle finger. We dont need you or your miles anymore

  57. eponymous coward Guest

    Very, VERY happy that I optimized and perfected Europe redemptions for this summer by early spring 2022. There was some DE and AY availability on AS (and some AY availability on AA/BA/etc) but it ALLLL dried up by late spring.

    I have to say that the last minute award stuff you could get on AA TATL J to Europe in late 2020, now it’s seven years of lean after seven years of fat…

  58. Zenon K Guest

    I went down a 3 hour rabbit hole the other day trying to find award availability on Aeroplan, not just this summer but for the entire 12 months ahead, and I found next to nothing even in economy across partner airlines! Was looking from various airports in Canada and the US to Europe and then on to Cape Town. Found 280K+ points for business class flights on Air Canada to Europe - nearly double the...

    I went down a 3 hour rabbit hole the other day trying to find award availability on Aeroplan, not just this summer but for the entire 12 months ahead, and I found next to nothing even in economy across partner airlines! Was looking from various airports in Canada and the US to Europe and then on to Cape Town. Found 280K+ points for business class flights on Air Canada to Europe - nearly double the max range they set in their award charts - criminal. Checked MileagePlus and it confirmed that there’s little to no saver award availability - period. Given the complete lack of availability - I’m assuming the airlines just haven’t released seats yet past this summer? Any thoughts?

    1. Ella Guest

      I’m flying to JNB and onto Botswana Oct, home Nov. I had some flights all planned out but they all disappeared. I’ve got good flights, but costing about twice what I’d hoped to spend in miles. My suggestion is to grab anything you can find that you can afford and keep your eyes peeled in case the situation improves. And I second your unhappiness with AC. Before I got their new card, I checked availability...

      I’m flying to JNB and onto Botswana Oct, home Nov. I had some flights all planned out but they all disappeared. I’ve got good flights, but costing about twice what I’d hoped to spend in miles. My suggestion is to grab anything you can find that you can afford and keep your eyes peeled in case the situation improves. And I second your unhappiness with AC. Before I got their new card, I checked availability and cost on various trips I’m vaguely planning, and AC looked very good. Now? Yikes, why did I think that card was a good idea?!?

    2. Rob Guest

      Thank you for calling out that the insane redemptions are not just limited to this summer. I’ve looked at April 2023, and still having same issue.
      There are truly some crazy redemptions listed. 800k one-way biz to EZE on AA. 350k one-way to VIE on UA.
      The airlines have taken the bailout money and now making miles obsolete

  59. Joshua Member

    I had Air France “cancel” a flight from ORD to CDG only to recreate the same flight but three hours earlier, conviently leaving my business class award tickets in the wind. Neither Air France’s, nor Virgin Atlantic’s (who I booked through), were able to help me. AF said it was VA problem. VA said they could see I should have a ticket and cannot comprehend why I don’t. Of course there was no more award...

    I had Air France “cancel” a flight from ORD to CDG only to recreate the same flight but three hours earlier, conviently leaving my business class award tickets in the wind. Neither Air France’s, nor Virgin Atlantic’s (who I booked through), were able to help me. AF said it was VA problem. VA said they could see I should have a ticket and cannot comprehend why I don’t. Of course there was no more award space so VA couldn’t reissue my ticket.

    Only after sending hand written letters to AF and VA CEO’s we’re my tickets reissued. Never got an explanation on what happened, just my tickets suddenly reappeared. I think AF was just hoping I’d let it go and they could sell two more business seats rather than let them go to an award booking made 330 days in advance.

  60. Cedric Guest

    Less staff, less planes, tons of demand and accumulated miles...we all knew this was coming. I booked my Vienna vacation with the familly a long time ago. Even then I have to buy 2 of the 4 tickets not for the lack of points! Looking at an october trip and pickings are slim as well. Even next January for skiing in Europe is tight.

    1. Evan Guest

      Bingo. Furthermore, it's not that airlines won't add flights...they can't add flights. DL is reducing schedules in July and August to maintain some operational integrity.

      Oh, and let's add that the US dropped the inbound COVID testing requirement. That will take another bite out of the already tight supply of seats.

  61. AlanD Guest

    It is pretty terrible! It amazes me how little overpriced J or PE on BA metal is even available through AA over the next few months at saver level. That used to be almost unlimited if you could deal with the surcharges. I have seen pretty good J availability to HEL for 57.5k AA miles though.

