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American Airline award travel to Europe

Tinley Park, IL
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American Airline award travel to Europe

Its been a while since I have booked award travel outside the United States on American Airlines and things have changed.

I am trying to book 2 award seats to Sevilla, Spain for June 2012. This morning, there is ONE ticket available TO Spain from Chicago in June and no return flights. We will be flying Iberia, but AA will be making the award reservations. I will also be booking 2 paid seats.

We are looking at June 4-5-6, 2012 to return June 14,15,16. Some flexibility.

I am looking for advice, other than calling every day to see if seats have opened up. I was told that Iberia, the airline that will release the seats periodically and that AA has no idea when/how. If I have to call every day, so be it. But hoping that some experienced award travelers can help me out.

Also, ticket prices on Iberia to Sevilla are out of this world right now--$1550 is lowest price I found right now--any suggestions when is a good time to book paid seats for June travel? My daughter flew in August 2010 and prices were about $150 less for the outbound flight (return was December so I'm not including that price) when I booked those flights in March/April, 2010. I do know that June in Sevilla is more traveled due to weather.

Just looking for any tips and advice. Thanks much.

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

There is no secret but to keep looking every day. No way to tell if/when award seats will be opened. I would grab what I could as it became available.

Try changing your arrival city in Spain to Madrid; there are many seats available for your dates, but at 60,000 miles each way. Are there other carriers in your alliance you can look at? Be open to the paid travelers flying another airline if you can get a better price then what you are seeing now.

To me, a good price would be around $1200. You want to travel in the summer, it's not going to be cheap, and past prices are no accurate indicator for what they will be next year.

Edited: 05 August 2011, 15:51
UK
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2. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

As per the advice above, I'd look to see whats available on American and BA, focussing on Madrid, if you find it, reserve it, then phone American and see if they can add Madrid-Seville to that.I'd expect American to have better availability, plus itw ill eb far smoother in terms of any changes you may make.

Nashville, TN
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3. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

If you're flying Iberia, you will not be able to book your award travel on line. You also can not see availability as each airline sets their own FF availability levels. I suggest you contact the AAdvantage International reservations desk for assistance.

"To book award travel on one of our AAdvantage participating carriers, contact Reservations at 1-800-882-8880 (or your local American Airlines office)."

Madrid
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4. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

You may find that as soon as you book a single seat to seville,Iberia promply opens another seat.A number of airlines do this,but there are no guarantees.As Joe says,check Madrid also,if you can get 2 seats to Madrid,you may be able to modify your tickets later if inventory opens up.

You may also look at seats out of JFK.Means a connection,but there may be more seats available.

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

Plus or minus one day is not flexibility to me. I usually consider a week or two as "flexible". Good luck on getting your other seat, patience is usually the key, as the airlines looks at loads and decides to open up seats. As for a price premium of $150 versus a previous ticket, I'd snap it up now, but that's me.

Tinley Park, IL
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6. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

Thank you...the flights she was checking for me were for Madrid first, then getting the connection to Sevilla. I asked if other carriers went to Spain in the OneWorld and she said connections with British Airways. I don't have enough miles for 60,000 each way....I need 60,000 round trip, so my choices are as is. British Airways, according to the representative I spoke with, is much more expensive in fees and miles, connecting through London.

I'd prefer to wait and use the connections in the US as a last resort. My experience last year connecting through Boston was probably the worst I've ever had in my 45 years of flying.

I am going to just call daily until I get my 2 seats I need. I was just a bit stunned with the economy being what it is that June is so much higher than a year ago! I was prepared for $1200, not $1550!

I used Vayama last year for my own flights and I will probably do that if the fares don't seem to even out.

When I used AA awards for Australia in 2000, and Mexico then Europe in 2005, it seemed much easier to get seats; I was not used to them opening seats up one/two at a time!

I'll keep my eyes/ears open! Thank you again for your rapid answers!

Nashville, TN
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7. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

Remember that the flights you're see on the AA website are only AA operated flights. You're not seeing any seats on IB or BA operated flights. As previously noted, the only way to book using AAdvantage FF miles on a AA partner airline is to call.

June is a peak travel month to/from Europe. I don't know how flexible you are, but AA has seats available to MAD for 20K in each direction as long as your return is NLT 15 May.

Tinley Park, IL
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8. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

Not looking on AA site for Iberia flights; the only prices I quoted were from the Iberia site. The information I posted was from a representative of the AAdvantage program that I spoke to this morning.

I've flown extensively around the country and the world, so I'm fairly adept at most of it; I just haven't used mileage for out of the country with AA in years and I was quite surprised after my call this morning. I was curious if there was any words of wisdom about using mileage that I wasn't familiar with. You learn something new all the time!

I have 2 graduating...high school and college....and a 25th anniversary--all in May...so we have to travel after June 1.

Thank you again for all your input. I will just place AA on my speed dial and hope for the best!

United States
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9. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/1110784-americ…

According to the link above(be sure to read post 2), you can get another 75K of AA miles by getting a credit card linked above and spending $1500 on that card within 6 months (which I assume isn't too hard to do). You can get 225K of miles if you get all three cards but you have to spend way more money to do it and one of the cards is on the American express network which is much harder to spend money on as not every place accepts AE.

FYI, if you decide to get those above cards, you do so at your own risk as I'm not sure if they are legit though the millions of posts on that forum suggest they are. I've decided to take the risk of getting one card myself so I'll see what happens. My mom just saved $800 on a flight to hong kong by getting a new credit card so it can be worth it.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: American Airline award travel to Europe

Sign up for Iberia's frequent flyer program, and you'll be able to see award availability on the Iberia website. As soon as you see something that works, phone AA and make the reservation - if it's visible on Iberia's site, the AA people ought to be able to see it and book it for you.

Note that all AA awards are one-way, so if you find outbound seats you can book them, rather than having to wait for the return seats to open. If they never do, then you can cancel the outbound reservation and have the miles re-deposited in your account (and yes, with a service fee) then purchase the tickets instead.

Regarding the paid ticket option, it's too early to look for cheap prices for next June; try around the first of the year and you'll probably see better prices than you will now.

Traveling via London does not increase the mileage requirement, but it may increase the "taxes" (actually not taxes, but fuel surcharges.) But that routing will open many more flight options than looking at flights just to Madrid/Seville. As a rule, the short-haul European portions of transatlantic awards are much easier to book than the actual over-water segments.