Oct152015

Survey of AAdvantage Business Class USA-Europe award taxes using miles

Numerous posts by bloggers today point out the good deals available with the two day British Airways Business Class ticket sale dropping round trip fares down to $1,225 from San Francisco and west coast, and even down to under $500 round trip with 30,000 Avios.

Before that story took off this morning, another blogger favorite news story was widespread availability of AAdvantage Business Class awards opening up today for travel through next summer. My morning post on the tax and fees cost for AAdvantage economy award tickets to Europe was written before I saw that news and totally unrelated to the BA Business Class sale and AAdvantage MileSAAver Business Class award excitement making the rounds .

Loyalty Traveler – AAdvantage Europe off-peak awards only 20,000 miles each way October 15 to May 15

Since the community is promoting the sudden open skies AAdvantage Business Class award ticket availability to Europe for next summer travel from across the USA today, I thought I’d simply expand my previous economy class award survey with tips to lower award ticket taxes and fees, while taking a look at AAdvantage Business award fees and taxes for tickets purchased with miles.

When a man is tired of taxes, he is tired of travel through London Airports using air miles.

As I stated in my economy class award ticket taxes and fees survey, the rhyme or reason to award taxes and fees is difficult to analyze. One thing is clear, American Airlines reserves most of its business class seats for higher AAnytime award levels and most MileSAAver awards require travel through London flying British Airways, and therefore higher award taxes.

At least today, award tickets to Europe from California without flying through London are highly limited for dates and airports in many countries I checked for award travel from November 2015 to July 2016.

AAdvantage Business Class for two passengers

San Jose SJC – London LHR 

100,000 miles + $316.20 taxes per passenger round trip

Saturday July 9 – Friday July 22, 2016

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This is an itinerary for two passengers flying Business class. $316 in taxes per passenger is pretty high.

I noticed Gary Leff focused on aircraft choices for transatlantic table and never gave examples of taxes in his post this morning on AAdvantage Business Class awards.

Gary Leff’s post View from the Wing – ACT FAST: Amazing American AAdvantage Business Class Award Space to Europe Without Fuel Surcharges (Oct 15, 2015).

AAdvantage Business Class for two passengers

San Francisco – London LHRParis CDG

100,000 miles + $325.10 taxes and fees per passenger round trip

Wednesday July 6 – Tuesday July 19, 2016

AAdvantage SFO-CDG July 6-19

This itinerary only includes British Airways for short-haul flight to Paris. The award fees climb astronomically if you book British Airways transatlantic flights. This is why the British Airways Business Class two-day sale is such a great deal if London is in your sights.

AAdvantage Business Class for two passengers flying British Airways transaatlantic

San Jose SJC – London LHRAmsterdam

50,000 miles + $445.00 taxes per passenger one way

Tuesday, November 24

AAdvantage SJC-AMS ow Nov 24

British Airways award taxes for a Business Class seat are higher than simply buying a Business Class seat today.

As I showed in my economy class AAdvantage award analysis, FinnAir is a good friend to remember when trying to reduce the cost of award fees and taxes for travel to Europe.

AAdvantage Business Class for two passengers flying FinnAir transatlantic

San Francisco SFO – Charlotte CLTNewark EWR – Helsinki HEL

50,000 miles + $5.60 taxes per passenger one way

Tuesday, November 10

AAdvantage SFO-HEL ow-2pax-100K $11.20

AAdvantage Business Class for two passengers

Helsinki HEL– New York JFK/Newark EWR – Charlotte CLT – San Francisco SFO

50,000 miles + $39.80 taxes per passenger one-way

Tuesday, December 1

AAdvantage HEL-SFO ow-2pax-100K $80 Dec 1

Note this routing lands in JFK and departs next day from EWR. This itinerary sucks. I have done that JFK-EWR transfer and it is a pain.

General rule is taxes are higher on award travel from Europe to USA than USA to Europe.

The primary challenge to lower award ticket prices is to find routings avoiding British Airways and London, yet the AAdvantage award system withholds most routings for AA operated aircraft to Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, Zurich and other American metal routes to European airports and forces award travel through London flying British Airways between London and European airports to get the MileSAAver award rate.

While there is widespread availability of AAdvantage Business Class Awards today for travel into next summer, the high fees and taxes for travel through London mitigate the value. It is arguably a far better deal to just buy Business Class tickets during the two day British Airways sale and save AAdvantage miles for when American Airlines operated flights to European airports besides London offer more affordable ticket taxes and better value for miles redemptions.

July 2016 San Francisco SFO-CDG Paris AAdvantage Business Class MileSAAver Awards are available every date in July 2016 outbound and return.

AAdvantage Business Class Award SFO-CDG July 2016 availability

The problem is none of these dates allow travel without transiting through London and flying British Airways.

AAdvantage Business Class for one passengers

San Francisco – London LHRParis CDG

100,000 miles + $329.60 taxes and fees per passenger round trip

Wednesday July 6 – Monday July 18, 2016

AAdvantage SFO-CDG July6-18 100K $330

The issue is not that there are no Business Class seats for American Airlines operated flights to Paris. The issue is AAdvantage only offers these AA flights as Business AAnytime Awards at 135,000 miles one-way.

Plenty of American Airlines SFO-CDG seats are around if you pay 135,000 miles one-way AAnytime Award prices.

American Airlines flights to Paris CDG have plenty of award seats.

AAdvantage SFO-CDG AAnytime AA metal July 6 135K

AAdvantage AAnytime Business Class for one passenger

San Francisco Paris CDG

270,000 miles + $136.70 taxes per passenger round trip

Wednesday July 6 – Monday July 18, 2016

AAdvantage SFO-CDG 270K $137 July6-18

Bottom line for AAdvantage awards to Europe is it is not sufficient to say there is widespread availability of MileSAAver Business Class awards since these awards have relatively high taxes if you are forced to travel on British Airways.

But higher taxes seem like a bargain to fly British Airways through London for flights within Europe compared to the AAnytime miles needed to fly American Airlines transatlantic to anywhere besides London with the currently available amazing award space.

When MileSAAver Business Class awards flying American metal to Zurich, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Brussels, Frankfurt and places open up, then that will be a MileSAAver announcement to get excited about.

AAdvantage Business Class MilesSAAver Award tip – Save Green flying to Dublin DUB

I promised a good tip. Here it is. Look for AAdvantage Business Class MilesSAAver awards to Dublin. This is the one European airport with American metal flights available on MileSAAver awards while bypassing London for lower ticket taxes.

You can buy a round trip ticket for under $100 from Dublin to just about anywhere in Europe.

AAdvantage MileSAAver Business Class for one passenger

San Francisco Dublin DUB

100,000 miles + $52.30 taxes per passenger round trip

Wednesday July 6 – Friday July 22, 2016

AAdvantage SFO-DUB 100K $52 July6-22

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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Comments

  1. This morning I booked SFO-LAX-LHR for 50k + $5.60 in business for July. I still need to get the return ticket, but you’re right, availability is much weaker. That said, I believe I can still route through LHR on the return and avoid most of the fees as long as I start my trip back somewhere else in Europe and avoid BA.

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