    1. Sam G Guest

      BA retired their 747 fleet and have half the A380s parked vs only have a small number of 787s added since, this is a big drop in the number of F/J seats available and US is affected being such a huge market for BA. They did recently drop a bunch of F seats though

  62. Eve Guest

    Something I can also relate. I am with SAS and this has been a disaster for finding any award seats. I am literally sitting dud with over 150K points. Used to be that Eurobonus had one of the best redemption valuation for your points and you could easily find a US-Scandinavia flight on Biz for 60K points and 100K on return. But I can find for almost the entire year is 400K, and that too...

    Something I can also relate. I am with SAS and this has been a disaster for finding any award seats. I am literally sitting dud with over 150K points. Used to be that Eurobonus had one of the best redemption valuation for your points and you could easily find a US-Scandinavia flight on Biz for 60K points and 100K on return. But I can find for almost the entire year is 400K, and that too in Premium Economy. That is literally as much as qualifying for Gold status (Star Alliance Gold) for 8 years on a row! I show one date between ARN - EWR which was like 1.5 million points on Biz, that is just insane

    Other then that one way ticket for the entire year from US to Scandinavia in Economy, cost a base fare of $2500, which is just unbelievable and I have never seen that in 10 years of flying SAS.

  63. John Guest

    Two questions:

    --Do you think Lufthansa, with all this heavy demand, might fire up its parked A380s?

    --Is this actually paid leisure travel filling up the premium cabins? Historically, it seemed, economy cabins filled up for summer travel but business/first were relatively cheap to buy because business travel slowed during these months.....

    1. Klaus Guest

      There are rumors about the A380 and and update is expected this week.
      But before comes July and Lufthansa will cancel 900 flights due to Labour shortage…

    2. Klaus Guest

      …ah…just googled it…and there was an article 7 hours ago backing up the A380 rumors. Lufthansa is currently calculating 2 options:
      - reactivating 3+1 A380
      - reactivating 8 A380

      They would be used North Transatlantic

      Not sure why you all are such big fans of the A380? Business class middle seat?

      On the other hand, it’s a cool plane and I feel sad that airlines already retired it.

  64. GW Guest

    To make matters worse, I just read about someone got downgraded from business to economy on a Finnair transatlantic award ticket. How often does that happen and what can be done with the situation?

    1. Daniel from Finland Guest

      Finnair treats business class (award) tickets in several different ways.

      If you redeem a J ticket with points, it will hold and even in irrops they will rebook you in J.

      But if you redeem a Y ticket with points and then upgrade it with vouchers or money, they treat it like a Y ticket and in irrops situations, especially involving rerouting on another carrier, you end up in Y and get your upgrade instrument...

      Finnair treats business class (award) tickets in several different ways.

      If you redeem a J ticket with points, it will hold and even in irrops they will rebook you in J.

      But if you redeem a Y ticket with points and then upgrade it with vouchers or money, they treat it like a Y ticket and in irrops situations, especially involving rerouting on another carrier, you end up in Y and get your upgrade instrument back. The same applies for any paid Y ticket that is upgraded with vouchers, points or cash. It's still a Y ticket when something goes wrong.

    2. GW Guest

      The person redeemed points for the J ticket and was told the points will be refunded, but even with a free economy ticket it's still not an ideal situation, however with the limited J availability these days, it's hard to say what can be the better alternatives.

  65. Bill n DC Guest

    Well I’m price elastic nowadays. More points than time to travel. My original July Birthday Trip started on Cathay but of course that won’t happen. Back up on UA to pickup Qatar QSuites failed when Qatar switched equipment to not QSuites but really old 2-2-2 :-(
    Now UA LAX SYD for 200,000 miles. The Qatar A380 1st SYD DOH for 225,000. Oh well
    It will be fun

    Plus new routing got me to...

    Well I’m price elastic nowadays. More points than time to travel. My original July Birthday Trip started on Cathay but of course that won’t happen. Back up on UA to pickup Qatar QSuites failed when Qatar switched equipment to not QSuites but really old 2-2-2 :-(
    Now UA LAX SYD for 200,000 miles. The Qatar A380 1st SYD DOH for 225,000. Oh well
    It will be fun

    Plus new routing got me to Abu Dhabi a day earlier and I can take advantage of Hyatt Prive through Ford’s associate Toby 3 nights for 2. Plus the Louvre.
    Win win

  66. Mike Guest

    I've been wondering if it was only me. I originate out of Europe and it's just as bad going anywhere from the EU. Hopefully this is mostly a staffing + covid comeback issue and as they hire more FAs and pilots (which I realize will take some time) we'll see better availability after the summer.

