Are you looking to fly American Airlines and pay with miles? As a large domestic carrier, American Airlines is a popular option because of their numerous routes between North America and Europe. Plus, they don’t charge a fuel surcharge on long-haul flights.
It’s also possible to book American Airlines award flights with miles. To get more mileage from each point, keep some of these suggestions in mind when planning your trip.
With American award flights (and any carrier for that matter), you will still pay any fees and taxes for award flights.
How Much Does It Cost To Fly To Europe?
American Airlines offers a fixed mileage award chart. You pay the same amount of miles whether you fly from New York or California to Europe. However, American has three different pricing tiers they can charge based on demand for certain routes.
MileSAAver Awards Are The Cheapest Option
Although you can enjoy discount rates flying during the off-peak season, the best everyday award rate is the MileSAAver award tier. This is the cheapest rate for main cabin, business and first class seats.
Below are the award seat prices for a one-way flight between the continental U.S. and Canada to Europe:
- Main Cabin: 30,000 miles (22,500 miles off-peak)
- Business: 57,500 miles
- First Class: 85,000 miles
AAnytime Levels 1 And 2
When the discount MileSAAver Awards aren’t available, you must pay the AAnytime price. American Airlines currently has two levels with Level 2 requiring more points. You will pay notably more for these award seats.
Below is how much you can pay for a one-way flight:
- Main Cabin: 47,500 miles (Level 1) or 65,000 miles (Level 2)
- Business: 110,000 miles (Level 1) or 135,000 miles (Level 2)
- First Class: 140,000 miles (Level 1) or 175,000 (Level 2)
Finding The Best American Airlines Award Flights To Europe
You can search for American Airlines award flights on AA.com. Simply click “Redeem Miles” to pay with points instead of cash.
In the search screen, you will see flight options for American and their partner airlines (expect to pay a fuel surcharge if you fly partners British Airways or Iberia across the ocean). To avoid this carrier-imposed fee, fly an American-operated flight to Europe.
If you need a connecting flight inside Europe, you can use these oneworld partners for intra-Europe flights without paying the fuel surcharge.
Book Main Cabin Off Peak Flights To Europe
The cheapest way to book American Airlines award flights with points is during the off-peak season. For Europe, the off-peak dates are usually between November and mid-March.
During this time, you can book main cabin seats for 22,500 miles each way (45,000 miles roundtrip). This saves you at least 15,000 miles roundtrip if you fly during peak season. But, this discount only applies to main cabin seats.
You still pay the regular rate if you fly Business or First Class.
Book American Airlines Flights With Avios
If you own a travel rewards card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, you can use your credit card points to book American Airlines award flights. This is possible by transferring your points to British Airways Executive Club and converting your points into Avios.
Log into your British Airways account to search for flights. If some are available with points, compare the rates. It’s possible these award flights can be cheaper than booking directly through American Airlines.
For instance, you might be able to find off-peak transatlantic flights for 20,500 Avios plus $208 in fees and taxes for a main cabin seat. Your fees and taxes are higher when booking through British Airways, but you spend fewer Avios. If the numbers make sense, it’s something to keep in mind.
Note that it can be easier to redeem Avios for American Airlines award flights instead of American’s own frequent flyer miles.
Consider Flying British Airways First Class
Although British Airways has the carrier-imposed fuel surcharge between $700 and $1,000, British Airways first class can be worth the added expense. The British Airways premium cabin experience can be better than American Airlines depending on the plane, and premium cabin award availability is easier to come by.
Flying on the elite 787-9 Dreamliner fleet lets you enjoy one of the most comfortable first-class experiences flying to Europe. In fact, this fleet only has 8 seats instead of the usual 14. So, you may need to act fast to claim an open seat.
Expect to pay 85,000 miles each way plus taxes and fees for a first class seat. Otherwise, the British Airways business class is a worthy alternative and only costs 57,500 miles each way.
You can book these flights directly through the American Airlines website.
Explore New Routes
Throughout 2019, American Airlines is adding new nonstop routes between the United States and Europe. Being one of the first to book can help you secure the discount MileSAAver rate.
You can track the latest route additions online. In the meantime, here are the routes American is launching in 2019:
- Charlotte, NC (CLT) to Munich, Germany (MUC) – starting March 31, 2019
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Athens, Greece (ATH) – starting May 3 through September 28, 2019
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (DFW) to Dublin, Ireland (DUB) – starting June 6 through September 28, 2019
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (DFW) to Munich, Germany (MUC) – starting June 6 through October 26, 2019
- Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI) – starting April 2 through October 26, 2019
- Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to Bologna, Italy (BLQ) – starting June 6 through September 28, 2019
- Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to Dubrovnik, Croatia (DBV) – starting June 7 through September 27, 2019
- Philadelphia, PA (PHL) to Berlin, Germany (TXL) – starting June 7 through September 28, 2019
- Phoenix, AZ (PHX) to London-Heathrow (LHR) – starting March 31 through October 26, 2019
Recent Changes To American Airlines AAdvantage
Changes are coming to the AAdvantage loyalty program in 2019. When it comes to flying from Europe, Canada is now in the same zone as the contiguous 48 U.S. states. This change went into effect January 16, 2019.
If you’re flying from Canada to Europe, you will most likely pay fewer miles than before. For example, you save 10,000 miles each way on main cabin MileSAAver award seats. Additionally, you’ll pay about 5,000 fewer miles each way when flying business or first class.
American Airlines can save you points if you can find an off-peak flight. When flying an American-operated flight to Europe, you can avoid those hefty fuel surcharges that British Airways and Iberia partner flights charge you, even when booking with American Airlines miles.