Gold Mine Award Space to Europe This Summer in Business Class with American, US Airways, United Miles Plus Membership or Ultimate Rewards


There is currently gold mine business class award availability on US Airways flights from the US to southern Europe for this summer.

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Award space on US Airways flights is especially advantageous because it means that you can book the space at favorable mileage rates (and no fuel surcharges) with:

  • US Airways miles
  • American Airlines miles
  • United miles (until March 30, 2014)
  • Ultimate Rewards (until March 30, 2014)
  • Membership Rewards (until March 30, 2014)

What are the routes? How good is the space? How good is US Airways Business Class? What is the cheapest way to book it?

Gold Mine to Southern Europe

I found very good business class award space on US Airways flights this summer from Philadelphia to:

  • Madrid, Spain
  • Venice, Italy
  • Rome, Italy

Here’s the award space in July and August on the Philly-to-Madrid flight. It has 9 days with one business class seat in July and 13 in August.

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That’s not just great for summer. That’s great any time of year. Here’s the award space for this month and next month on the route. In an ultra-low-demand time frame, there is no business class award space.

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Here’s the award space in July and August on the Philly-to-Rome flight. It has 8 days with one business class seat in July and 10 in August.

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Best of all is the award space in July and August on the Philly-to-Venice flight. It has 13 days with one business class seat in July and 9 in August.

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This great award space is confined to these three Southern European routes. For instance, Philly-to-Paris has only one business class seat available for a Saver award in July and August combined.

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London has none!

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 1.12.40 AM The Bed

US Airways has a very nice business class product. It’s hard to beat a flat bed on a redeye to a great destination.

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The Cheapest Ways to Book the Space

US Airways is still in the Star Alliance until March 30, 2014, so all Star Alliance miles can book all the Saver award space discussed in this post for now.

Starting yesterday, US Airways flights are now bookable with American Airlines miles too.

Membership Rewards–as low as 68k points

Membership Rewards transfer to three Star Alliance loyalty programs:

  • ANA
  • Singapore
  • Aeroplan

None of the programs collect fuel surcharges on US Airways award flights.

ANA has a distance based chart. You have to book roundtrip awards, and then you add up the miles flown on every segments and find the price on this award chart. (For full details, see How to Save Thousands of Miles Booking United and US Airways Flights with ANA Miles.)

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All three direct flights profiled in this post–Philly to Madrid, Rome, or Venice–would fall in the 68k miles roundtrip band. If you live somewhere other than Philadelphia and have connecting flights, the price will be higher.

Aeroplan classifies Spain and Italy in “Europe 1.” A roundtrip in business class from anywhere in the US to anywhere in Europe 1 is 90k miles.

Membership Rewards transferred to a Star Alliance partner is the cheapest way to get onto these flights this summer. Just remember that US Airways leaves the Star Alliance March 30. You need to book US Airways flights with Star Alliance miles by then.

Ultimate Rewards, United miles, American Airlines miles, and US Airways miles–from 100k miles roundtrip

This month, United is charging 100k miles to book these flights as a roundtrip business class award to Europe for all of 2014. Next month, that price rises to 140k United miles. Starting March 31, 2014, you will not be able to book US Airways flights with United miles at all since US Airways will be in the oneworld alliance by then.

Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United miles instantly, so all the United prices apply.

US Airways and American Airlines will both charge 100k miles roundtrip for the US Airways flights. There is no date by which you need to book with either type of miles, since both airlines are now partners and will soon be integrated into one airline.

Booking with US Airways miles versus American Airlines miles will subject you to very different rules. Understand your options by reading this post.

Getting Membership Rewards

Membership Rewards offer the cheapest deal. Transfer 68k to ANA miles and book a roundtrip to Europe in flat beds. You can most quickly be earned from the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card or The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.

Both cards offer huge category bonuses. I especially love the category bonuses on the Business Gold card.

  • Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Built with business-sized purchasing power and fast rewards
  • 3X points on airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • 2X points on US purchases for advertising in select media, shipping, at gas stations, and made directly from select computer hardware, software, and cloud computing providers
  • Up to $100,000 in each category per year, then 1 point
  • Use points to entertain clients, reward employees, reduce travel costs, or just offset the everyday expenses of moving your business forward
  • Terms and limitations apply

Application Link: The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

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  1. Can you do the same post but for availability in ECONONY class? I’m particularly interested in Venice, but have found very limited availability in June.

    • Maya, one option is to fly into Paris, spend a few days there, then fly to Venice on Air France for €50 one way. Then fly home out of Rome. That’s what I’m doing to make the most of time there.

  2. Scott, a question from a bit different pair of shoes. I currently have around 85K Membership Reward points and the card will renew in a month or two. Should they not be willing to waive an annual fee, is there any way to transfer/move these points to wife’s or any other account besides the ones from partners? At this point, I do not think I’d like to transfer them to any airline as I am not sure what we may need after United’s devaluation.
    Thank you….. for the post as well 🙂

  3. Unfortunately, it appears that there are no flights from any of the three locations with two or more biz seats (on the return at least), so this only works for a solo traveler. Either that or I am late to the party and all the multi-seat availability was already snogged up this morning before I got there.

    • I see two days in June and five in August with business space for two pax on MAD-PHL. Also Sept 1st. The outbound PHL-MAD is even better with two in June, 5 in July, and 7 in August.

  4. Thanks for the post. I am looking at some of the flights to FCO and they are on LH427 on a A340-300. Is there any way to tell if this is the lie-flat or angle-flat seats ? Also, do you know if there are any club privileges at the Frankfurt airport for LH business fliers. I know First class has an awesome facility…

    • You’ll get access to business class lounges along the route. You can check the seat map on Seat Guru. Lufthansa had a site listing whether seats were the new or old product, but it’s down. –>

  5. Hi Scott, does US Airways still do the 90k Dividend miles to Europe then to Asia? How would I be able to get back to the US? I saw your last post saying you could go a full circle for 90k or I misread something.

  6. Thanks Scott. I did check Seat Guru, but there 4 different versions of the Lufthansa. Two of the versions are 2 class flights which is what I am looking at. One is V3 and the other is V4. V3 has the older angle-flat seats and V4 has the lie-flat. I am not able to find anything that identifies which it is.


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