    1. DenB Diamond

      Mentour Pilot's YouTube video on this says it's years before any relief.

  67. Tony Guest

    I deeply relate to this post. Never seen anything like it, and it's equal parts frustrating and mind-boggling. It's not even just international either; even domestic airlines have zeroed out saver awards for the vast majority of their networks, particularly in July. I guess it's nice to hear I'm not the only one; misery loves company...

  68. Eskimo Guest

    I would never understand why even more people are travelling this summer when everything is all time high and unrealistically expensive.

    So much for security for a free state, when you don't have price security.

  69. Steve Guest

    Flew the 747-8 EWR-FRA this past Wednesday and it went out full and the LH lounge was packed... was really surprised to see that midweek on a non-holiday weekend.

    1. BJ Guest

      To be fair it isn’t hard to pack the LH Lounge at EWR.

  70. uldguy Diamond

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one having trouble finding reasonable award space. Pretty much anything on AA is priced at DL "SkyRuble" rates which I refuse to pay. And one can pretty much give up on finding space on QR out of North America. They do have some availability out of Europe but that's about it. Even JAL shows limited availability, especially to SE Asia. On a somewhat unrelated question, do you have...

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one having trouble finding reasonable award space. Pretty much anything on AA is priced at DL "SkyRuble" rates which I refuse to pay. And one can pretty much give up on finding space on QR out of North America. They do have some availability out of Europe but that's about it. Even JAL shows limited availability, especially to SE Asia. On a somewhat unrelated question, do you have any updates on QR 777 First Class routes? It seems that starting in early July the CX 777 is no longer on the DOH-MLE route.

    I'll likely just give up looking for the summer and look for something later this fall.

  71. Greg Guest

    On the flip side it's a great time to use hotel points even for run of the mill stays given how inflated things can be if you catch the wrong days in a particular town

  72. PCT New Member

    I definitely feel your pain! I have access to loads for a US Legacy carrier and pretty much every flight to Europe this week is oversold! Of course there still are double digit non revs on the standby lists. Good thing I have no desire to visit Europe this summer. 8 trips in the last 10 months is plenty! Now Japan, that’s another story……. Best of luck to you, Lucky!

  73. Not to Be that Guy Guest

    Not to be that guy, but how about the fact that there are MANY MANY travel blogs that hand feed people how to redeem awards and since the cash rates are now up 2-4x people are actually taking the time to follow thru to be spoon fed and redeem award miles. With the audiences these blogs reach instead of having saying 100,000 flyertalk people competing for these 88 seats. (which generally speaking is not much...

    Not to be that guy, but how about the fact that there are MANY MANY travel blogs that hand feed people how to redeem awards and since the cash rates are now up 2-4x people are actually taking the time to follow thru to be spoon fed and redeem award miles. With the audiences these blogs reach instead of having saying 100,000 flyertalk people competing for these 88 seats. (which generally speaking is not much competition because the chances of xzy flying on xzy dates out of 100K people is unlikely) but now with audiences that are well in to the millions of people competing for those same 88 seats along with record cash rates causing people to flee to award miles the fishing spot has become a lot more crowded. Again not blaming you Lucky but rather suggesting an answer to the problem. (and for what it's worth Lucky doesn't hand feed like ahem TPG)

    1. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

      So is your solution to the problem for all bloggers and frequent flyer enthusiasts to stop sharing information, so that a small group of secret travelers can enjoy award space? BTW all of this in the age of the internet, in a free and open society!? Good grief give me a break.

    2. Greg Guest

      He's noting a plausible factor not trying to outlaw or stop them

    3. Kyle Guest

      I know, let them eat (stale,dry) cake (with a plastic fork in economy)!!

  74. Creditcrunch Diamond

    I’ve set up alerts on seatspy but don’t yet have enough miles to book rewards but there is a good level of VS Upper seats ex LHR-JFK pretty much everyday on one way basis.

  75. Jan Guest

    I just checked miles&more availability. Every day business class is available the next two weeks on FRA-JFK, so perhaps you only use the wrong frequent flyer program. I think Mileage plus don't get the seats at the moment. they are only for HON and SEN.

