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American Airlines is releasing a ton of flat bed Business Class award space to and from Europe for two+ people from November 2016 through March 2017.
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.
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.
The award space I will focus on is between:
- Chicago and London
- New York City and Barcelona
- New York City and Paris
- Paris and New York City
- Barcelona and New York City
The Chicago to London route flies American Airlines’ new 777-300ERs, which have only four seats per row in Business Class in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout.
The New York City to Barcelona/Barcelona to New York City route flies American Airlines’ retrofitted 777-200, also with a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout and fully lie flat beds. Since the 777-200’s are retrofitted, the Chicago product is marginally nicer, but both have great flat beds.
The New York City to Paris/Paris to New York City route flies two different planes, the 777-200 with a 1-2-1 layout and fully lie flat beds mentioned above but 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.
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.
Business Class award space is great from Chicago and New York to a few European cities on American Airlines flights the first few months of 2017, with plenty of options for the return as well. All calendars in this section are for two award seats on 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.
I 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:
Chicago to London
Award space is plentiful January through March 2017– at least 10 days a month have space for at least two people (and often more). Below is the calendar for January 2017.
New York City to Barcelona
Again, space is wide open January through March 2017. Below is the calendar for the end of January through the end of February.
New York City to Paris
This route has the most award space by far–three out of four weeks of each month at least, November 2016 through March 2017, have space for two+ people. Below is the calendar for late February to late March.
Best Return Options
The following calendars are also for two people, on direct American Airlines flights only.
Paris to New York
This route has ample space November 2016 through March 2017.
Barcelona to New York
This route also has tons of space November 2016 through March 2017.
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 London, or you want to fly an open jaw award, this space is still useful. American Airlines partners British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, and S7 have tons of flights from London to the rest of Europe.
Award Prices (Including Taxes and Fees)
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.
This 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.
If 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.
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.