Chances of redeem AAdvantage points for a group travelling to Europe in 2016?

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There will be 6 of us (3 couples) travelling to Italy, France and UK in September 2016. I wanted to know whether there’s any realistic possibility of getting 6 redemptions on the same flight segments for this up and coming trip we have planned using AAdvantage miles?

  • I assume you’d be looking for Business Class?

  • Keith: Business or First. I think reading all your previous stories on miles redemption premium economy was not worth the points conversion. The idea is to purchase miles points during one of there promos.

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I’m travelling in April 2016 to Europe, able to snag Bus/First via AA redemption for most of the way there and back for a party of 4.

Getting There:
Try Awards seats on say Cathy Pacific from Hong Kong to Paris / Rome. Check for award availability via British Airways / Jal. I was able to get 4 bus seats pretty easily this way. HK – CDG

I saw some flights with six available on Cathy. Cathy seem to release a lot of seats to the award bucket a few days out, so the other alternative is if you cannot get 6 in bus, try and get say 3 or 4 and the rest in economy. Play the waiting game and upgrade the award if availability comes up a few days out.

Other option is to fly from Tokyo – you may find the awards you seek from there. Of course getting to HK or Tokyo is a different matter – almost no Bus awards, you may have to settle on economy on QF, CX or Jal.
Getting Back:

The easiest way to get six together is to search via DOH to and from your destination in Europe and to Perth or Melbourne in Australia. This will bring up QATAR bus award seats. Use QF or BA for the search. Qatar seem to have lots of awards available.

Cathay Pacific again have availability from say Rome to Hong Kong – like before, if you are a little flex. you might get 4 bus 2 economy and hope availability opens up closer to the event.

Other option is to jump onto Etihad AUH-SYD / MEL / BNE. You might have to break your party up but you should be able to get 2 business seats on each flight 331 days out.  Again Ethiad opens up space a couple of days out, you might be able to shift and get onto the same flight.

I was able to get 2 BUS 2 First on the same flight – once again a couple of days out more award seats are opened up.

There are two Sydney flights daily from AUH. I’d jump on whatever I could get on either or both of these flights. If availability opens up – simple ring AA and they will shift your flight to the other aircraft if you want to get the whole party of six aboard. As long as your are flying on the same day this costs nothing to do. Simply search the Etihad site look for ‘book with miles’ and it will show availability.

Again you have to get to Dubai from your base in Europe – but that should be pretty easy. Again if you go via DOH on Qatar from Europe, AA will see it as one award. If you fly via AUH they will see the Europe / AUH leg and the AUH-Syd leg as two awards.

Of course you could simply search AA for QF awards from say London. You can probably get two First two Business if  your lucky, but you are very unlikely to get 6.

  • This answer was may more encouraging and in-depth than mine. Thanks!

  • Thanks @oldknees for that helpful post. And along with reading Nelson Yap’s booking experience post this morning I’m a lot more optimistic. Knowing that getting a group of 4 in business is even possible is very encouraging.

    Still I have to say I’m not looking forward to the whole research part with all these airline and airport codes. It’s all new to me. I might take up @Keith’s suggestion of using a professional to help with the booking.

    Does anyone know when I can start the booking process? I recall something like seats not being released until 300 odd days out or can I start now. We’re planning on leaving Melbourne early September 2016.

  • At the earliest, some airlines release award seats until 355 or or 353 days out. Qantas being one. Not sure on Emirates, but being early gives you an advantage for sure. I would get a pro involved to save yourself the time and hassle in both getting educated about it and then doing the search yourself, you’ll have someone in your corner then and should be able to find something. Good luck!

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You’re right in that targeting Premium Economy, Business or First redemptions is the way to go in terms of more value for your points/miles. You can’t of course redeem AAdvantage miles for Premium Economy but still, as a general principle it’s useful.

Getting 6 seats will be very difficult, and probably impossible. More likely you will have to split the trip to fly on the same dates, and/or travel over several days.

Either way, I’d look to employ a professional to do the search. I’ve had good success with Points Pros – http://www.pointspros.com.

Sorry for the delayed reply!

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