    1. Nate nate Guest

      Your comment might be true, but if Lucky isn't HON or SEN, and doesn't have miles in M&M, what is he to do? M&M doesn't accept transferrable points from any leading program.

    2. Jan Guest

      in Germany we use Payback to transfer points.. A very good ratio. But yeah. you have your credit card bonuses and we our Miles&More.... you can't have both.

    3. Klaus Guest

      I think lucky is talking about saver awards. Also, as a 1K there is some kind of saver award availability. It would be easier if Ben would share the dates and routing so we can start a challenge.

      But I am not sure if Ben will use his miles (=his status) or the miles of his relative/friend

  76. Frustrating Guest

    Same here. Trying to get from Frankfurt to USA and it’s gettin tough with saver award space in j and first. Just for giggles, I can’t find anything to Singapore either.

  77. Alex Guest

    Yeah, I was going to buy some pricey economy refundable tickets for half of a trip, assuming I'd be able to find something better last minute and cancel them. But now I have to weigh my options and pick something I can live with actually flying...

  78. PCT New Member

    Definitely know what you mean! I have access to loads for one of the US Legacy carriers and there pretty much are no seats to Europe this entire week! Every flight is oversold but still there are double digit non-revs standing by! Good thing I have 0 interest in Europe this summer….already was back and forth 8 times in the last 10 months!! Now Japan, that’s a whole different story…….. Best of luck to you Lucky!

  79. Brodie Gold

    I just returned from Italy and Greece and observed the same issue. I also misconnected last week due to the Italian Air Traffic control strike and was stuck in Greece until LH opened up business avail from ATH. Had to position once I was in the US, however I was able to make it home a day later.
    Let hope staffing ramps back up and schedules expand. I have never seen it this dry.

  80. Anthony Diamond

    1) AAnytime awards used to be a good way to address times like this. Now, those are gutted - do any programs have reasonable award prices when booking seats that aren't saver?

    2) Let's say we are in a time of structurally lower saver award availability. Time to switch to a cash first approach? Earn miles by booking via cash, redeem for domestic (where availability is higher)? Interested to hear your thoughts

    1. Ivan X Guest

      It's pretty horrendous. I haven't even been looking for international flights, but UA one way transcon is almost always 100-124K. I can usually find maybe one or two per day at 50-60K per day. Saver is nonexistent (though I did once find a 35K unicorn only avail to Plat/1K/GS.) International is ridiculous, like 275K one way to Europe. It's almost worth, in some cases, just setting a fare tracker at Google and then paying with...

      It's pretty horrendous. I haven't even been looking for international flights, but UA one way transcon is almost always 100-124K. I can usually find maybe one or two per day at 50-60K per day. Saver is nonexistent (though I did once find a 35K unicorn only avail to Plat/1K/GS.) International is ridiculous, like 275K one way to Europe. It's almost worth, in some cases, just setting a fare tracker at Google and then paying with points at 1.5cpp.

      Maybe next summer everyone will have gotten it out of their system and it will be a good time to go.

    2. snic Diamond

      I was able to redeem for a UA transcon at 50k in J a couple of weeks out. But only the redeye was available. 50k miles hurt, but something like $700 for a one way economy class ticket in a middle seat would have hurt even more.

    3. Willem Guest

      Since 2015 I've seen one SFO/LAX NYC ticket at Saver Fare rates on United: back in late 2020 when they first released SFO/LAX JFK for bookings. Was able to snag one for 25k Avianca miles and don't expect to ever be able to do something like that again!

  81. Alonzo Diamond

    Yup, I can't find any seats back from Doha in August in biz to save my life. Thinking of buying economy tickets in cash and upgrading with points.

    1. Todd Guest

      Assuming there are any business class seats available to upgrade to!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Tim Guest

@Daniel because no one in here wants to read about your sad little adventure, sat shoulder to shoulder, using plastic cutlery. Find yourself another blog maybe? Try “In tears in the middle seat with a sandwich”?

3
Todd Scheven Gold

Because most people read the blog for aspirational travel ideas and talking about flying in economy is boring.

3
Avi M Guest

My (unlikely) recent success story: Booked an ANA around the world ticket in Business for 125k miles for later this month (stops in Singapore, India, Dubai, Istanbul). The trick for me was to not use a US gateway, but Mexico City. Since I live near Tijuana airport, that was fine for me to position myself there. I found space from MEX to SIN (through NRT) on ANA. Excited to go on this trip next week!

3
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT