American A321 Transcon Award Space Available

American will soon be renewing the fleet flying their premium transcontinental routes between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco. They’re taking delivery of some beautiful A321 aircraft, configured with fully flat beds in both first and business class, as well as personal televisions in economy. American has published the schedule for the new aircraft, and the first American A321 will begin flying between New York and Los Angeles as of January 7, 2014. By May 8, 2014, all of the daily frequencies will be operated by the new A321s.


American’s new A321 first class


American’s new A321 business class

Up until this point American has been extremely stingy with releasing award space on this route across all cabins. However, that seems to have changed in the last couple of days, as they’ve finally started to release a ton of premium cabin award space on the route… as long as you’re only looking for one seat per cabin per flight.

For example, searching only nonstop flights between New York and Los Angeles starting May 8, here are the dates with first class availability:

American-Award-Space-1

Not only do a majority of the dates have availability, but on the dates where there’s availability, virtually every flight has award space:

American-Award-Space-3

Business class award space is even better, with availability just about every day:

American-Award-Space-2

And once again virtually every flight has availability on those dates:

American-Award-Space-4

If you wanted to redeem miles on this route, the one-way costs are as follows:

American AAdvantage miles:
Business Class: 25,000
First Class: 32,500 miles

British Airways Avios:
Business Class: 25,000
First Class: 37,500 miles

If I were to redeem miles simply between New York and Los Angeles I’d probably redeem British Airways Avios for it, though ideally ones that I transferred over from American Express during a transfer bonus.

However, perhaps the best way of booking one of these flights is as a one-way “add on” for an international award ticket booked through American AAdvantage. American allows stopovers at the North American international gateway on award tickets, so you could book an award from New York to Los Angeles, stopover there for as long as you’d like (up to the maximum ticket validity, which is a year from the date of issue), and then continue to Asia, for example. In first class that would cost you 67,500 miles, regardless of whether you flew just Los Angeles to Hong Kong or New York to Los Angeles to Hong Kong with a stopover in Los Angeles.

Happy to finally see them releasing some award space on the route!

(Tip of the hat to Canadian Kilometers)

Comments

  1. Hmmm… I will have 726k AA miles post merger… is it worth 32.5K on this? I have no international one way to tag on right now but still very tempting…

  2. Hoping this move will also release some eVIP upgrade space on these flights (as the onward leg of a transPac booking).

  3. When I search for 1 passenger, I get the same award availability, but when I search for 2 passengers, there is NOTHING — literally not a single day of award space available in business or first in either direction.

    Does that mean there is only one seat available in business and/or first, or do I have to book the seats separately under each person’s AA account?

    Thanks.

  4. If you are on a business class international ticket you won’t be able to fly in domestic first on these transcons right?

  5. I guess 50k RT in business class is a similar value to Aer Lingus’ Boston to Dublin route, when you consider the amount of time you’re spending in the seat…

  6. @Andrew B

    yes, but you don’t get the lounges or amenity kits. also the meal selection won’t be the same, not sure about booze.

  7. Excellent availability??? Your blog must be so successful that it encouraged the awards to all get snapped up. I looked at many days from May through November and couldn’t find any days the two of us could book a flight in First or Business class. We are pretty flexible (any date May through November) but couldn’t find any for two on my searches.

    On a side note: is it me that is just not excited to see wide body replaced with a narrow body aircraft?

  8. @Andrew – what you are seeing means that right now, only one seat per cabin has been loaded. It won’t help to book one seat from each of two accounts. What you should probably do is find a flight on which there’s one seat available in first and one in business. Put them on hold (which AAdvantage allows for five days), and see if another seat in either cabin is loaded during your hold period. If so, grab it. If not, I’d still go ahead and book one in each cabin, in the fairly realistic hope that a second F seat will open up by the time you fly.

  9. Sad but true, the new {unofficial} AA award policy seems to be one seat per flight in premium. I’m finding the same thing T/A next August: several cities have one seat every day, but not one day with 2 seats on the same flight in FC.

    It is often possible to get one FC and one J on the same flight. Or to fly on different flights a few hours apart on routes with multiple flights. But if you want to travel together… šŸ™

  10. @ Lantean — Generally I’d say probably not unless it’s a trip you really want to take. I’d wait for an international trip where you can tag this segment on.

  11. @ Greg — Agree in general that I don’t like a flight going from a widebody to a narrowbody. But in this case it’s such a huge upgrade in the hard product that I’m excited about it.

  12. @Amol Just to be clear, did you already have one seat reserved on that flight, and were able to get a second one? Or did you just see one seat open up and grab it?

  13. “the fairly realistic hope that a second F seat will open up by the time you fly”

    I’d like some of what you’re smoking, it seems to give you very pleasant dreams. šŸ™‚

    At least for premium AA T/A award seats.

    With LH yes, and probably several other airlines. But based on my past couple of years experience with trying to book AA TA awards, searching daily starting 330 days out on multiple routes, they simply do not open up any more seats. They may open new days, but not add seats to days that were previously open. Not even one day out with only half of the FC cabin booked.

    Maybe trans-con will turn out to be different, but I really doubt it.

    I think AA may actually be opening up more TA seats than usual. Just not on the same flights. Allowing AA to disingenuously tout x number of seats having been made available.

    If you have to fly Anytime, spending 2X miles, to be able to fly on the same flight in the same cabin as your SO going Saver, that is a defacto devaluation of 50% per couple. And if a couple can’t find any flights with 2 seats available, and therefore doesn’t go at all, that is a total devaluation.

    Maybe someone will write “how to convince your spouse to sit in J, while you sit in FC”. Now that would be a really useful post. šŸ˜‰

  14. @ choi — It’s not feasible to have that as the standard business class product on a domestic flight, but it’s the best first class product we’ve ever seen in the market, so I think it’ll do well.

  15. @ Robert Hanson – Just booked my wife in the last row of First Class and myself in the first row of Business Class on the same A321T flight from LAX-JFK.

    When I told her, she said, “aw honey, that’s sweet, you take the first class seat.” And that’s how you convince your wife to fly in J while you’re in F šŸ™‚

  16. @Matt ā€œaw honey, thatā€™s sweet, you take the first class seat.ā€

    I think stopping on the way home to buy her some roses is in order. My wife would only say that when hell freezes over. On second thought, not even then.

    My mistake was taking her FC on an AA 777 on our first ever TATL. Now she’s so spoiled, she calls J “second class”. šŸ˜‰

    We’ve gone FC TATL half a dozen times now, yet I think she still looks forward to the FC flight more than the time actually spent on the ground in Europe.

    In her defense though, when I offered to fly in J, her response was along the lines of “aw, that’s sweet of you, but I want you up front with me”…

    We were able to book our next TATL flight over in FC Saver for both of us by grabbing the only 2 seat award date AA offered for the entire summer 2014 nearly 11 months out. And I have her return booked Saver. But I’m afraid I’m coming home Anytime… šŸ™

  17. Good tip. Thanks. Was able to change a N.A.-Asia 2 F award to include these flights (originally originating in BDL). We are on two separate flights, but am optimistic that an additional seat will open on one of the two flights and we can go together. If not, no big deal.

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