American’s interesting international fare pricing

With yesterday’s announcement by American that they would be offering double elite qualifying miles through January 31, 2012, I’m sure I’m not the only one that logged onto to see what kind of fares I could get my hands on. Given that American has no fare restrictions on using their systemwide upgrades, I figured I’d make a quick trip to Europe if the price was right. I nearly soiled myself when I typed in my preferred date and destination, and saw this fare:

$88 one-way? Even with a fuel surcharge, this one’s gonna be pretty good! Then I searched the return, and I saw that the price was about six times higher than the outbound:

The strange thing is that this is the case for just about every destination in Europe. I suspect American is simply bundling the fuel surcharge with the return portion of tickets. At least that’s the only good explanation I can come up with.

I have to wonder if this is a glitch or intentional. It may very well be a glitch, but it’ll certainly also catch peoples’ attention when they see a sub-$100 one-way fare to Europe when searching for flights. So if it’s a mistAAke, it’s a convenient one.

So don’t get too excited if you run into the same thing, folks!


  1. Sounds like opportunity to book one way (can you get the $88 fare booking one way only?) on AA and fly back on UA/CO. Even if UA doesn’t bother matching, it’s still a good way to get an early jump on EQM’s for both airlines.

  2. You can’t get that low fare on the outbound, alas. If you could, I’d certainly book it and award my way back.

    I can’t seem to find any good LAX-International fares. All in the $800 range.


    Can you fly LAX-LHR and then CDG-LAX and avoid the premium departure tax for using your evips?

  3. I just looked at a Mar. 17 flight from AUS to FRA. Flight to FRA was $148, return on Mar. 18 was $306 for a total price of $918. One-way to FRA on Mar. 17 is $1,765 for a total price of $1,820.

    So the cheap fare to Europe is only valid on a r/t ticket.

  4. These are all RT fares. It lists a “one-way” fare for accounting purposes but you can’t buy a oneway and come back on miles.

  5. Not a real offer only shows up on R/T tickets. Its more gimmick than anything else and like phazedaowt said its probably more to do with AA’s financial practices.

    Now if these fares were for an actual one-way booking I would say you are on to something.

  6. I tried this for MIA to MAD and got a $52 fare there but $450 plus on the return leg. If you try to put just a one way ticket, I was getting an error that would tell me to call the reservations desk.

    I tried 3/22 to 4/1 and 3/29 to 4/7 and had the same results

  7. Michael said,

    It’s stackable — the promotions — which makes multiple LAX-ORD $219ai for 10,470eqms a sweet deal!

    What is this deal?!

  8. I just read the other day that Brazil is one of the most profit destination AA have. If so, why they don’t do any amazing offers or bonus to Brazil?
    They are mean sometimes….

  9. @ Josinei — If the route is profitable for them, they don’t need to offer any bonuses to incentivize people to fly with them. Keep in mind there’s not all that much competition to Brazil. American is the strongest US carrier to South America by far. They have a lot more incentive to offer bonuses on routes where they’re struggling.

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