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American Airlines is releasing a ton of flat bed Business Class award space to and from Europe for four+ people from February 2017 through April 2017. This is news because American Airlines doesn’t normally release so much premium cabin award space, and the majority of the other award space bookable with American Airlines miles to Europe is on British Airways which incurs ridiculously expensive fuel surcharges.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

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You would earn at least 65,000 American Airlines miles for meeting that minimum spending requirement, which is more than enough for a one way in Business Class to Europe which costs 57,500 miles.

The card offers a host of other benefits as well, including Admirals Club lounge membership and 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after $40,000 spent in purchases each calendar year. Read my review of the Citi® /AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® here.

Product

The award space I will focus on is between:

  • Miami and Paris
  • New York and Paris
  • Chicago and Paris
  • Paris and Miami
  • Paris and New York

The Miami to Paris route flies a Boeing 777-200, which by early 2017 (according to View From the Wing) will be reconfigured to have only four seats per row in Business Class, all fully lie-flat, in a 1-2-1 layout so everyone has aisle access.

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Reconfigured American Airlines 777-200

The New York City to Paris/Paris to New York City route flies a few different planes, the 777-200 with a 1-2-1 layout and fully lie flat beds mentioned above, the 767-300 with a 1-2-1 layout (reconfigured) and fully lie flat beds but narrower seats, and also a 757-200, with a 2-2 layout and angle lie flat beds. So if you want the fully lie flat bed be sure to check the aircraft type.

The Chicago to Paris route flies the reconfigured 767-300 with a 1-2-1 layout and fully lie flat beds (but narrower seats than the reconfigured 777-200).

You can check the aircraft type by clicking the View Available Seats link (on the flight schedule results page when you click a specific day from the calendar), and comparing the flight map pop-up to the same flight map searched on SeatGuru.com (Seatguru differentiates between angle lie flat and fully lie flat beds, and the View Available Seat link shows you the seat layout). Here’s how to use SeatGuru.

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Award Space

Business Class award space is great from Miami, New York, and Chicago to a Paris on American Airlines flights in early 2017, with plenty of options for the return as well.  All calendars in this section are for direct American Airlines flights only.

I wanted to isolate American Airlines flights to avoid the nasty fuel surcharges you pay when redeeming American Airlines miles for British Airways flights. I did that by selecting “American Airlines and American Eagle” at the bottom of the search page.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 6.57.04 AMI also wanted to isolate direct flights in my search results, to eliminate the number of connections necessary (in case you need to add another American Airlines flight from your hometown– see the Connections section of this post below). To do this, on the left side of the search results page that displays the calendar, check “Non-stop only” in the drop-down menu next to Number of Stops:

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Miami to Paris

Award space is plentiful for up to four people (with a lot of days have as many as six business class seats available!) February through April 2017.

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New York City to Paris

Again, space is wide open February through April 2017. All calendars below are for four people.

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Chicago to Paris 

You really have your pick if you fly from (or through Chicago). All calendars are for four people.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.03.30 AMScreen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.03.59 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.04.34 AMReturn Options

The following calendars are also for four people, on direct American Airlines flights only. There are plenty of (if not even more) options for the return.

Miami to Paris

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Paris to New York

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Connections

If you don’t live in any of the American cities mentioned, you can still take advantage of this space. The cities are hubs for American Airlines with flights to most of the country. You can tack on Economy, Business, or First Class MileSAAver award space onto these international flights for zero extra miles.

If you don’t want to go to Paris, or you want to fly an open jaw award, this space is still useful. You could take American Airlines partners British Airways, Iberia, or Finnair to elsewhere around Europe.

Award Prices (Including Taxes and Fees)

London is not mentioned as a destination in this post, but if you’re considering returning from London back to the United States, don’t. When you see “London,” your first thought should be about taxes and fuel surcharges. The big taxes are for departing London. The big fuel surcharges are for flying British Airways across the Atlantic. Both things are easy to avoid to limit the out-of-pocket cost of travel to Europe.

A one way Business Class ticket from the United States to London on American Airlines costs 57,500 miles + $5.60.Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 7.12.27 PMA one way Business Class return from London costs 57,500 miles + $287.26.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 7.14.56 PMIf you want to connect in London to a British Airways flights, taxes and fuel surcharges stay reasonable. Connecting to Munich has $60.30 in taxes and a $40 fuel surcharge for $100 total.

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Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 7.36.24 PMThis should give you an idea for how to lower the taxes in your trip. Do an open jaw and see two or more cities in Europe. Start the return on the continent. Even if you fly from a high tax country and fly British Airways to London, you save about $100 in taxes and fees.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 7.42.51 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-05 at 7.43.39 PMIf you start in a low tax country, like Helsinki, and fly a no-surcharge partner, like Finnair, you’ll save over $200.

Off Peak Economy Awards to/from Europe

If you don’t mind flying one of the ways on your Euro-trip in economy, you can save a lot of miles by taking advantage of American Airlines Off Peak prices to Europe. Fly the economy leg sometime between January and March or November to mid December, and it will only cost 22,500 American Airlines miles.  The Off Peak dates line up nicely with the current Business Class award space, so you could treat yourself one way and save miles on the other. Doing so would reduce your mileage price tag to 80,000 roundtrip a person instead of 115,000 if you flew in Business roundtrip.

Booking the Award

You can search for award space and book these awards right on aa.com.

Pay the taxes and surcharges with your Citi Prestige® Card.

The Citi Prestige® Card offers a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year that offsets your first $250 in spending on airlines with the card. Taxes on an award ticket definitely count.

The card also comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which can be transferred to 12 types of airline miles or used like cash toward the purchase of any ticket.

Bottom Line

Book your trip to Europe with fantastic flat bed award space options in American Airlines Business Class. By signing up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® you’ll get 65,000 American Airlines miles for reaching the minimum spending requirement for the sign-up bonus, which is more than enough for a one way in Business Class to Europe. Then use the leftover miles towards an Economy Off Peak award from a low tax city in Europe to return back to the US.