LAX to AMS with AA miles.

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Justin Johnson, Aug 15, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Justin Johnson
    Original Member

    Justin Johnson Silver Member

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    Looking to book a trip to Amsterdam in November. Normally I would just fly into Brussels and take the train. Now that AA killed JFK-BRU what are my options other then BA?
    Looking for 2 econ tickets if that helps.

    Thanks for the help
     
  2. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Non-stop LAX-DUS on Air Berlin (e.g. AB7431),
    then a quick train ride DUS-AMS.
     
  3. Justin Johnson
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    Justin Johnson Silver Member

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    Where can I look up award availability for AB and do they add any fuel surcharge?
     
  4. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    AB has some fuel surcharges, though not on the high end. I recall seeing a table on this BB, but not sure how to find it now. It would be easiest to get the exact quote directly from AAdvantage.
    As far as checking award availability, I like the Qantas search engine. Of course, AB own website should work as well, but may not show other OW alternatives.
     
  5. Justin Johnson
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    Justin Johnson Silver Member

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    I just looked on AB site and fuel surcharge is about $300. So it might be cheaper to fly into CDG and buy a ticket to AMS.
     
  6. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    You should get the surcharge quote directly from AAdvantage. Other posters here reported that surcharges on AA awards were substantially different. If you would also post your result here, it would naturally help the community. :)
     
  7. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I booked a oneworld explorer award that included multiple flights on AA, CX, AB, JL, and RJ for a total of almost 16 segments all in business class. Total fees and fuel charges for all those flights was less than $200. So your AB ticket won't come with a very hefty YQ unless they've added it very, very recently.

    Also, I'm not sure why we're not talking about simply flying directly into AMS when there are a few options to do so. Sure, the train is viable but if you can get all the way to AMS in the cost of your award ticket, why not?

    AA partners that fly into AMS also include IB (you'll pay small fuel surcharges, nothing too hefty), and AY. As long as there is a published fare allowing you to route through HEL or MAD on your over water carrier and there is space on the flights you want, you should be fine.
     
  8. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    When redeeming AA miles, AB doesn't have YQ. Fees and taxes like other awards yes, but currently only BA and IB have fuel surcharges when redeeming for awards with AA miles.
     
    MX likes this.
  9. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Thanks for the clarification, DD. When I mentioned "other posters" having shared experience with award travel on AB, I primarily meant you. ;)
     
  10. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Sadly I haven't yet taken those trips. So I can talk about the booking, just not the experience... haha.
     
  11. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Hope you post some feedback after the trip too... :)
     
  12. alph4dog

    alph4dog Active Member

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    Newbie here and very happy to see this question. I live in SoCal and want to take the lovely Mrs. Alph4dog to AMS next July 16th - yes, almost a year out.

    Right now have cobbled together LAX-SEA (AS) SEA-LHR (BA) LHR-AMS (BA) in business.

    Am I missing the obvious other used routes? I'm paying over $600 just for this leg and I do need to come home the following weekend (27th)

    Any guidance appreciated.
     
  13. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MP alph4dog!

    There are, obviously from the posts above, alternate routes for you to take. The ones above would apply to you as well.

    What is your key concern though? Having the best service between Cali and AMS? Lowering the amount of taxes and fees you're paying for the flights?
     
  14. alph4dog

    alph4dog Active Member

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    Thanks for the greeting!!
    I really want the best service - especially coming home which seems like more of a bottleneck. I'm not against saving a few bucks on taxes but my eyes start to glaze over when I read some of the above posts. You are all mad geniuses or just mad - to be determined I guess. I, however, am simple minded when it comes to this skill set it seems.

    Thanks DestinationDavid
     
  15. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Well what cabin of service are you looking to fly in? First, business, or economy? That might change the options for a good mix of low fees and good service.
     
  16. alph4dog

    alph4dog Active Member

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    Great question. There are a seemingly never end number of flights I can take in economy but I'd like to travel business which cuts down the options. Don't have the miles to swing first but can do business.
     
  17. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Well you do have several options, and AA award rules can be cumbersome. There's a lot to consider when looking at awards (MPM, published fares, YQ, etc...) but it's too much to throw at you for just one trip you're booking.

    To simplify things, let's go carrier by carrier out of LAX and give you some tips on what to consider for each one.

    Your options out of LAX into Europe using your AA miles for business class include:
    • AirBerlin (AB) to TXL or DUS (Business product isn't fantastic, features mostly old recliner style seating. AirBerlin doesn't fly to AMS so you'd most likely need to consider train connections to get to your final destination. Fees and taxes are relatively low)
    • Air Tahiti Nui (TN) to CDG (Business product isn't fantastic and also features old recliner style seating. With no partner to connect to in CDG, your best bet with this option might be to take a train to AMS. Fees and taxes are relatively low)
    • American Airlines (AA) to LHR (Business product is mid-tier, featuring angled lie flat seating. Depending on when your trip is planned for, you could get one of AA's new 777-300ER planes with the 180 degree lay flat seating in a new configuring where all seats have aisle access. That new plane would definitely be a step up from what AA currently offers. Food and service is hit and miss, you can get a great crew or a rather disinterested one. You can connect from LHR to AMS via plane or by taking a train. Taxes and fees are relatively low)
    • British Airways (BA) to LHR (Business product is probably considered by many the better option into Europe using AA miles from the US. Seats are 180 degree lie flat with respectable , not amazing, catering most of the time. Same options as the AA flight into LHR for getting to AMS. Taxes and fees are very high for this partner)
    • Iberia (IB) to Madrid (Business product is probably better than AA but slightly below BA. Seats are 180 degree lie flat. Option to connect in MAD to AMS with Iberia's regional business class product which is a standard coach seat with the middle seat blocked. Taxes and fees are higher than most but lower than BA)
    And keep in mind, those are only the options directly from LAX. AA's partners fly from various points across North America and you can typically use AA or Alaska (AS) to get to a gateway city like Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Vancouver, etc.... and head over to Europe.

    For example another option is to fly to HEL from JFK on Finnair (AY) or on AA from ORD if the seasonal flight is operating. You can connect on AY to AMS.

    You have a lot of options, it really just depends on:
    • How much you want to pay in fees and taxes? (if you want lower, avoid BA and IB)
    • Do you want to avoid multiple connections or trains? (skip AB, TN and AY for fewer connections and to avoid trains)
    • Do you want to enjoy a nicer seat and service (shoot for BA or IB, and possibly AA if your dates match up to when the 777-300ER is launched next year)
    And keep in mind the most important question to ask yourself when doing an award booking that might make all of the above moot:
    • Is there award space on the dates and flights I want?
    If there isn't, you might be stuck with something less than ideal. ;)

    Good luck!
     
  18. alph4dog

    alph4dog Active Member

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    DestinationDavid Can't thank you enough for the comprehensive primer. I'll do my homework. Much obliged.
     
  19. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Any time alph4dog, I hope you keep coming back to MP to talk about travel and learn more about frequent flier programs. If you have additional questions, comments, or concerns, drop a note in the thread and one of our very friendly and helpful AA regulars will be happy to help. Or drop me a private message if you feel like it.

    Again, good luck!
     

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