We just booked 4 tickets to London and back from Zurich in August using ANA miles on United metal (43k miles each in coach, rather than the 60k required by United, with no additional fuel surcharges).
I’m mentioning this because the availability to London (from New York) isn’t bad at all, but a couple of days ago while there were 5 flights available in coach on August 22nd, there were suddenly none. Then the next day there was 1 flight available. When I woke up this morning, there were 5 flights available again.
That’s a long way of reiterating my point that if you are stalking a trip, you have to check a couple of times a day. Availability changes constantly, and I was thrilled to see it come back after disappearing. Be patient.
That said, there is so little business class award inventory available to anywhere in Europe, I’m not sure I remember seeing anything like this summer. If you can get over the idea of flying coach to Europe (and let’s be honest – it’s about 6 hours 15 minutes flying time from NYC to London – pretty close to New York to San Francisco), I’m pretty sure you’ll survive. Using miles for coach seats is, for me (and many others who have written me, especially with families), the new normal. Coach availability to London is wiiiiiiide open on United, which means you’ve got a summer-full of options to fly to Europe for 38k-43k ANA points. That’s a steal when coach seats approach $1500.
Anyway – just thought I’d reiterate: keep checking for that award inventory. Don’t give up hope…