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There’s no getting away from it, American Airlines is incredibly stingy with its premium cabin award inventory and the lack of award space on American Airlines has been a regular gripe with frequent flyers for years. However, every now and again, the airline seems to go from one extreme to the other and a glut of award space opens up on routes where previously none had existed. Cue a feeding frenzy in the miles & points world.
American Airlines has opened up an amazing amount of award space on some of its non-stop flights between the US and London Heathrow for January, February and March 2017.
Update: It looks like routes to Paris and other European cities are now wide open for the same months too [HT: View From The Wing]
As in the past there appears to be a pattern to the inventory that’s been released in that the most common availability appears on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and not towards the end of the week…..but do we really care?!
Take a look a these screenshots from American Airlines – all show Business Class award availability on non-stop flights between various US cities and London Heathrow:
Los Angeles – London Heathrow
February 2017 (LAX-LHR)
February 2017 (LHR-LAX)
March 2017 (LAX-LHR)
March 2017 (LHR-LAX)
It’s not just that the are one or two awards open on numerous days….there are a lot of days with an incredible number of award seats open!
Here’s an ExpertFlyer screenshot of some randomly picked days:
LAX – LHR
LHR – LAX
Note that ExpertFlyer only shows up to a maximum of seven available seats in each class so what you’re seeing in the screenshots above is, in most cases, a minimum of 7 Business Class Miles SAAver award seats on each flight AND a minimum of 7 upgrades from Economy to Business Class as well – that’s fantastic!
And it’s not just Los Angeles flights that are seeing this availability…..
Chicago – London Heathrow
Chicago actually has even better availability than Los Angeles because Business Class awards are also available in January.
January 2017 (ORD-LHR)
February 2017 (ORD-LHR)
And, believe it or not, award availability is even better in the opposite direction!
January 2017 (LHR-ORD)
February 2017 (LHR-ORD)
March 2017 (LHR-ORD)
And, once again, there’s more Business Class award space than ever…..
One Way Availability
For other US cities American hasn’t been quite so generous…at least not yet. There appears to be plenty of Business Class award availability from London to the US….but none in the other direction.
London – New York
January 2017 (LHR-JFK)
February 2017 (LHR-JFK)
March 2017 (LHR-JFK)
And the same applies to Miami. Lots of availability form London to Miami but none in the other direction:
London – Miami
January 2017 (LHR-MIA)
February 2017 (LHR-MIA)
March 2017 (LHR-MIA)
The same pattern repeats itself with American Airlines other primary departure points to London like Philadelphia, and Charlotte.
It’s also probably worth noting that, if you’re happy to take connecting flights, the award availability looks even better (although some of the aircraft may not be the greatest on the short-haul flights).
It’s either feast or famine with American Airlines award availability and now is the time to gorge.
While it’s true to say that January – March isn’t the greatest time of year to be visiting London it’s a fantastic time of year for those on the other side of the pond to visit Los Angeles and to get a bit of sun.
Remember to use American Airlines miles for these awards (if at all possible) as you’ll incur horrendous surcharges if you use your Avios balance. If Avios is all you have then all is not completely lost – the Business Class seat you’ll get on American’s 777-300ER aircraft (labeled 77W on the searches) is considerably better than anything British Airways will offer you so there’s some consolation there.
As of yet I haven’t got any American Airlines flights booked for 2017 (there’s a separate blog coming about that) but this may tempt me to look for a well-priced economy class ticket to which I can then apply a couple of Systemwide Upgrades that may otherwise expire at the end of February. I’ll have to have a good look around.