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Using AA awards within Europe - AirBerlin

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I have award miles on American that I’d like to use for my husband and myself within Europe in Spring 2016. (We have a transatlantic cruise from Miami to Rome.) The first flight is Rome-Berlin and next is Berlin- Krakow. I am finding AirBerlin flights at 10K miles each.

I am a novice when it comes to redeeming miles, so despite hours of scouring websites, I still have the following questions, and am hoping someone can help…

1. Traveling on an award ticket, will I have to pay AirBerlin to check bags? If so, what is the charge? I have studied AB’s website and just cannot figure it out. We will each have one checked bag and will keep it under their 20 or 23 kg limit.

2. Our other stops will be Warsaw and Riga. I was thinking we’d train from Krakow-Warsaw and likely pay to fly from there to Riga, but am open to any better way to string together these 4 cities.

3. There is one option at the moment to use AA miles to get home one-way business class from Riga avoiding British Airways to avoid their fees. However it has 4 legs and some tight connections: Riga-Helsinki-JFK-Charlotte-Tampa. I can buy affordable seats via Celebrity for a 2-leg return home and I think we will just do that.

I really appreciate any tips -- thanks!

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