ARCHIVE: MileSAAver award reduction / scarcity 2011 - Dec 2014

 
Old Aug 8, 2011, 12:31 pm
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo
Guess I'm missing something here - Looking at July 2012 (as far out as 330 days) I can see seats from NYC to ATH and/or IST - both coach and business - using Iberia and/or Royal Jordanian, pretty much every day. (Use the Qantas availability engine.) Maybe you're just not seeing anything with easy/through connections from the west coast instead? But if you could get to the east coast, it looks fairly open.
I just signed up for a Qantas account so I could check availability. There are indeed flights from NYC to IST on Iberia or Royal Jordanian. But I guess those are for Qantas customers only? When I called AA, they said there is no availability for the exact same flights (or a week prior or after). I guess the two systems don't correspond to each other?
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 1:26 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by scotlass
Yesterday I booked 2 award seats on BA for 4 July 2012 using 50k miles for both. I had planned on using AA but, as everyone knows now, it won't happen at 60k miles needed for one way. Anyway, the BA taxes/fees are exorbitant! When I book the return in a couple of weeks, the total in fees will be over $1,000. So much for 'free' tickets! I hate paying that much, but I don't have enough miles otherwise. Very frustrating!
Not that it will make a difference in taxes, but just to clarify...one can only book on BA using AA miles until June 23rd at this point. Using BA miles one can book further out (350 days). So your July 4th trip must have been booked using BA miles, not AA miles.
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 1:45 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by mmjaysee
I just signed up for a Qantas account so I could check availability. There are indeed flights from NYC to IST on Iberia or Royal Jordanian. But I guess those are for Qantas customers only? When I called AA, they said there is no availability for the exact same flights (or a week prior or after). I guess the two systems don't correspond to each other?
I have yet to encounter a situation where flights shown as available on the QF site weren't available using AA miles, unless they were beyond AA's 331 day window (QF sometimes shows availability for 360 +/- days.) I suppose there could be a first time, but I'd phone back and see. Are you going through the EXP desk?
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 2:19 pm
  #49  
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Originally Posted by onetess
Not that it will make a difference in taxes, but just to clarify...one can only book on BA using AA miles until June 23rd at this point. Using BA miles one can book further out (350 days). So your July 4th trip must have been booked using BA miles, not AA miles.
Unless I am mistaken, AA allows bookings for date of travel up to 330 days in advance. 35 days (5 weeks) back from 8th August is 4th July
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 4:06 pm
  #50  
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What seems to me to be happening is that AA has been systematically and strategically withdrawing MileSAAver availability based on cabin, route and peak times and that this is indeed a new business model on AA's part to increase their revenue while avoiding the negative PR response they've received in the past when they raised award mileage requirements and instituted copays.

I'm basing this solely on my personal observations, what I've read here, what AA has emailed to me and what one CSR said to me on the phone. So in other words my opinion is completely unsubstantiated and unverifiable - but nonetheless a pattern seems evident to me and I've felt compelled to share it here. Flame away if you want.

First data point: I witnessed AA's dramatic shift with regards to ORD-FCO and JFK-FCO "U" availability last March. Just like what's been reported in this thread with regards to "T" availability to/from Europe post May 19, the pattern of what was loaded abruptly stopped and what availability HAD BEEN loaded was wiped out in one fell swoop. When I saw this for FCO I too hoped it was a computer glitch and emailed AA. That email and AA's response is seen in this single post from the MileSAAver thread:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/16054041-post629.html

To me the key sentence from AA's reply is this (bolding is mine):
"While no one likes to use more miles, the AAnytime award option may well be the better choice during peak times such as holidays or for special events or to the most popular destinations".

Then others reported similar abrupt stops to load-in patterns for specific routes and cabins that they tracked. This post (again from the MileSAAver thread) has Hyperacusis' observation on the DFW-LHR and ORD-LHR "C" and "U" availability with my commentary added:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/16081715-post674.html

There were other reports in that thread around March that highlighted similar instances for other select routes and cabins, IIRC.

And now we see all "T" availability zeroed out for the peak Spring Europe travel.

To me this all seems like a newly orchestrated strategy in keeping with AA's stance that I quoted above and I definitely think the recent introduction of the "Dynamic Awards" adds to the supposition that we're witnessing a major change to AA's overall game plan.

