Apr122014

40,000 AAdvantage miles and Air Berlin USA-Milan, Italy round-trip off-peak awards

Here is another post to show how flying Air Berlin offers great value with American Airlines AAdvantage off-peak MileSAAver awards for 20,000 miles each way from a commuter airport in the USA to Europe.

This post looks at how to sort for Air Berlin and troubles traveling from a feeder airport.

Monterey, California (MRY) is an expensive airport to fly from when traveling to most places. Driving to San Jose (75 miles) or San Francisco (110 miles) generally saves $200 domestic and up to $600 on international tickets.

The other issue in Monterey are weather delays. On a United Express flight in March that should have been 22-minutes from MRY to SFO on a clear sky, gorgeous coastline morning all the way up Santa Cruz to San Francisco. The short flight plan turned into three hours and a missed flight connection to Minneapolis due to fog concentrated directly over the airport on the San Francisco Bay side of the peninsula. I ended up in Sacramento for lunch.

MileSAAver 40,000 miles round-trip USA-Europe in Economy Class.

Fly before May 15 or after October 14 for MileSAAver travel at 20,000 miles each way.

 

AA BA filter

The trick to getting low award fees for travel to Europe is to filter out British Airways flights. Simply uncheck the British Airways box. This may result in no award availability for some dates and destinations. Play around with dates and alternatives do arise, particularly with Air Berlin flights.

SFO-MXP 20

AAdvantage MileSAAver award SFO-MXP, San Francisco, California to Milan, Italy for 20,000 miles + $19.50 flying Air Berlin from LAX to DUS, Dusseldorf, Germany. Arrival in Milan at 6pm.

  • AA 1143 SFO-LAX Oct 21, 2:20pm – 3:45pm San Francisco-Los Angeles.
  • AB 7431 LAX-DUS, Dusseldorf, Germany. Depart Oct 21 5:55pm and arrive Oct 22, 1:40pm.
  • AB 8408 DUS-MXP, Milan Italy. Depart Oct 22, 4:40pm and arrive Oct 22, 6:10pm.

This is a great flight itinerary for departures out of San Francisco (SFO) with mid-afternoon departure and early evening arrival in Milan. As we feeder airport flyers know, this San Francisco departure requires a car drive and parking for days of trip.

Monterey Departure

AA MRY-MXP 8

Monterey to Milan, Italy = 20,000 miles + $7.50. This flight itinerary requires an overnight in Los Angeles.

  • Oct 28 AA 2590 MRY-LAX  6:45pm – 7:55pm.
  • Overnight at LAX Oct 28.
  • Oct 29 AA 200 LAX-MIA 7:25am – 3:25pm. Los Angeles to Miami.
  • Oct 29 AA 206 Miami – MXP 5:50pm – 8:35am Oct 30 Miami to Milan, Italy.
  • 20,000 miles + $7.50 for MileSAAver economy award.

Milan, Italy to Monterey

AA MXP-MRY 71

November 8, 2014 (after 9 hotel nights in Milan or elsewhere)

  • AB 8407 Air Berlin Milan (MXP) – Dusseldorf (DUS) 10:50am – 12:20pm.
  • AB 7450 DUS-JFK, Dusseldorf 1:05pm to New York JFK 3:35pm arrival.
  • AA 185 JFK-LAX 8:50pm – 12:10am arrival in Los Angeles.
  • Overnight at LAX November 8. This is a pain, but late arrival means another hotel night. Not too bad if there are good loyalty promotion bonus points and nights to earn.
  • November 9 AA 2608 LAX-MRY 8:40am – 9:45am.
  • 20,000 miles + $70.60.

This is just one example of an AAdvantage MileSAAver award from a small airport to Milan, Italy for 40,000 miles + $78.10 round-trip by avoiding British Airways flights through London.

AA MRY-MXP $415 award

This itinerary uses British Airways outbound and round-trip award price increases to 40,000 miles + $414.90.

Mass Transit in the Skies

In my experience, international flights out of Monterey are more secure when the night before the flight is spent in San Francisco or Los Angeles. While an overnight is an added hotel expense, this ensures no delay for getting to the airport for the international flight. I have missed several international connections over the years trying to travel from Monterey without an overnight. There are few things as aggravating as missing a once per day international flight and finding yourself stuck at the airport needing a hotel room night. I prefer to just plan the hotel night in the flight itinerary.

These days I don’t fly in the front of the plane. I have flown several hundred thousand miles in business and first class, but I found it to be an expensive proposition even when I could maintain United Mileage Plus 1K for under $4,000 per year. I burned several million frequent flyer miles to fly premium cabins and I can tell you that the miles don’t last forever. Especially at the rate premium cabin award flights increase in miles cost.

Assume you are earn 100,000 miles for $1,000 out-of-pocket with clever manufactured spend, bonus miles purchases and other schemes. You have plenty of award possibilities.

A MileSAAver round-trip award ticket is 100,000 miles in Business Class and 125,000 miles in First Class. This is $1,000 to $1,250 to fly round-trip in front of the plane, assuming you acquire miles at one penny/mile. Getting pampered while jetting across the globe is a wonderful experience. To sustain that lifestyle takes time, effort and flexible cash to move around and generate more miles.

Premium travel has sticker shock if you hit that AAnytime Level 1 award for USA-Europe and the price more than doubles from 100,000 to 220,000 miles round-trip in Business Class. The increase from 125,000 miles up to 280,000 miles round-trip in First Class is now in the $2,800 range, assuming you earn miles at the rate of 1 mile per penny.

The exchange in miles for premium cabin travel is fun on occasion and worth the splurge. I prefer to put my efforts in the hotel stays for the time I am away from home. AAdvantage MileSAAver awards allow two to travel on 80,000 miles. You’ll spend 25% more miles for one person to travel Business Class.

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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  1. […] Here is another post to show how flying Air Berlin offers great value with (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});American Airlines AAdvantage off-peak MileSAAver awards for 20,000 miles each way from a commuter airport in the USA to Europe. Monterey, California (MRY) is an expensive airport to fly from when traveling to most places. Driving to San Jose (75 miles) or San Francisco (110 miles) generally saves $ 200 domestic and up to $ 600 on international tickets. The other issue in Monterey are weather delays. On a United Express flight in March that should have been 22-minutes from MRY to SFO on a clear sky, gorgeous coastline morning all the way up Santa Cruz to San Francisco. The short flight plan turned into three hours and a missed flight connection to Minneapolis due to fog concentrated directly over the airport on the San Francisco Bay side of the peninsula. I ended up in Sacramento for lunch. Read full article […]

Comments

  1. Good write up Ric. I’m flying Air Berlin tomorrow: CPH-DUS-DUS in business class. 50,000 AA miles one way.

    One suggestion when search for only Air Berlin routes: search each segment at a time with AA calendar view and select non stop routes only. You have to really know which routes Air Berlin flies.

  2. What do you recommend for finding air berlin’s route map showing their direct TATL flights?

  3. Nice post. I like the comment “Premium travel has sticker shock if you hit that AAnytime Level 1 award”. It’s like touching the third rail 🙂

  4. I am On a AB flt JFK Berlin business class , never flown them– how does AB business compare to LH LX or AA —

    Ric like to read what u wrte — I live in ATH, u did a good job the other day explaining how to get to ATH

  5. Thanks for bringing this up, it’s so timely for me. I’m trying to fly ORD-CPH using AA miles and am trying to avoid the insane fuel surcharges. I know Air Berlin has the flights, but couldn’t figure out how to just see those flights on AA.

  6. Hi, just curious, if I have the British Airways miles card, which one is a better deal?

Comments are closed.