AWARD AVAILABILITY ALERT: FLY IN PREMIUM CABINS ON BRITISH AIRWAYS FROM THE WEST COAST TO EUROPE

If you want to fly from the West Coast to Europe in British Airways premium economy or business class this year, now is a good time to book your flights.

TPG Director of Travel Content Eric Rosen noticed this award availability when searching for flights. But, as with many British Airways-operated transatlantic flights, you may need to pay significant taxes and fees.

Deal basics

Airline: British Airways

Routes: From Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), San Diego International Airport (SAN) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to various European destinations

How to book: Through reward programs such as American Airlines AAdvantage, British Airways Executive Club, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and other Oneworld alliance partners

Travel dates: Availability from late June into winter

The cost of your award flight will depend on certain factors, such as the program you book through, your specific itinerary and your class of travel. I've included award pricing for booking through American Airlines AAdvantage, British Airways Executive Club and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan throughout this post, but you could book some of these award flights through other Oneworld alliance partners.

You can earn AAdvantage miles by transferring from Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt Rewards (keep in mind that transfers from Bilt to AAdvantage will end June 24). You can also earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles by transferring from Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt Rewards. It's much easier to earn British Airways Avios, as you have the ability to transfer between Avios programs and from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles, Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt Rewards.

Start by searching for award flights through the program you plan to use to book. Or, if you have more flexibility in your schedule, you may want to use Seats.aero to find a transatlantic award flight before booking through your program of choice.

Related: Your ultimate guide on how to search award availability for the major airlines

Sample award flights

If you want to travel from San Francisco to London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) on Nov. 23, you have several options for a nonstop British Airways flight. If you redeem American miles, you will pay 40,000 miles plus $482.30 in taxes and fees for premium economy or 57,500 miles plus $732.30 in taxes and fees for business class.

If you redeem Alaska miles to fly from San Francisco to London, you will pay 45,000 miles plus $491 in taxes and fees for premium economy or 70,000 miles plus $996 in taxes and fees for business class.

If you redeem British Airways Avios to fly from San Francisco to London, you will pay 57,500 Avios plus $196.30 in taxes and fees for premium economy or 90,000 Avios plus $406.30 in taxes and fees for business class. Just so you know, you can use different proportions of Avios and cash for award flights, so be sure to pick the combination that provides the best value.

We are seeing similar pricing and award availability for nonstop British Airways flights from other West Coast cities. For example, you could book a British Airways-operated flight from Los Angeles to London for 40,000 miles plus $482.30 in taxes and fees in premium economy or 57,500 miles plus $732.30 in taxes and fees in business class.

American AAdvantage uses dynamic award pricing for its flights on the above route. For this example, you'd redeem far more points but pay significantly less taxes and fees for your premium economy or business-class award if you booked the American Airlines-operated flight with AAdvantage.

If you redeem Alaska miles to fly from Los Angeles to London, you will pay 45,000 miles plus $491 in taxes and fees for premium economy or 70,000 miles plus $996 in taxes and fees for business class.

And if you redeem British Airways Avios to fly from Los Angeles to London, you'd pay 67,500 Avios plus $196.30 in taxes and fees for premium economy or 100,000 Avios plus $406.30 in taxes and fees for business class.

However, you don't necessarily need to visit London to book an award from the West Coast to London. You can add a flight from London to your award during booking, although doing so may reduce the award options you see. Here's an example through American AAdvantage from San Diego to Prague via London that would cost 57,500 miles plus $749.80 in business class.

If you wanted to book this same British Airways-operated business-class award through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, it would cost you 70,000 miles plus $1,013.

And if you wanted to book this business-class award from San Diego to Prague via London through British Airways, you could pay 116,250 Avios plus $451 in taxes and fees.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that you can significantly reduce the taxes and fees on some transatlantic award itineraries if you take an American Airlines-operated flight over the Atlantic and then connect to a short-haul British Airways-operated flight. Here's an example through American AAdvantage: You could fly from Los Angeles to Manchester, England, via London for 40,000 miles in premium economy or 57,500 miles in business class plus $17.30 in taxes and fees.

This deal alert is focused on British Airways-operated transatlantic flights, but I couldn't write this post and not mention how you could pay significantly less taxes and fees on some Oneworld award flights to Europe.

Related: The best ways to travel to Europe using points and miles

Paying the taxes and fees

Since the taxes and fees on many of the award flights discussed in this story are relatively high, you'll want to use a credit card that offers bonus rewards for purchases with airlines when booking your award flight. I usually use my Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. But here are some other cards to consider:

Related: Maximize your airfare: The best credit cards for booking flights

Bottom line

Taxes and fees are usually high when you fly British Airways in a premium cabin across the Atlantic. So, although there is good award availability for premium economy and business class on many British Airways routes between the U.S. West Coast and London this summer and fall, beware of the high taxes and fees many of these awards carry. It's also worth checking multiple programs — some of which you can access using transferable points — to get the best rate if you decide to jump on this award availability.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

2024-06-14T20:40:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd