Your palms start to sweat. You get a little knot in your stomach. You are positively exhilarated, but you’re also nervous. No, it’s not love at first sight, it’s finding that 40k American AAdvantage award ticket on dates that work for you… and you’ve never been happier.
You rush through the booking process, anxious to get the tickets locked down – or on American’s beautiful “on hold” status at the very least. Then, it happens… like a cold, wet towel, an ugly reality extinguishes your fire – monstrous surcharges push the ancillary costs of each ticket over $400. All of the sudden your hopes and dreams are dashed and you’re left feeling abused… maybe this is like your love life.
$950 for two tickets to Milan? Gag! That’s like what you used to pay before you became a WorldWanderluster. You worked hard for those points – and the hope was that they’d save you some serious money. Sure these are $1300 tickets, but if we were in the market to actually pay money for tickets, we’d be on Expedia.com, not WorldWanderlusting.com.
Wait, now before you turn on your perma-frown and kick your dog, I want to give you some hope. There’s a chance we can still make this happen for you. The problem with what you have so far is that there is an evil villain lurking within your itinerary. It comes in the unlikely form of British Airways. Yes, that’s right, it’s the mother country’s airline that’s trying to bleed you dry with mega fuel-surcharges.
How to Book a 40k American AAdvantage Award Ticket to Europe Without Enormous Surcharges
Don’t pout and set fire to things, just follow this simple step in your American AAdvantage Award ticket searches to help you book to Europe for incredible value… ready?
- Uncheck British Airways
Yep. It’s really that easy. That’s where the gouging is coming from. Let me show you. When you first searched for a flight to Milan (or any other European hub for that matter), British Airways flights floated to the top. Any time you get the 20k each way redemption level, BA flights abound, so the odds are that your flight included at least a leg or two on American’s English partner.
Sure the times are relatively convenient, but what’s not convenient is the severe blow to your wallet – $950 is more than we WorldWanderlusters even pay for an entire vacation, much less for a couple of flights!
Now, just do yourself the favor of unchecking British Airways and it might take away some availability, but it will also take away that shameless affront on your Benjamins. Grant yourself some flexibility in timing your flights and you’ll save more than just a couple bucks.
The result is one that I know you’ll like. You’ll like it because we are after the same thing – lots of travel for not much money. That’s why we write this blog and why you read it. I love free travel so much that it’s 12:57am and instead of sleeping, I’m showing you how you can get in on the action, too.
The net cost for this flight is a little over $70 a ticket – that’s a fraction of a fraction of what you’d expect to pay – now that’s WorldWanderlusting! We hope this is helpful and please let us know in the comments if you know of any more tips or tricks.
Now, if you’ve read through this entire post and you now find yourself wondering – How can I get ahold of 40k AA miles and start booking my own trip to Europe?
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Looking through the process, what does the 20K Economy Mile AA Off Peak mean? Or how did the 20k end up being 40k per ticket? Sorry if the answer is obvious?
No problem. The 20k Economy Mile AA Off-Peak is the lowest redemption level available for the American AAdvantage flights to Europe. It costs you 20k each way for an economy ticket during off-peak times (Oct 15-May 15 in Europe). You can see redemption levels for American here: http://www.aa.com/i18n/disclaimers/free-ticket-award-chart.jsp or find the link in our “Using Airline Miles” page under the “How to Wanderlust” tab.
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Any tipes on finding those 20k awards?
@MLH- Try from different airports, look at landing at different airports too. Try to plan the trip about 6 months out, that will free up more availability on the award tickets. Where are you headed?
I was looking to get to anywhere in Europe next fall, wasn’t having any luck except on BA with huge fuel surcharges.
Luckily I got in on the DL mistake fares, booked a pair of vacations to Hawaii so my travel for next year is already locked in.
Nice work! I missed out on the mistake fares and was SO bummed. It sounds like you really scored and have some fun trips ahead!
MLH- Nicely done. I wish I had gotten in on that action. I wasn’t at my desk so it escaped me. Best thing I can say is to get a basic idea of when you’d like to go and just check in from time to time. I had probably tried 5 times before I found the right availability for Italy in 2013. Routings on Air Berlin are best and those don’t open up until 6 months before. Best wishes for a great year of travel!
I’ve been casually surfing your website for a little while and am now ready for a new card. I’m looking for a card to make a trip to Europe (London, Glasgow, or Edinburgh) from S. Calif. in April/May/June/July of 2015. It looks like American AAdvantage may be my best bet. What do you recommend? Thanks so much for the help!
Steve- Thanks for following! Yes, AA is hard to beat on low-mile-redemption to Europe. You’ve got to go and come before May 15th, though. Your best vest is to pick up the Citi platinum Select for 50k and watch for availability. It will come, especially with the US Airways merger.
So I unchecked British Airways as noted … and that took ALL of the flight options away. Whether I choose Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Zurich, or Edinburgh (from Philadelphia), all of my connection choices are through London on British Air. How else can I book a flight to Europe and avoid $700+ in fuel surcharges?
Greg- The first thing I’d say is “don’t give up.” That’s not uncommon to find that there’s no availability without BA. How long before your dates are you looking? I have always found that the best availability comes online between 4-2 months before flight dates.
As an example, when I recently booked SLC to DUB, I looked 6 months out and couldn’t find anything. I looked 5 months out and couldn’t find anything. I looked 4 months out and there were quite a few options.
I think within a 2 month window, it starts to tighten again.
Your other option may be to try flying out of somewhere besides Philadelphia – I know that’s kind of a pain, but if it helps you book a $70 overseas flight it may be worth it.