Hurry: American’s AMAZING First Class Award Availability

I really can’t make sense of what American is doing here, but right now I certainly won’t complain. šŸ˜‰

Over the past couple of years, American has been extremely stingy with making premium cabin award seats available on longhaul flights. LastĀ November I even wrote about how American didnā€™t have a single transpacific first or business class saver level award seat available for all of 2016. Not a single seat.

They’ve gotten much better since, but not with any regularity yet. Instead we’re seeing huge swings in award availability. When they make space available it’s not just one or two seats, but often at least four or five.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how American is making business class award seats wide open to Asia, while just a few days ago I wrote about how American is making business class award seats wide open to Europe.

Well, it gets even better. At the moment American has an unreal amount of international first class award space available on many routes.

The saver level availability I’ll show below is for four passengers per flight in all cases. You’ll find even better availability if looking for just one passenger, and you’ll even find dates with availability for at least seven passengers. Also keep in mind American allows five day award holds, so you can always place an itinerary on hold and then ticket later.

Keep in mind American charges the following mileage for one-way travel in first class, and in all instances there are no fuel surcharges:

  • US to Asia 1 (including Japan and Korea): 62,500 miles
  • US to Asia 2 (other regions in Asia): 67,500 miles
  • US to Europe: 62,500 miles

To give some examples, here’s first class award availability for travel between Dallas and Hong Kong, on American’s new 777-300ER first class (which has just eight seats, so they’re making at least half of those available in advance on many flights):

AA-HKG-4

Here’s availability from Dallas to Seoul Incheon:

AA-ICN-1

Here’s availability from Dallas to Tokyo:

AA-NRT-1

Here’s availability from Dallas to Frankfurt:

AA-FRA-4

Here’s availability from Dallas to London:

AA-LHR-4

Here’s availability from Dallas to Madrid:

AA-MAD-4

These are just some small samples, though I see space throughout the year on most of these routes. It’s sort of unreal.

Keep in mind that American is making some major award chart changes for bookings as of March 22, 2016, so there’s no better time to redeem AAdvantage miles than now. If you want to take your whole family to Europe or Asia in first class, this is an opportunityĀ which is tough to beat.

I think the best value here is American’s Dallas to Hong Kong flight, which is their longest route, and also operated by a 777-300ER featuring American’sĀ new first class product.

American-777-First-Class-01
American’s 777-300 first class

Many of the routes to Europe are operated by 777-200s featuring American’s old first class product, which is still perfectly nice for a transatlantic flight (especially when the alternative with American miles is paying fuel surcharges and redeeming for British Airways’ mediocre product).

American-777-First-Class-01
American’s 777-200 first class

Bottom line

This is the best first class award availability I’ve ever seen on American, so if you’re sitting on a pile of AAdvantage miles and want to travel in first class to Europe or Asia, I’d highly recommend taking advantage of this offer.

Personally I’m tempted to book American’s Dallas to Hong Kong flight in first class. I love that American has wifi on their 777-300ERs, and hopefully American will soon improve first class service on other routes to match what they offer to Sydney.

American-Business-Class-777-17

Will you be taking advantage of any of American’s first class award availability?

(Tip of the hat to Rick)

Comments

  1. Another point to consider is revisiting awards you’ve already booked to see if this new award space will help. I was able to improve an itinerary by dropping a BA First segment. Saved more than $1,000 and wound up with a better routing.

  2. If I was to book one of these flights in First (DFW-HKG) could I then change later if availability opens up on Cathay Pacific?

  3. Thanks for this – I had a one-way BA F ticket to Europe, and checked when this came up… holding an AA J ticket now (daytime flight, so J is just fine)… this will save me $300 and 12.5K miles, so will likely make the change.

    Much appreciated.

  4. I just booked my SFO-LHR-SFO trip in the middle of July for 112,500 miles! First class on the way there, business on the way back. Unreal. I’ve never seen anything like this!

  5. I already have a good itinerary which avoids BA but wanted to upgrade CDG-DFW segment from AA J to AA F — no availability on my date. In fact, nothing in June or July šŸ™

  6. I just upgraded our September Alaska Airlines award trip on American (PDX-DFW-LHR) from business class to the flagship B777-300ER first class! We will get to use the American Airlines flagship lounge on this trip.

