Use Avios on the new AA Birmingham and Edinburgh to New York routes

In a major boost for anyone looking to use Avios points for long-haul flights from regional airports, American Airlines has announced new routes from Birmingham International and Edinburgh to New York.

Flights will launch on May 8th next year and will operate daily.

American Airlines

From Birmingham, the outbound will leave Birmingham at 10am to arrive in New York at a convenient 12.55 whilst the return will be an overnight flight at 7pm, landing at 7.10am.

From Edinburgh, you will depart at 9.15am to arrive at 11.50am.  The return will depart at 7.10pm to arrive at 7.15am.

The bad news is that both flights will be operated with an older single-aisle Boeing 757.  This will have 22 business class and 160 economy class seats.

These are unlikely to be fully lie-flat seats in business, albeit for a day flight that will not be a major issue.  I am assuming it is the ‘angled’ lie flat version. I think if I lived near Birmingham or Edinburgh I would be happy to fly this 757 outbound rather than waste hours connecting at Heathrow purely to get a fully flat seat on a twin-aisle plane.  Coming back overnight is a different matter although the convenience may still outweigh the poorer product.

I ran the numbers on Birmingham.  There are plenty of economy seats at 40,000 Avios return plus £335 of tax and spurious charges.  If you have any American Airlines miles, the cost would be 60,000 AA miles plus £98.

Business class redemptions seem to be restricted to Saturdays for much of the time – the easiest way to see what is available is to search at aa.com (you don’t need to log in) and then plug the dates into ba.com.  American wants 100,000 AA miles and £169 whilst British Airways wants 80,000 Avios and £512.

It is not clear if the Edinburgh service will be a replacement for the existing US Airways flight (US has now merged with American) from Philadelphia to Edinburgh which usually runs during the Summer.

If you have Star Alliance miles, remember that United also flies from Edinburgh and Birmingham to Newark.

In other route news, American is adding a service from Frankfurt to Miami from May 14th.  This will offer another redemption option for anyone struggling to find seats on the existing BA and AA services.  American is also adding a second Los Angeles to Heathrow service from late March, taking the combined total of BA and AA services to LA to four per day.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Between oct 15th and may 15th of each year, it will only be 40k rt AA miles instead of 60k in economy. Also, the same 20k each way will take you all the way to Hawaii.

    • A shame the stopover option in NYC or wherever has now been stopped :(

    • 40k points to Hawaii?? Wow.
      Raffles- is there a post on how to transfer into an AA points account? Can it be done from Amex membership rewards?

      • No. That is why I don’t discuss AA much. The only easy ways to earn miles in the UK is a) flying of course (BA or any oneworld), b) the AA credit card, c) Starwood Amex transfers. They are not an Amex MR partner – you could go via SPG, of course, but you lose a lot of value that way (2 Amex = 1 SPG = 1-1.25 AA).

  2. United are starting a new route from Newcastle to Newark next year as well between May 23 and September 7.

    There was talk the Bristol – New York flights were going to start again also, I filled in a survey about it. The route was dropped because there weren’t enough business class passengers flying on it from what I read.

  3. If the fare is massively reduced then these routes might be worthwhile in business class. In economy it’s probably fine.
    AA operate these ageing aircraft on the zhNL run from LAX and I can assure you that the experience is ghastly. They are just about acceptable on a day time flight but overnight will be painful and unpleasant. So either the fare needs reducing or some other incentive required. The option of heading to LHR for their 777-300 and direct aisle access business class is a far better option, indeed even cramped world would be a better option than a 30 year old 757.

  4. Eshaq Choudhury says:

    Its a start but Birmingham needs more Oneworld airlines. I’m thinking airlines that fly eastwards e.g. Qatar, Malaysian, Cathay would be ideal. Even BA offering a connecting flight would be great.

  5. The EDI flights are apparently in replacement of Philadelphia which was always a strange one considering they operate it from GLA and have done for a long time.

    Incidentally EDI/JFK still hasn’t been announced by AA officially yet but it is bookable.