Last data point from just one phone conversation with a CSR - so therefore this following could be utterly meaningless - which regards AA's overall strategy of what they do and don't load in at 330 days as relayed in this single post:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/16139201-post736.html

I'd love to believe that this is Olympics based or some temporary IT glitch/experiment but I don't find many trends where corporations make their products more affordable as time goes by - I've only encountered the opposite. This does seem to me that AA has found a way to increase revenue, avoid a PR backlash all the while standing behind their existing marketing that they - unlike some of their competition - ALWAYS offer AAnytimes.

[To the mods: in the past I was lambasted for linking from the MileSAAver master thread into a current thread as I have done above. I do not feel like this is "crossposting" but rather I'm being more helpful then just directing people to read the whole massive master thread for themselves and I'm obviously saving myself from having to repeat what I've already written. But if the above has violated TOS then I apologize and I'll delete it all like I did before].
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 4:47 pm
  #51  
 
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This has all been very helpful. With this discussion (and looking on my own), I decided to lock in BRU-SFO in U and Z at 50K o/w per person in mid-May. I put this o/w on hold last week and it was set to expire in about 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, SFO-FCO was never available in May '12 at saver levels but from what I gather the 100K awards are always available, unless there's a sellout, right?

Last edited by johndunn2; Aug 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 4:52 pm
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by johndunn2
This has all been very helpful. With this discussion (and looking on my own), I decided to lock in BRU-SFO in U and Z at 50K o/w per person in mid-May. I put this o/w on hold last week and it was set to expire in about 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, SFO-FCO was never available in May '12 at saver levels but from what I gave the 100K awards are always available, unless there's a sellout, right?

Correct!
This is the beauty of anytime awards. Provided it is on AA metal.
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 5:03 pm
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by FOX85
Correct!
This is the beauty of anytime awards. Provided it is on AA metal.
AA metal indeed. Thanks!
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 6:25 pm
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Unless I am mistaken, AA allows bookings for date of travel up to 330 days in advance. 35 days (5 weeks) back from 8th August is 4th July
Yes, you are totally correct. I've been watching the first class tickets which are loading a couple of weeks behind, so I lost count!
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 6:37 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo
I have yet to encounter a situation where flights shown as available on the QF site weren't available using AA miles, unless they were beyond AA's 331 day window (QF sometimes shows availability for 360 +/- days.) I suppose there could be a first time, but I'd phone back and see. Are you going through the EXP desk?
Yes, EXP desk. The only availability they had were AAnytime awards. So if those were available, it is within the 331 day window. They said they are booking up through July 4th 2012 as of today. I even gave the exact city pairs/flights/carriers as what I saw on the Qantas website and she said there was no availability.
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 6:46 pm
  #56  
 
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This is consistent with what I found out the hard way a couple of months ago. In 2010 I was able to find availability for a trip to Madrid in Business Class in May, 2011, using 100K miles for my husband (from his account, and he has no status) and paying $3,300 for me. I tried a few European destinations in the same time frame for 2012 and there was nada for 100K miles and the paid fares had gone up to more like $4,500. We had the points and we had the bucks but the massive increases just rubbed us the wrong way. We're going to Alaska next year instead. I chalked it up to an improving economy, the cutbacks in number of flights, and the price of fuel. Looks now like it was something more.

Nice of AA to helpfully remind sk3 that he/she can get what used to be available for 100K miles by spnding twice that.

I have our plan for 2013 already. It will be a 10th-anniversary trip to Paris. Hello, Open Skies.
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 10:26 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by Athena53
I chalked it up to an improving economy, [...]
Not a lot to laugh at the last few days, but this did elicit a chuckle...
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 2:16 am
  #58  
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Improving economy or worsening economy, an airline (or hotel) "loyalty" program operator (and apologists thereof) use both situations as an excuse to justify a devaluation of points accumulated by customers.
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Old Aug 9, 2011, 10:38 am
  #59  
 
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This is very disappointing if true as we were planning on going to Europe in august 2012. Hopefully they will release the MileSaver seats
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Old Aug 10, 2011, 12:37 am
  #60  
 
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There is little doubt in my mind that AA has significantly tightened award availability. Unfortunately this is a strategic move that I think will end up costing them. Ironically, given the financial straits AA finds itself in currently, this is precisely the time when they should be showing they value their FFs, other than the insignificant gimmicks they have recently introduced. AA has years of historical data that lets them know with pinpoint accuracy how many seats they will sell, and thus how many seats they can allocate for rewards. To not release seats approx. 330 days out, makes it very difficult for those of us who are very loyal to AA who are planning a trip. We have the miles because we have been loyal and now they are not going to allow us to use them or we will have to use an a higher anytime award. They need to remember we Do have a choice in who we fly.
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