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AA Holiday milesAAver Award Travel Inventory - limits, releases

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AA Holiday milesAAver Award Travel Inventory - limits, releases

 
Old Jan 4, 12, 11:10 pm
  #1  
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AA Holiday milesAAver Award Travel Inventory - limits, releases

This was a contentious issue last year in the "Award Availability" thread, so I'm a bit hesitant to get AA's defenders all riled up again. But this is an important issue that deserves serious discussion and <redacted> its very own thread.

Basically, what's going on is that AA is severely -- but quietly -- limiting the availability of domestic coach saver awards for the Thanksgiving and Christmas hoidays. This first appeared last year when, suddenly, almost all of the domestic coach award seats around the Thanksgiving holiday simply vanished shortly after being loaded. And AA never loaded any domestic saver seats for most days around Christmas on almost all the domestic routes.

The month of November 2012 is now loaded in the schedule and you can see the exact same pattern. It's easy to spot if you pull up a "boring" high-frequency, short-haul market like AUS-DFW or STL-ORD that normally has award availability on almost any day. Thanksgiving this year is November 22 and, it appears to me, that there are no coach saver seats being offered from November 14 through November 26 -- meaning you aren't going to be getting to grandma's house for turkey on a saver ticket.

I currently don't plan to be redeeming miles on AA for next Thanksgiving, so I don't plan to do exhaustive research looking for loopholes to this embargo (I certainly encourage others to do so). If it's like last year, there may be some. For instance, first class saver travel was not embargoed. Nor was an itinerary that included int'l travel. So there are likely to be some clever workarounds. It is also possible that AA will ultimately relax the embargo, and offer awards seats on some of the less busy Thanksgiving travel dates.

That said, I don't think it should be a secret that AA is basically imposing Holiday blackout periods and hoping nobody notices. I've noticed, and it definitely diminishes the value of the AAdvantage program in my mind.

Last edited by JDiver; Jan 5, 12 at 11:42 am Reason: redacted dilatory statement
iahphx is offline  
Old Jan 4, 12, 11:48 pm
  #2  
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Why would any airline make cheap seats available during their busiest periods?

Right after a hurricane, you will not find any sales on generators.

Therefore, why make milesaver awards available during busiest travel days?

MY VOTE- this does not get its own thread. same old-same old.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 11:54 pm
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I'm curious why you'd expect things to be any different. Just as airfares are generally higher for holiday periods, so are fares purchased with miles.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 11:55 pm
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Originally Posted by alhcfp View Post
Why would any airline make cheap seats available during their busiest periods?

Right after a hurricane, you will not find any sales on generators.

Therefore, why make milesaver awards available during busiest travel days?

MY VOTE- this does not get its own thread. same old-same old.
Um, because they do. I suspect most of us have flown for free during busy travel periods by deploying smart redemption strategies. Isn't that what Flyertalk is all about?

This is NOT a thread about whether there are or are not award seats available in a certain market on a certain date. That's what the "Award Availability" thread should be about. This is about a SPECIFIC policy that overrides the regular availability of award seats for a certain travel period (Thanksgiving and X-mas). And it requires certain very specific strategies to "beat it."

I would submit that if discussion of this policy doesn't deserve its own thread, we should just shut down the AA board and not bother to enhance our community's knowledge of the AAdvantage program. I don't understand why ignorance is bliss.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
I'm curious why you'd expect things to be any different. Just as airfares are generally higher for holiday periods, so are fares purchased with miles.
Because until 2011, things WERE different.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 11:58 pm
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Originally Posted by alhcfp View Post
MY VOTE- this does not get its own thread. same old-same old.
Exactly. Same ole alarmist shenanigans that aren't supported by the facts.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:06 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
This first appeared last year when, suddenly, almost all of the domestic coach award seats around the Thanksgiving holiday simply vanished shortly after being loaded.
It vanished, or it was quickly taken by those seeking award seats during that period?

Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Thanksgiving this year is November 22 and, it appears to me, that there are no coach saver seats being offered from November 14 through November 26 -- meaning you aren't going to be getting to grandma's house for turkey on a saver ticket.
Now I am confused. Are you saying the seats vanish shortly after being loaded or that they are not ever available?
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:16 am
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Originally Posted by oklAAhoma View Post
It vanished, or it was quickly taken by those seeking award seats during that period?

Now I am confused. Are you saying the seats vanish shortly after being loaded or that they are not ever available?
Last year, when AA decided to implement the Holiday embargo, they zeroed out all of the domestic saver award seats that had been recently routinely loaded. So, for Thanksgiving 2011, there was a very brief period that you could have booked the seats.

By the time Xmas 2011 rolled onto the calendar, AA had already formulated its embargo strategy and never loaded any domestic saver seats for the vast majority of dates around Christmas. A handful (or less) of exceptions were ultimately made, like flights out of ski resorts before Xmas.

As AA appears to have now "instititionalized" this policy, they are now apparently excluding domestic saver award seats for next Thanksgiving as these dates have rolled onto the calendar. If any exceptions are made, I am certain they will (usefully, I would submit) be posted here by AA supporters who seem intent on "disproving" the embargo.

Makes sense?
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:20 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Makes sense?
Thank you for clarifying.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:28 am
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The facts pointed out in that other thread proved there was never an "embargo." Just like there is not an "embargo" for next November.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:42 am
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To give everyone a flavor for how squirrelly the embargo makes Holiday travel, take a look at coach award seats on Nov. 17 from LON to LAX. No problem getting a saver award seat for 20K (it's even off-peak!) connecting at ORD.

But if you just want to fly the ORD-LAX segment, that will be 25K because of the domestic saver embargo.

Nothing to see here, right? Just ol' iahphx stirring the pot.

An even stranger result will appear if you find saver award seats during the embargo from Europe to Hawaii.

BTW, I think I already found the first "exception" to the embargo. At least some domestic markets also permit saver travel on Thanksgiving day itself (not surprising, as AA allowed domestic saver travel last Christmas day).
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Old Jan 5, 12, 12:54 am
  #12  
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Is this a joke?

AA can release seats to award inventory buckets whenever it wants to do that. Are they systematically limiting award saver seats on flights during their two busiest weeks of the year? Possibly eliminating them completely? I would sure hope so.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 2:25 am
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I'm laughing at the thought of the conversation the Ch 11 judge would have with AA execs if he found out AA was handing out lowest redemption awards in a time period where airlines are likely to be busiest. Why would anyone expect an airline to dole out "cheap" award seats in a period when they're most likely to fill those seats with paying PAX?
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Old Jan 5, 12, 4:06 am
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Originally Posted by MauiTigerShark View Post
I'm laughing at the thought of the conversation the Ch 11 judge would have with AA execs if he found out AA was handing out lowest redemption awards in a time period where airlines are likely to be busiest. Why would anyone expect an airline to dole out "cheap" award seats in a period when they're most likely to fill those seats with paying PAX?
Because in the past, they were available.

My question for the OP is what do you plan to do with your "discovery"? You've already noted that you do not intend to burn miles during the "embargo". Seems a bit odd that you feel the need to bring up a rather contentious subject that was previously discussed at length.

While I agree that award availability during certain key periods seems to have tightened up, I do not disagree with the policy. It's not good for us, but if reduced seasonal award availability contributes to an eventual return to profitability, so be it.
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Old Jan 5, 12, 9:21 am
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This kind of thing doesn't lend itself to anything in particular that AA is doing wrong, but it is unethical. For a company to advertise no blackouts or embargoes for a loyalty program, and then turn around and systematically zero out availability for a period is an issue. Keep in mind availability FLUCTUATES yes, we understand this, but if availability is never loaded or intentionally withheld from the beginning, what then do you call it? (Hint: begins with E, ends in mbargo)
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