Getting an award ticket using your frequent flyer miles to Europe can be difficult, especially during the main travel season of summer and fall. If you’re looking to use American Airlines miles, you might find it even more difficult, as the major OneWorld partner that flies from North America to the Europe is British Airways.

While their availability is great, redeeming your miles to fly with British Airways is usually an awful idea because of the hefty fuel surcharges they tack on to their award tickets to Europe.

The fuel surcharge on an BA award economy ticket can run anywhere from $400-600.  Since you can usually buy a ticket to Europe for only a couple hundred dollars more, redeeming your hard earned miles makes no sense at all.

Ok, so what to do?  Savvy travelers will look for OneWorld flights on Iberia (minimal surcharges of $10-40), but those get gobbled up pretty quickly, as do the few AA flights that go to Europe.  Luckily, now there is another option.

Air Berlin just joined OneWorld on March 20th, meaning all their award space is now open to anyone sitting on a chunk of AA miles.  While this is a great thing for future, it also presents an amazing “second chance” opportunity for anyone who has been stymied in trying to find a free ticket to Europe for THIS summer or fall and thought all hope was lost.

Right now, there is very little economy award availability left to Europe for August, September, and October on Iberia and what is left is going FAST!

As a case in point, two weeks ago I was looking to book a ticket for one of my clients from JFK to Venice on Iberia around September 28th and it was showing availability.  After he got his points in order, we checked back today.  GONE!

However, Air Berlin still has a decent amount of space left since their award seats just opened up to OneWorld customers less than a month ago.  Many people are still in the dark about the option of using Air Berlin;  lucky for you, you’re eyes have been opened!

So if you’re planning to travel to Europe in the summer or fall, don’t hesitate!  Grab the Air Berlin seats while they are still around!

To search for Air Berlin tickets, I suggest using Qantas’s site.  Qantas’s site will show availability for all OneWorld partners, including Air Berlin (which I’ve confirmed myself).  Be careful of searching with other tools.  I know for a fact that Award Travelr has not updated their site to include Air Berlin flights and I’m not sure of Award Nexus or British Airways.

If you need help understanding how to use Qantas’s site to search for OneWorld availability, check out my video tutorial.

Air Berlin operates flights from San Francisco, Vancouver, JFK, Miami, Los Angeles, and Fort Myers to Dusseldorf.  They also offer flights from JFK, Miami, and Los Angeles to both Berlin airports (BER and TXL).

From Dusseldorf or either Berlin airport you can get flights all over Europe on Air Berlin, so as long as you can fly out of one of those North American cities, you can get to almost anywhere in Europe.  If you want to check out everywhere that you can go from Dusseldorf or Berlin on Air Berlin, check out the OneWorld Interactive Map.

Anyone else taking advantage of Air Berlin’s award space to get a cheap ticket to Europe for the late summer or early fall?