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American Airlines has a far better award chart than rivals United and Delta, especially in premium cabins.

Unfortunately on many of its own internationally configured planes, American Airlines has angled lie flat seats in business class instead of fully flat beds. It greatly lags its rivals there.

American’s newest plane, the 777-300ER has fully flat beds in business class, and now American is refurbishing its  777-200 and 767-300 planes with flat beds.

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Flat Beds in the 777-300ER

Fully flat beds are a huge step up from angled lie flat beds in terms of sleep quality, which I think is one of the most important reasons that the premium for a business class award is worth paying on international awards.

Let’s look at the newest routes American Airlines is flying with flat beds and the award space picture.

American’s old 777-200s are seeing a refresh in their premium cabins. Gone will be 16 First Class beds and 37 Business Class angled lie flats and in their place, we’ll see 45 fully flat Business Class beds (and no First Class).

The first route to see the new configuration will be Dallas <-> Santiago, Chile beginning June 12, 2014.

To check if the date you’re looking at has the new fully flat business class, look for this seat map.

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If you can string together MileSAAver award seats in both directions, you’ll pay only 100k American Airlines miles plus $50 roundtrip. (The miles price doesn’t go up even if you add connecting flights to Dallas.)

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Unfortunately award space is bleak in business class. I searched for one seat in business class at the MileSAAver price from June 12, 2014 on and found only a smattering of award space on the outbound. The good news is that the days correspond to the South American Spring and Summer.

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The return has a little more award space, but again, not very much.

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The refreshed 767-300 starts service from New York-JFK to Zurich, Switzerland on April 1, 2014.

This is its seating chart:

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A round trip business class award at the MileSAAver level is again 100k American Airlines miles, but unfortunately the next MileSAAver space is in December.

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The good news is that American Airlines is upgrading its business class offering, while simultaneously having a much cheaper award chart than its rivals.

The bad news is that there is almost no award space on the upgraded routes.

Those facts may be connected.

Have you found a good deal in miles on a top notch business class product lately? Did the route have good award space?

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