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.
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:
Not only do a majority of the dates have availability, but on the dates where there’s availability, virtually every flight has award space:
Business class award space is even better, with availability just about every day:
And once again virtually every flight has availability on those dates:
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)