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We can no longer recommend saving American miles for a trip to Europe in Business or First Class.
Yes, American didn’t raise the prices of entry level MileSAAver awards when it rolled out its new award prices yesterday. The lowest advertised price for a Business Class ticket to London, Paris, or anywhere in Europe is still 100,000 miles roundtrip, just like your used to.
But now that US Airways management has the keys to the American AAdvantage mileage program it’s just about impossible to find seats at that price right now.
Try searching for a date with a Business or First Class award for 2 people from the U.S. to London or Paris on American Airlines’ own flights between May and next February.
You’ll find none.
No days with a pair of seats available for 100,000 miles roundtrip.
Not from New York, not from, Chicago, not from Dallas, not from Miami.
They all show as 110,000 miles EACH WAY (220,000 miles roundtrip), American’s new ‘Anytime Level 1’ price, or if you’re really unlucky, 135,000 miles EACH WAY (270,000 miles roundtrip).
This is how American is quietly raising award prices.
You’re left with these options:
1. Pay 220,000 miles roundtrip for the new ‘Anytime Level 1’ price (more than double the 100,000 mile lowest advertised price)
2. Book on British Airways flights, which do have seats available for 100,000 miles, but get hit with about $1,000 in fuel charges
3. Go out of your way by flying through Dusseldorf, Madrid, or Helsinki on Air Berlin, Iberia or Finnair to pay 100,000 miles and avoid British Airways surcharges
4. Hope a MileSAAver seat opens up and switch to the flight later
Consider earning Delta SkyMiles.
It will cause mile enthusiasts to cringe, but if you want to fly to Europe in Business Class for less, Delta SkyMiles is now the best program if you want Business Class awards to Europe at reasonable prices.
They’ll get you there on many days during the summer for 125,000 miles roundtrip and no fuel surcharges. See the green days below.
That looked like a terrible deal a year ago, but now it’s not bad at all.
And even United, with a 140,000 mile price for Business Class to Europe, isn’t bad compared to American where you’re now stuck paying 220,000 miles or paying 100,000 miles plus $1,000 for a British Airways flight.
American miles are still really useful for getting to Asia in Business or First Class for just 110,000 miles roundtrip, since its partners Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific have lots of options with no extra fuel charges. You just have to call in to book the awards, because you won’t find them listed on American’s website, but they are really great values you won’t find with Delta or United. Click here to read about how to find days they have seats available.
Finding coach awards to Europe isn’t as hard as finding Business Class awards on American flights, though United is better overall for this thanks to its partners like Lufthansa.
Australia for 75,000 miles roundtrip in coach, with lots of seats available on Qantas is a great deal too. These normally cost almost $2,000.
And American is still generous with Business and First Class award seats here in the U.S for just 50,000 miles roundtrip.
But to Europe in Business Class, unless what we’re seeing is a temporary glitch, things look grim.
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