If you’re thinking about a trip to Europe next spring or summer, here’s something to consider – it appears that BA has released a significant amount of premium class award space on its new-ish A380 service between Washington Dulles (IAD) and London Heathrow. I stumbled on this quite by accident; I’ve been scouring the AAdvantage online booking tool the last couple of weeks looking for good award space for a cruise to Europe next summer, and while searching earlier this evening, noticed a good deal of First Class MileSAAver award space available in the June/July timeframe between LHR and DFW.
I hadn’t noticed this much space even the day before, and it just so happened that a First MileSAAver was available on July 5th, right when I would need it (I know you don’t see it here; more on that in a second). So I clicked to see what the deal was, and found this:
Sure enough, first class award space via IAD – on the A380! I did a (non-exhaustive) search of flights between IAD and LHR, and sure enough, plenty of premium class award space is showing up between March and about July 4th both ways (mostly business class IAD-LHR instead of first). I didn’t attempt to check every single day, but even in June, a good 2/3 of the days I picked had seats available on the A380. It also appears that a maximum of two First Class seats have been released, as the First MileSAAver option for 7/5 disappeared entirely after I booked the seats. So, sorry to disappoint anyone who wanted to fly from LHR to IAD on July 5th, but I apparently grabbed the only two AAdvantage seats available. (In case you were wondering, I’d already booked two award tickets from DFW to IST via BOS and LHR, again using a First Class MileSAAver award, about a week earlier.)
Now, the problem with booking BA space using AAdvantage miles is the obnoxious fuel surcharge that you’ll be socked with – a total of $630.40 of taxes and fees per ticket for our LHR-DFW run. For our entire round trip – DFW-IST and then FCO-DFW – AA socked it to us to the tune of about $1,200 per ticket, mostly BA fuel surcharges. But for a First Class ticket, 125,000 miles plus $1,200 isn’t a horrible deal, considering that BA quoted me a fare of $14,728.53 for the same itinerary, assuming I was paying for it out of my own pocket. It’s even less horrible considering I can mark off First Class in an A380 from life’s to-do list. Of course, I’m going to be knocking on wood daily between now and July 5th, 2015 that there isn’t an equipment change. I should note that the value proposition isn’t nearly as strong for Club World space; to/from DFW, those tickets typically retail for around $4,500, you’ll only save 25,000 miles per round-trip, and you’re going to pay pretty much the same $1,200 in taxes and fees thanks to those blasted fuel surcharges.
In any event, if you’re an AAdvantage member, and are considering cashing in miles for a trip to Europe next spring or summer, try a routing via IAD and LHR if you’re 1) looking for premium award space using a MileSAAver award, and 2) want to grab a premium seat on an A380. I would suggest moving quickly, though, because I suspect this space won’t be available for very long.