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Best business class experience using 100,000 AA miles?

Best business class experience using 100,000 AA miles?

Old Nov 8, 15, 6:01 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: san francisco, ca
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Best business class experience using 100,000 AA miles?

Howdy! I've been an AAdvantage member for over 25 years and have never flown in business or first internationally. I'm thinking it's time for a splurge of miles, but I can't 'afford' to go in first. What's the "best" US-Europe business class experience that I can book using 100,000 AA miles? Or should I consider Japan? Or something else?

I'd like to start my trip in SJC or SFO, and ideally end up in Paris for a few nights (but Tokyo might be interesting - is it safe for a single woman who doesn't speak Japanese?). I think the DFW-MAD route has the new 787 planes, so that might be fun. Any ideas are welcomed! Hoping to travel in January or February 2016.

Thank you!
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Old Nov 8, 15, 6:05 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Arizona
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Any route that has the new 77W seating is great. The snack pantry and new interior smell is nice plus the seats are great. . Unfortunately I can not find an up to date thread on 77W routes and the flyertalk thread looks stale. American had some routes listed on their website and that became out date and now I can not locate it.
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Old Nov 8, 15, 6:18 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Best business class experience using 100,000 AA miles?

LAX-LHR has the new business class seats.
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Old Nov 8, 15, 6:22 pm
  #4  
 
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Hong Kong or further (Thailand) on Cathay. Best use of miles I have found. 55k each way in Business. Buy some extra miles, and call last minute for First (they open seats 24-48 hrs before departure). Extraordinary experience.
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Old Nov 8, 15, 6:49 pm
  #5  
 
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In terms of the best flight experience for the points, its gonna be CX or JL connecting on to many points in asia.

But that is assuming you actually want to go there. If you want to go to Europe, then yes, AA metal to LHR om the 77W. Can connect onward with BA with modest fees.

Tokyo is probably the safest city on earth.
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Old Nov 8, 15, 7:21 pm
  #6  
 
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The 77W and a connection on BA will take you to Europe just fine, to Paris or somewhere else.

CX or JAL will give you a nice trip to Tokyo, I would probably go with JAL.

Paris is the most visited city in the world, but yet it remains rather unwelcoming to foreigners, its attractions often overcrowded, its public services prone to random shutdowns (by strikes), its waiters famously hostile, etc. Go if you like, but I've never quite seen the loss-of-rational-thought level of attraction it holds to some people.

Tokyo is fascinating, complex, and fairly easy to get around as a foreigner; many places are well set up for tourism, and even things which are not, tend to have a formulaic way of operating so if you just go with how things seem to work and be polite, it works fine. Most Japanese things are set up to operate in a particular way (restaurant service, visitor attractions, train boarding, etc) and if you go with the programme it works fine. If you try to go against the programme, it gets hard, so go with the flow. Tokyo is very safe; certainly safer than San Francisco. Japanese people are nearly always dedicated at their job, so if their job is helping you then they help you well, and often very helpful even outside that.

Both the US Dollar to Euro and US Dollar to Yen exchange rates are in your favour at the moment, making either feel cheaper than it would have done a few years ago.
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Old Nov 8, 15, 10:11 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
The 77W and a connection on BA will take you to Europe just fine, to Paris or somewhere else.

CX or JAL will give you a nice trip to Tokyo, I would probably go with JAL.

Paris is the most visited city in the world, but yet it remains rather unwelcoming to foreigners, its attractions often overcrowded, its public services prone to random shutdowns (by strikes), its waiters famously hostile, etc. Go if you like, but I've never quite seen the loss-of-rational-thought level of attraction it holds to some people.
Personally, I'd probably NOT do the connection on BA; I'd stop off in London for a few days on the way over and take Eurostar into Paris. If I had enough time after Paris, I'd do Madrid or Rome after and return from there.

Paris will almost certainly not be overcrowded in January or February. I found it charming and easy to handle, even with a teenager in tow.

Tokyo's fine too.
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Old Nov 8, 15, 11:18 pm
  #8  
 
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Definitely make sure you select a flight with the new business class seats that convert to full beds because they are 100% better than the old seats where they only recline partially. You can easily tell when clicking on the "view seats" button. On any 777 the new ones are configured 1X2X1 whereas the old are 2X3X2. That is a huge difference! They have also reconfigured some of their 767's to 1X2X1 instead of 2X2X2. Have a great trip! Another suggestion is using their partner British Airways for the same amount of points. Their business class is very nice and all flights have seats that recline fully to beds. They even fly the new A380 from LA to London....or SFO to London.