  7. Yep. Also to South America. I just booked 4 First class tickets for April from Buenos Aires to San Diego. That’s almost impossible to do in the past years.

  8. Had a flight for 2 to Europe.
    I saw the availability complelty change this am.
    I promply canceled my original for a slightly different one but for 4 in Business!

    Whatever you are doing AA.
    Thanks..

    I started looking some more after this post and still see some great availability for 4.

  9. Was excited to see LAX-SYD open on AA as I’m currently on QF from DFW in J. Would rather have the 1-2-1 AA config for that flight. Too bad none of the dates worked for me.

  10. But is it even worth F over AA’s very good 300ER J product? To HKG/TYO I’d much rather prefer CX/JL over AA. We have a LAX-LHR in J this summer and will likely catch a CX F flight to HKG before coming home. Yes, more points, and ATW, but we’ll get to do CX F one last time.

  11. Ivan, we are taking that exact trip CDG-DFW in August and found F available, LUCKY us!! Do you know how to tell if its a 777-200 or a 777-300?

  12. Just changed PEK-HKG-ORD-MIA-MCO (with two overnight connections) to PEK-DFW-MCO (all on one day) for 6 of us. They gave me back 35,000 miles (switched two from partial F to C for 25,000 and 10,000 from credit card rebate on the reissue) and $350 in fees. Will be our first time on a 787.

  13. Hi,

    Which airline has better first or business class product to Sydney? AA, Qantas, or other one world partner airline??

    thanks

  14. Just grabbed 2 First Class tix from HKG – DFW on AA in November. Thanks for the heads up!! I was in business and now I’m not šŸ™‚

    I also forwarded the previous post about J class availability to Europe, and a good friend got a round trip from LAX-LHR on AA in biz.

    These posts help so much…THANK YOU!

  15. Just yesterday grabbed two first class awards DFW-NRT for next week. Old first product, but beat the old business class JAL 787-8 flight from SAN I had booked previously.

  16. No availability on LAX – Auckland flight :-/ I guess it’s because it’s new (will only start flying in June) they haven’t opened it for award bookings.

  17. Snagged a flight to Rome and saved $392 vs booking with BA F. Gotta love the AA 5 day award hold option!

  18. The screen shots of Dallas to Seoul & Dallas to Tokyo both say “miles used: 50,000”, why is that? When I look it says 67.5.

  19. Hi,

    I currently reside in Cebu Philippines and want to go to the UK.

    I have enough AA miles to cover a 1st class journey from HK to LHR. I checked on the website, and this would be flown with Cathay.

    But online, I cannot get a flight quote from CEB (Cebu) to LHR.

    Does this mean that AA will not allow me to book from CEB? Do I have to get cash a flight to HK first?

    Thanks.

  20. Ben, let me know what you think. I currently have a CMB – JFK award that includes the EY a380 from AUH – JFK…..but its 120k points. I know CMB is considered part of Asia so in theory i could route through HKG and take AA first for only 67.5k. Think its worth the switch?

  21. @ Adam — The Etihad A380 is tempting, I’d probably stick with it. But any chance you can originate in MLE instead, so you pay just 90,000 miles? Then you could book a cheap one way ticket from CMB to MLE and save the difference in miles.

  22. @ Missy — That’s because I was originally searching for business class, so it’s reflecting the business class cost.

  23. @Ben, how long do you think i would want to leave for a connection in MLE if i went that route……i have been thinking about making exactly that switch.

  24. Ben, LH J/UA F PRG-FRA-SEA-SFO (70K UA miles) or FRA-DFW-SFO in AA F? (62500 AA miles) I’d have to add the PRG-FRA segment separately since LH is the only direct carrier. At another 15k UA miles.

  25. @ Diana Wong — Toughie. In the end it seems you’d pay an extra 7,500 miles for the American option, but I might still go with that, given that it’s first class over business class. Can’t go wrong either way here, though.

  26. I was very disappointed that you touted American’s so called increased availability WITHOUT telling us whether the trans-Atlantic availability will once again be stuffed into BA.
    I never trust American to deliver anything without a catch!

