American Airlines Business class awards from the United States to Europe start at 100,000 miles. If you’re based on the east coast you can save 20,000 miles by booking a OneWorld Explorer award. Many others have detailed using Explorer awards for elaborate round-the-world travel, but I simply needed to get from New York to the ITB Berlin travel show.
The American Airlines One World Explorer Award chart (at the time of this writing) lists business class award points requirements as:
|Travel Distances||Miles Required|
|4,001 – 9,000 miles||80,000 miles|
|9,001 – 10,000 miles||90,000 miles|
|10,001 – 14,000 miles||115,000 miles|
New York to Berlin, even connecting in one direction via Helsinki, falls within the 9,000 mile total trip mile distance. I chose to fly Air Berlin (AB) on the outbound and Finnair (AY) on the return. Award space on Air Berlin from JFK was relatively good but required a connection in Dusseldorf.
The itinerary must include two OneWorld carriers other than American. In my case flying Air Berlin and Finnair met this requirement. If your itinerary also included American, then it would be three airlines total. I explained this to the reservation agent as she insisted that I needed at least one American segment in my itinerary. Once she checked with her supervisor she went ahead and ticketed the flights as described above with just Air Berlin and Finnair.
My final itinerary was JFK-DUS-TXL on two Air Berlin flights and then the return was TXL-HEL-JFK flying Air Berlin to Helsinki and the Finnair back to New York. Both intra-Europe segments were in coach as Air Berlin does not offer a business class product on those routes. But the long haul flights were in business class.
I was looking forward to trying two new airlines as well as attending the Air Berlin press conference in Berlin showcasing their new business class seating. More to come…