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Now is the time to start searching for awards if you want to get to Europe next summer in business class with few or no fuel surcharges.
Dates up until early June are now bookable with American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, and United MileagePlus, including next Memorial Day weekend.
While the days of the big U.S. airlines releasing saver level award seats on every single flight on the first day awards are made available are gone, your best shot at getting awards is to follow the Chicago style booking strategy.
Look early and often and book as many options as you can.
We took a look at availability in Business Class for two passengers to the major European hubs of the big 3 mileage programs and all have decent options to Europe next summer at the moment.
Delta SkyMiles is the winner with broad award space for two to its hubs in Europe, even from the West Coast.
That continues a trend from this summer where we’ve found Delta miles to be by far the most reliable for finding award space on trans Atlantic flights.
Here is Los Angeles to Paris…for 62,500 miles one way.
Chicago to Rome…
Chicago to Amsterdam…
American AAdvantage remains the stingiest, but there are options, and at just 50,000 miles one way they are a bargain to grab.
Remember you can change the dates and connection cities of AAdvantage awards for free up to 21 days prior to departure so grab something that’s ‘good enough’ now. You’ll also lock in low prices before any possible award chart changes when American and US Airways finish merging later this year.
American’s own flights have a few options out of Los Angeles to London…
Air Berlin is pretty dry from Los Angeles to its Dusseldorf hub…
But New York – Kennedy to Dusseldorf has great availability on Air Berlin
Iberia is pretty reliable from Chicago, New York, and Madrid, but you’ll have to call the AAdvantage desk to book Iberia flights. You can search Business Class space with an ExpertFlyer subscription, or you can create a frequent flier account on BA.com to search for options.
And there’s decent availability from Dallas to London on American’s own flights…
Also remember with American if you can’t find enough seats on the same flight, you can put in a request to add an extra award seat. It’s hit or miss, but worth trying and you can read about it here.
United MileagePlus lets you fly to Europe on its own flights for 57,500 miles one way, almost as good as the American AAdvantage price.
And you can connect in Europe using any Star Alliance partner for the same price. So as long as you fly United on the long trans Atlantic segment you get the 57,500 mile price.
Get yourself to Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub and Europe is wide open.
There is unusually good space that can get you from San Francisco to Frankfurt…mostly by connecting in Washington-Dulles…
And here is Chicago to Frankfurt, which also tends to connect in Dulles…
And New York to Frankfurt
So start searching now.
Remember you can book one way awards with all the major U.S. mileage programs, so you can lock in your outbound without having to have your return flight ready for booking.
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