Spain on an Award Ticket

Spain on an Award Ticket

Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in Europe. It’s modern yet ancient, Spanish yet Catalonian, with architecture so unique and breathtaking that you’ll be in awe.

It’s tough to park in the city though, so don’t rent a car to tour. Try a bike, which can be booked for the day, the week, or by the hour. When you’ve seen the parks, explored the museums, and checked out the architecture, there are plenty of restaurants, nightclubs, and cabarets to help you enjoy the evening.

It’s very easy to fly to Barcelona on an award ticket with minimal fees. Delta, American, and United all have flights there from New York, but the best value is to use AAdvantage miles on American and its One World partners.

The Best Deal

Booking award ticket on AA.com
Booking award ticket on AA.com

If you visit between October 15 and May 15, it will only cost you 40,000 miles roundtrip, compared to 60,000 in peak season. The weather in early fall or late spring is usually pleasant, and even if it’s not the right time of year for sunbathing, the beaches are good for strolling.

BA is not the best use of miles because of the hefty fees. British Airways has great award availability to Barcelona, but it adds a fuel surcharge to all of its flights based on mileage. Those charges for travel between London and other destinations in Europe are relatively small though. This makes the carrier a good possibility for your connecting flights in Europe—like traveling from BA’s gateway in London to Barcelona. However, you’ll still be paying expensive London airport taxes.

If you are using AA.com to find award availability, be warned that British Airways flights are presented first. You’ll want to scroll down to find American Airline flights to and from Europe. If you see one, it means that there are AA flights to other European destinations available.

That’s a good deal, but you can do better if you avoid London altogether and pay even less fees and surcharges on your award ticket. Air Berlin is one option.

Lower the Cost Even More

La Rambla Street
La Rambla Street

But wait. We can chisel down the out-of-pocket costs even more if you are flexible. American Airlines has non-stop flights from many cities including New York. If you find a direct flight to Barcelona not only will you save yourself the time and trouble of making a connection, you’ll have an additional $30 or so for tapas and Catalonian wine on your tour of the La Rambla pedestrian mall.

It also helps to be diligent, as you may have to change your initial booking. If non-stop flights on the dates you plan to travel aren’t available at AA.com, go ahead and book the longer flight anyway. You should check the site regularly to see if a non-stop flight becomes available. If it does, call American and rebook. If you don’t change the airport of origin or final destination, there won’t be any charges to your reservation except for the $25 fee for using an agent.

You could also travel to Barcelona on Iberia using AAdvantage miles. In order to do so also requires a call to an AA agent because American doesn’t include those flights on AA.com. Iberia imposes fuel surcharges too, but they are minimal compared to British Airways.