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They say that every cloud has a silver lining and the silver lining to the current coronavirus scare appears to be that American Airlines is finally releasing premium cabin saver award availability and, somewhat unbelievably, premium cabin Web Special availability too.
MonkeyMiles seems to have broken the news first and, building on that news, here’s what I’ve found so far.
There are American Airlines Business Class Web Specials available from multiple cities across the US to various cities in Europe starting from around 84,000 miles roundtrip.
The fare in the image above is a good example of what I’ve been finding in that it looks like the very best deals may involve departing from secondary airports (like Burbank) or, at the very least, require a stopover and possibly even some backtracking.
MonkeyMiles appears to have found a great deal for non-stop travel between LA and London (87k + taxes) but that’s for a trip that’s over 40 days long and that’s likely to be a longer trip than most readers will be looking to book.
The better non-stop deals between LAX and London appear to cost around 98,000 miles + taxes (which is still a nice discount on the 115k + taxes it costs on the rare occasions American makes saver awards available under normal circumstances)…
…but there don’t appear to be all that many of these non-stop deals around.
The types of routings you’re more likely to find are ones where a non-hub airport connects to a hub and you then fly on to Europe…
…or one where you’re forced to fly in the wrong direction for quite a distance (usually on the outbound) before connecting on to your final destination:
Even some of the Business Class Web Specials out of American’s home in Dallas Fort Worth force you to stopover on the East Coast (and change airports) before you’re finally on your way to Europe:
Be aware that you’re also likely to be presented with a number of options which, in my opinion, are simply not worth the time and hassle that they’ll inevitably involve.
There has to be a better way to get back and forth between Phoenix and Paris than this…
…and American would have to discount its Business Class Web Special by a lot more than 15,500 miles before I’d be tempted to book this routing between Seattle and Frankfurt:
When Are These Web Specials Available?
Most of these Web Specials appear to be available for travel in March, April & May, but I have heard rumors that some (not many) have been spotted for travel later in the year too.
They’re easier to spot if you’re using American’s newer award booking tool as this automatically searches for availability out of secondary airports (e.g. Burbank, Ontario, and Long Beach when you input LAX as your departure point) where the legacy tool often relies on you selecting the option of seeing departures out of “nearby airports”.
This is the type of calendar view you can expect to see using the newer award booking tool:
Things To Watch Out For
Keep an eye out for extortionately high taxes and fees. If you see the taxes and surcharges for your trip exceeding $350 you’ve probably accidentally included a British Airways flight in your routing and that’s causing your surcharges to skyrocket.
Also, be aware that because a lot of the Business Class Web Specials involve shorter flights you’ll be spending some time on narrowbody aircraft with domestic cabins. You should do your best to minimize the length of the sectors you fly on these aircraft so that you can spend the majority of your trip in the considerably more comfortable widebody Business Class cabins.
Lastly, it’s important to bear in mind that American’s Web Specials do not allow changes so, if your plans change, you’ll have to cancel and reinstate your miles and that will incur a fee unless you hold top-tier status.
There are some very nice American Airlines Business Class awards available for travel between the US and Europe right now but you’ll need to be careful what routings you’re being offered before you dive in and book – in some cases it may be a better option to pay a little more and book a non-stop routing rather than saving a few thousand miles, flying out of a secondary airport and having to connect along the way.