Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Lots of American Airlines business class seats between London and the US bookable for Avios

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American Airlines now has a very good business class product on its London to New York route

It is a herringbone layout and looks like this:

…. on the new Boeing 777-300ER (77W in AA parlance) and:

….. on refurbished older Boeing 777-200 (772 in AA speak) aircraft.

Those of you of a certain age will know that the US airlines used to have laughable business class products.  American has now not only caught up but, in terms of Club World, overtaken.

The reason I’ve never reviewed the new seat is that American is incredibly stingy at opening up reward seats.  On Tuesday, however, it opened up huge chunks of space from New York and selected other destinations to London (and other European cities) for much of 2018.

This is good news because, as a British Airways partner, you can book these seats using Avios.

How to find American Airlines business class availability

The easiest way to search is at even though you will be booking via using Avios.

On the AA home page, open the ‘Advanced Search’ box.  Scroll down and ensure you’ve got ‘MilesAAver’ and ‘Business’ and ‘American Airlines’ selected under ‘Options’.  Make sure you have ‘Book Using Miles’ selected.

On the results page, select ‘Business / First MilesAAver’ and ‘Full Calendar’.

You want days showing 57,500 miles seats.  Click through and make sure that the flight offered is direct.  The 77W flights on new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are the ones to go for, if reputation is anything to go by, but a similar seat is on the 772 (Boeing 777-200) aircraft which also fly the route.

Go over to, plug in the same dates and the same flights will show.

For clarity …. you do NOT pay 57,500 miles.  That is the price if you have AA miles.  You will pay 60,000 Avios each way which is the peak day one-way cost of an Avios redemption to New York.  All American Airlines flights are charged at peak day pricing.  You cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

Other routes are also showing good availability

Reports on US frequent flyer sites suggest similarly good availability from Los Angeles, Charlotte and Raleigh to London.  Other AA hubs such as Miami, Philadelphia and Chicago are not so open.

I did NOT see much availability – although there is some – on American’s other routes to the UK:

Edinburgh to New York (Summer only)

Glasgow to Philadelphia (Summer only)

Manchester to Chicago

Manchester to Philadelphia

Let’s talk taxes

To be honest, if you have any oneworld miles except Avios then use those instead.  In almost all case you won’t pay any surcharges, because AA doesn’t actually add surcharges.  However, if you book with Avios, BA adds on a surcharge (which it pockets) in order to equalise the taxes between the BA and AA services across the Atlantic.

This is why a return flight on AA to New York comes with $300 of taxes compared with £500+ if you book exactly the same flight with Avios via BA.

If you only have Avios, of course, it is a moot point!

Hopefully the availability will still be there when you read this on Wednesday morning for anyone who wants to give the American Airlines business class product a try to the US.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (65)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Alan says:

    Slightly OT as its about Virgin Miles, but I only recently found out that if you use your VMs for Delta flights the charges are considerably lower. For example, LHR-JFK in economy is £136 return on Delta but £266 on VA. You do, however, require more points to use the Delta flights.

    VA’s site is a bit weird when looking to book miles flights though as there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason as to when they offer the Delta options to you. When we booked for February we were offered a lot of Delta options (which we booked) but we’ve had to cancel those now and we are looking at going in the summer but we are only getting offered VA flights (which has plenty of availability)

    Wish I could work out how to get the Delta flights when VA website doesn’t offer them as I’d rather use more miles and less money

  • Neil Donoghue says:

    While on the topic of VS – I have 160,000 VS points and the other half has 80,000. Can we somehow combine the points to book 2 x Return Ana flights to Tokyo in F? Thanks

    • KingP says:

      Not too sure, but I think pooling is only for VS Gold, shame because nearly everyone else let’s you do it from base.

      • ankomonkey says:

        ANA reward flights with VS miles can only be booked as returns, so it’s slightly more complicated than a VS redemption. I suspect it would need a friendly CS person who might be willing to be flexible.

      • Leo says:

        Yep ANA via Virgin is returns only. PIA.

  • Neil says:

    Cheers guys, just spoke to VS after 1.5 hours on the phone. Not only would they not let us combine points, but apparently there is no availability in first class between today and the 1st of December 2018!! Looks like my other half needs to up her game asap

  • Paxtonfan says:

    One of the biggest failings of BA compared to AA is the lack of ability to enter Known Traveller Numbers (Global Entry) on bookings. It is infuriating to have to go through full US security instead of being given TSA Pre-check. BA recently told me that they have no plans to update their systems. From my perspective it is a deal breaker and I only fly BA when I have a 2-4-1 to redeem. On a recent return flight booked in economy for cash we were offered an upgrade at check in to Y for $400 each. Im only 5’7” so thought the flat bed seat was way better than CW. For pure Avios bookings it’s AA for me hands down

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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