Oct232015

Cool features of AAdvantage Award Maps

This article looks at the basics of AAdvantage Award Map, an aa.com tool for checking award rates from any airport to an entire region, like Europe.

I set MRY Carmel/Monterey as my airport departure location and Europe as my travel destination. Advanced features are accessible through a home page link “more options” above the map. This allows you to change map default setting from round trip to one-way award search.

AAdvantage Award Map

The main issue with AAdvantage award maps for Europe is you do not know if the flights are British Airways or American Airlines until you check the specific award date. The airline flown across the Atlantic makes a major difference in award fees and taxes with AAdvantage.

Transatlantic British Airways flights push the price from a minimum $5.60 plus miles for an award on American Airlines operated transatlantic flights to around $300 for a transatlantic economy flight one-way on British Airways. The fare rises up to $500 each way for First Class award flights.

San Jose SJC – Seattle SEA – London LHR – Berlin TXL

AAdvantage First Class one-way award flying British Airways transatlantic Seattle to London in First Class

62,500 miles + $495.40.

SJC-TXL AA award on BA 62500   $495 Nov 21

 

Cool Features of AAdvantage Award Maps

Rather than hunt and peck different airports around Europe, the initial search using American Airlines AAdvantage Award map generates a list of flights to Europe and the minimum award rate.

San Francisco SFO to Europe One Way on November 22, 2015.

AAdvantage Award Map SFO-Europe Nov 22

This list is far more extensive than I would have come up with randomly searching big cities in Europe.

British Airways ticket price sticker shock

The time suck issue still remains on AAdvantage Award Maps when clicking “book now” links to see the flight routing options. Several cities only offer awards flying British Airways transatlantic from USA to London.

Flying British Airways across the Atlantic adds at least $250 to the ticket.

Flying American Airlines to London, then British Airways to another airport in Europe adds about $100 one-way for economy class award tickets.

Cheaper taxes and fees are possible when you book American Airlines operated flights for the transatlantic flight segments and avoid flying British Airways within Europe. This is a big limiting factor on available flight awards with AAdvantage miles.

AAdvantage Award American Airlines + AirBerlin 

San Francisco – Chicago ORD – Berlin TXL – Stockholm ARN airport

Business Class One Way

50,000 miles + $24

SFO-BMA AA ow award 50K   $24 Nov22 

The focus of this article is simply to look at how taxes are impacted with British Airways flights and examples of award taxes flying AirBerlin or FinnAir.

Some flyers will prefer a 50,000 mile and $24 ticket to Europe flying AirBerlin rather than spending 62,500 miles + $495 for British Airways First Class. This post is not looking at the quality of the flights or even schedules, or even the same cities since Berlin and Stockholm are different airport destinations. The Stockholm schedule sucks with a red-eye to Chicago followed by 9 hours sitting at ORD. Sitting in ORD 9 hours with airport lounge access before an international flight has its perks, but a wasted travel day hanging out in ORD instead of flying to Europe.

AAdvantage Award British Airways + FinnAir 

San Francisco – London LHR – Helsinki HEL – Stockholm BMA airport

Economy Class One Way

20,000 miles + $328

SFO-BMA AA ow 20K   $328

Flying British Airways from San Francisco SFO to London LHR adds about $275 in taxes compared to flying American Airlines to New York JFK, then FinnAir from New York JFK direct to Helsinki HEL. This $328 Stockholm award ticket gives you an overnight in London for another expense beyond the high priced flight.

There are still award tickets to Europe for departures on Thanksgiving weekend. Availability expands greatly if you have the option of flying before and after the November 21-29 Thanksgiving holiday week in the USA.

Departures Before and After Thanksgiving week have lots of availability 

Fly out on Wednesday, November 18 and ticket options open up to many places at AAvantage MilesSAAver Economy Class awards with low fees and taxes compared to current weekend rates for award travel to Europe.

AAdvantage Award Economy Class One Way

American Airlines + AirBerlin 

San Francisco – Chicago ORD – Berlin TXL – Stockholm ARN airport

Wednesday November 18 (week before Thanksgiving)

20,000 miles + $24

SFO-BMA AA ow 20K  $24

San Francisco – Los Angeles LAX – London LHR

American Airlines  AAdvantage Award Economy Class One Way

Wednesday November 18 (week before Thanksgiving)

20,000 miles + $5.60

SFO-LHR AA ow award Nov 18 20K   $5.60

American Airlines 

San Jose SJC – Dallas DFW – Paris CDG

Wednesday November 18 (week before Thanksgiving)

20,000 miles + $5.60

SJC-CDG AA Award ow 20K   $5.60 Nov18

Alaska Airlines is one of the primary options I have for connecting to Los Angeles LAX from Monterey MRY. Good to know that flying Alaska to connect to another U.S. airport does not add additional fees and taxes compared to American operated flights.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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