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; Nov 10, 15 at 3:03 pm
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Old Nov 8, 15, 11:22 pm
  #9  
 
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Does anyone know of current thread or website that lists all of the AA flights with new business class 777w config? There was a stale thread on flyertalk. There also was a list on AA website that is gone
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Old Nov 8, 15, 11:24 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve View Post
Another suggestion is using their partner British Airways for the same amount of points. Their business class is very nice and all flights have seats that recline fully to beds. They even fly the new A380 from LA to London....
One will pay several hundred dollars in cash in taxes and fuel surcharges for the privilege of flying BA instead of AA across the Atlantic. It could end up being a nasty surprise not to mention that.
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Old Nov 8, 15, 11:39 pm
  #11  
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Thank you all for these suggestions! I have never been to Asia, and I'm struggling to find seats on aa.com for flights there using miles. Am I missing something, or must I call in to book this? (editing to add: I joined ba's avios program so I can do some of the searching there - if there's a better option, please let me know!)

Definitely intrigued by the idea of flying Cathay or JAL to Tokyo!

Agreed about skipping flying in/out of LHR - those fees are insane! Thanks, all!

Last edited by shannon94188; Nov 9, 15 at 12:33 am Reason: figured out one way to search!
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Old Nov 9, 15, 12:44 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2014
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New AA J is your best bet if you can find it for Europe. You can also look at connecting in ORD, MIA, JFK, or BOS and fly Iberia J to MAD or BCN.

DFW-MAD is operated by an old 772 at the moment with the angled lie flats (you want to avoid), not a 788. Not sure if it's planned though.

Avoid LHR, but if you must, do it on AA metal, fees are much lower than BA (still high).

If you can spare a few more miles, I would definitely look into IAD (or JFK next yr)-AUH in J on EY's new 789/380 and check out Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I think that's 67.5k each way. The fees here are minimal (I paid $7 this summer). Or Asia on Cathay Pacific (50k I believe).

Also, for Cathay and JAL, definitely search on BA's site. For Iberia, use Qantas. Remember, you can call AA desk and request they open up domestic connecting awards if you find the international availability you need, at least that's worked for me.

edit: It looks like AA is picking up the 787 on the DFW-MAD route temporarily in Jan-Feb, presumably to get to refurbishing 772's.

Last edited by shgroamer; Nov 9, 15 at 12:54 am
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Old Nov 9, 15, 9:03 am
  #13  
 
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another international airline

Although the seats are better in AA Biz class lately, the service is lacking compared to other Intíl carriers. The food is average. I can deal with that. But on a 10 hour flight, the meal service seems rushed. The flight attendants then congregate in the galley and are seldom seen. The snack area is full of cheap junk foods to say the least.
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Old Nov 9, 15, 9:35 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by shannon94188 View Post
Definitely intrigued by the idea of flying Cathay or JAL to Tokyo!
It is my understanding that you are not allowed to connect to Tokyo (Asia 1) through Hong Kong (Asia 2). AA has some specific rules on awards that limit options in that regard.

(You would be able to connect to Hong Kong through Tokyo, however.)

Originally Posted by shannon94188 View Post
Agreed about skipping flying in/out of LHR - those fees are insane! Thanks, all!
Flying IN to LHR on AA (not BA) does not incur a fee (you'll pay the TSA fees for your flights, something like $10). The trick is you go straight to LHR, do not take an additional flight, do not pass Go or collect $200. An itinerary like SFO-JFK-LHR//MAD-MIA-SFO on AA would not incur UK taxes nor BA fuel surcharges that would apply for onward flights from LHR.
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Old Nov 9, 15, 9:50 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ft Worth, TX
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Originally Posted by shannon94188 View Post
Howdy! I've been an AAdvantage member for over 25 years and have never flown in business or first internationally. I'm thinking it's time for a splurge of miles, but I can't 'afford' to go in first. What's the "best" US-Europe business class experience that I can book using 100,000 AA miles? Or should I consider Japan? Or something else?

I'd like to start my trip in SJC or SFO, and ideally end up in Paris for a few nights (but Tokyo might be interesting - is it safe for a single woman who doesn't speak Japanese?). I think the DFW-MAD route has the new 787 planes, so that might be fun. Any ideas are welcomed! Hoping to travel in January or February 2016.

Thank you!
Find a way to get the extra miles for F. Do this for at least one way, it is worth the extra 12,500 miles. I would skip BA, the surcharge is insane. Go with CX or JAL and think about Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangkok. The first two are very english friendly and you can make it in Bangkok without speaking Thai. You will will get the best bang for your dollar in Bangkok, great hotels at great prices.
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