  6. Also add that United also fly to Newark from BHX.

  7. It’s the same seats that until recently serviced LHR on the 772 (and still service a multitude of European destinations together with the 763 product). Not cutting edge or full flat but hardly unbearable for the time savings.

  8. “This will have 22 business class and 160 economy class seats.”

    I don’t think this information is correct. AA’s international config 757’s have 16 seats, and the seat maps for these new flights show 16 seats also.

    • I agree. I looked at the seatmaps before I wrote the article and saw 16 seats. The press coverage for the launch was adamant it was 22 though so I copied that!

  9. I used to fly the GLA to Newark route on the old Continental route. While the 757’s are not the nicest plane to fly in the convenience factor of flying from a local airport cannot be beat. Plus the option of connecting to other cities once you arrive (I used to fly to Austin).

    Another thing to point out is the route is around an hour shorter than flying from London. Especially the return leg as you hit the jet stream.

  10. Lady London says:

    Trains from London Euston to Birmingham Airport scheduled journey is 1 hour 18mins. That’s less time than it takes me to get to Stansted or City. I live close-ish to Heathrow and even I’m tempted by these flights.

    For me these timings are particularly appealing as they will give me a decent choice of US domestic connections. Arriving at 6pm or so or later, on a lot of routes out of New York there’s maybe 0 or 1 flight only left in the day connecting onwards. This will make many routes feasible for me.

  11. Living 15 miles from BHX, and having just flown back from MIA on a 14 year old 777-223, i think i would have a hard time selling this flight to the rest of the family in terms of ease of travel too\from the airport.

    We travel frequently to the US (always in economy) and the level of service and IFE on American were years (probably about 14) behind what is offered on BA out of LHR. If it comes to choice out of BHX the United offering into Newark has great IFE, and on new planes – this would be my choice.

    SF

  12. AA supposedly going to change longhaul 757s with a321s but that will not be anytime soon. Would be better if they and United picked up a330neo instead. Never like flying anymore than 4 hours in narrowbody.

    IIRC United also introduced EDI to ORD this summer

  13. Raffles, did you receive East Coast’s email about their point devaluation? It’s not massive but still I will redeem my points for 4 x first class tickets before it happens in January!

  14. Just to highlight that the United option from EDI has fully flat BusinessFirst beds – redemption availability is hard to find though in my experience (plus I hate having to pay APD and tend to be more tempted by an ex-EU outbound :D)

    • Smith review on transfer of taxation to Scotland is being lobbied to include APD with a view to abolishing it alltogether. Apparently it raises only £200M in Scotland, about 1/15 of UK total so hopefully it will come to pass. Hopefully too it would have positive effect in getting this adsurd tax abolished or at least reduced UK-wide. In worst case scenario it would offer more iptions for positioning flights and would benefit those in northen England who could get to GLA and EDI as easily as LHR. Would hurt Newcastle and Manchester though so that is where pressure would come from for reform in England too. LHR focussed travel and expansion has been a thorn for many years. I don’t understand why governments have never used APD as a tool to develop regional airports at expense of London.

      • Interesting – would definitely be nice to see this 😀 Impressed with all the expansion going on at EDI.

        • Was never keen on the presecurity areas at EDI. Reminded me of old LHR T2, low ceilings, dark and dismal. Personally I would have preferred to see a new Scotland airport someplacd near Falkirk with high speed rail connections from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

          • The new area is pretty open and bright – they’re testing it on and off at times just now.

            Agree a centrally placed one with excellent transport links would have had the biggest draw for carriers too, unfortunately seems unlikely now. I always wish they’d add a train stop for trains from the North/East of Scotland at the end of the runway – would have been much cheaper than the tram 😉

          • Yes, the transport is a pain. After i move from west to Edinburgh they finally introduce bus from Glasgow to Edinburgh airport. Trams seem totally pointless to me, they take longer than bus.

  15. Great news, live in Birmingham but always favour LHR as we prefer to land in JFK over EWR due to staying in Brooklyn. This gives us more options, not fussed about the 757 for an East Coast hop either.