Austrian Business Class Award Availability Trends

The reality is that there are fewer and fewer international first class products out there as many airlines switch to a two cabin model, and those few first class products remaining are tougher than ever to redeem miles for. As a result, you’re often best off seeking out a great business class product when looking for award space.


Austrian business class

One of my favorite transatlantic business class products is Austrian business class. Their entire fleet now features their new fully flat business class product, but my favorite part of flying with them has to be their DO&CO catering and dedicated coffee menu. I’ve flown Austrian business class from Vienna to Tokyo Narita, and had a great flight.


Coffee on Austrian

The challenge with Austrian is that they tend to be pretty quirky with releasing award space. Sometimes they’re extremely generous and open up space on virtually every flight, while other times they seem to have no award space. I’ve received a ton of questions from people looking to redeem an award ticket on them for next summer, and noticing that they have virtually no award space.

I figured I’d post a quick update, because at the moment it seems like Austrian is loading business class award availability 90 days out, almost to the day. In looking at all their longhaul routes three months from now, a vast majority of flights have business class award space:

Austrian-Award-Space-1 Austrian-Award-Space-2 Austrian-Award-Space-3 Austrian-Award-Space-4 Austrian-Award-Space-5 Austrian-Award-Space-6 Austrian-Award-Space-7Austrian-Award-Space-8

However, if you search a week (or two, or three, or four) later you’ll notice that not a single flight has award space. So it does seem that right now Austrian is making a pattern of releasing award space three months in advance. Hopefully this is something y’all can use to your advantage, because it can often otherwise be tough to snag premium cabin award space around the three month mark (most airlines release space either 11 months out or again much closer to departure, so it’s nice to have an airline releasing space in the “middle”).

As a reminder, Austrian’s longhaul destinations include Bangkok, Beijing, Chicago Delhi, Male, New York, Tokyo, Toronto, and Washington.

Austrian-Longhaul-Destinations

(Tip of the hat to Oscar)

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this post. I’ve noticed this trend as well and was able to book a business class seat on Austrian in February. I can’t wait for that iced coffee! šŸ˜‰
    By the way, I heard Austrian auctions off some of its business class seats at a price. Do you think this is a new trend that may, perhaps, limit the number of seats they release for points redemption?

  2. hi
    how do you book? via united or what other partners? how much is biz class vs first class in miles/points?
    can you use ultimate rewards points?

  3. @ anita — Yes, you can book through United, US Airways, etc. Ultimate Rewards points transfer to United, so that would be your best option for redeeming on Austrian if you had Ultimate Rewards points. Austrian doesn’t have a first class cabin.

  4. Lucky, are all the flights now with the new lie flat C class product? I know YYZ was one of the last on the schedule to be changed over.

    Interestingly, many people on FT complain about Air Canada’s high density B77Ws fitted with this seat now, compared to the old herringbone pods, whereas those flying with LX,SN or OS don’t seem to mind it.

  5. @ Alexisonsmith — Swiss business class award availability is extremely route dependent. On some routes they release it 11 months out, on other routes they hardly release space ever.

  6. Hi Lucky – I’m hoping to fly Austrian business class this summer, though there’s currently no award space showing up on United’s website. I’ve booked two business class tickets on LH using United miles to lock in the pre-devaluation rate. Will I be able to re-book on Austrian if anything shows up without being re-ticketed at the higher rate? Any advice if United’s website isn’t showing availability 90 days out? Do I check ExpertFlyer and then call United if there’s something available?

    Sorry for asking such basic questions. Love the blog!

  7. @ James — If the space is there then you should be able to rebook without causing the itinerary to reprice.

    United is pretty accurate when it comes to displaying Austrian space, so the only other thing I recommend is to double check with the ANA website as well. But I’d say there’s a good chance of space opening up within 90 days of departure.

  8. Hello guys,
    I need your help .. I am trying to arrange few business class tickets by using awards / miles and I have always been going to united.com to do that.

    I read here in this article you can search for those type of tickets and to book them through other websites as well, however I’m failing to get this done. I read that I can do that through Air Canada for Austrian, however I don’t see such an option there nor I see an option in Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer points there.

    What am I missing ?

    Not to mention that in this article you’re saying that I can get a business class award ticket with less miles vs united.com

    Thanks in advance

    Looking to learn more about how to best use my points.

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