  27. @evan Yup. That’s happening to me as I’m searching. I have to get from LAX to MAD in December, but everything is routing me through LHR. Even with wide-open availability, I’m not paying $1K r/t for the ‘privilege’ of going through Heathrow. Bummed out… I only searched on aa.com. If I search through ba.com, would I see other routings on AA?… not sure how to go about this…

  28. I had a better experience in CX j than AA f. American service is painful .U couldn’t wait to get off vs. not wanting to get of on a CX flight.

  29. Thanks for the tip. Had booked SZG-LGW-MCO but only availability was on BA 777-200 Club World (6 across seating). I took a deep breath, gulped and booked paying the taxes.

    Today, EVERYTHING was open. I was able to get SZG-LGW-overnight-LHR-MIA-MCO on AA 777-300ER. Saved us $300 in taxes. I’ll have to overnight in London (No hardship for us) and I got a cheaper flight and better product.

  30. There was very little to HKG or EZE on Wednesday. Basically I just wanted a long flight in First to a place I’d never been before. Then on Thursday when all the flights opened up I hurriedly booked to EZE. Yesterday I thought, maybe HKG would have been better, and what’s a $150 change fee in the grand scheme of things? I feel like you almost need 12 hours to really enjoy the experience of First Class, and get some sleep. So I called back and talked to a lovely lady at American. I threw a little money at the situation and now I’m doing ORD-DFW-HKG in mid April. Chicago in April can still be cold, so Hong Kong will give me a taste of summer early. I have to spend $4000 on my Chase Sapphire preferred in 3 months so maybe a little closer to the trip I’ll do a prepaid rate on a hotel via Rocketmiles.

  31. Ben, could I take advantage of this deal to SIN or KUL from SFO (or any US airport)? If so, you need to make the booking by calling AA? I prefer to fly on a non-AA (such as JL or CX). AA site indicates they don’t offer on these routes. Thanks!

  32. Thanks for the heads up! I’ve been trying to find something worthwhile before the devaluation.

    I reserved MCI-HKG via DFW in business on the way out and first on the way back over Labor Day weekend. Then I was thinking, well, I’ve been to HKG before, so I called up AA and added CX flights to/from SIN with an overnight stopover in HKG on the way back before heading home. Total = 122,500 miles.

    Considering DFW-HKG has never had availability before and I’ve never flown international above economy, I’d say this is a pretty sweet deal!

  33. @ JG — You could, but you would need to book by phone to include travel on Cathay, Japan Airlines, or Malaysia, which would be required to complete this award.

  34. Even if I can get Business or First MileSaver from DFW to LHR/MAD/FRA/CDG/DUS, there is never any availability to go further. Example: I want to leave on May 15 to go to FCO Rome. Obviously, ripoff BA is out.

  35. I have been searching all day for DFW or LAX to SYD for 2 with zero luck. Tons of space elsewhere

  36. I’ve read your explanation of AA fees for changing awards but I don’t totally understand them as they pertain to changing an AA partner award. For example, say I lock-in a first class award from CLT-ATL-LHR-EDI for 62.5k miles plus $450 due to BA fuel fees. In the future, say I find a way to get from ATL to LHR on AA metal at the saver level… does this mean I can both make a *free* change (since I’m changing neither origin nor destination, yet the award remains a partner award due to the final LHR-EDI segment on BA) and I can also get a refund of most of the fuel surcharge since I’m dropping the ATL-LHR on BA?

    Conversely, say I have a saver (partner) award CLT-ATL-LHR with the first flight on AA and then BA across the ocean. If an ATL-LHR saver award opens up on AA metal at a later date, now would I face AA change fees since I’m changing from a partner award to an AA award?

    Thanks very much for your help

  37. I booked my first ever flight award. . DFW to SYD. First class for 72.5k miles.

    Returning via economy for 37.5

    I’m as giddy as a school girl.

  38. Went to reserve seats online and saw that I was booked on the wrong AA flight when I changed flights earlier in the day. The rep says – “Oh, it looks like they never even ticketed. Good thing you called”. She went and changed my flight to the later departure (Why stay 6 hours in MIA if I don’t have to).

    I go look today and my flights are still “ON REQUEST”
    Should I call again or is this something which will sort by itself. I’m not in a time crunch as the flights aren’t until September.

  39. Just a note, but DFW to Hong Kong is completely exhausted. There’s nothing except like 1 economy ticket for all of June and July.

  40. Here we are 18 months later — its been a long drought. Come on American, release some saver premium seats.

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