AA getting more restrictive on domestic mileage upgrades?

 
Old Mar 5, 07, 11:49 pm
  #16  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,916
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
BOS to ORD was never that bad. The only time I ever didn't clear was once the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. LGA I've heard is darn near impossible.
I always do upgrades LGA-ORD cause you can generally get a $400 fare in Y compared to $1,500 ish in F for a 1.5 hour flight. The only times I've ever missed over years and years were a couple returns where the weather in ORD was causing big delays and when I've switched flights at the last minute.
elitetraveler is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 12:29 am
  #17  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by elitetraveler View Post
I always do upgrades LGA-ORD cause you can generally get a $400 fare in Y compared to $1,500 ish in F for a 1.5 hour flight. The only times I've ever missed over years and years were a couple returns where the weather in ORD was causing big delays and when I've switched flights at the last minute.
Then I really feel good about the $470 fare I got that goes LAX-JFK/LGA-MSN-LAX, lol. And, in my case, LGA-ORD is upgraded using miles, as that upgrade also applies to ORD-LAX two days later .
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 12:40 am
  #18  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,916
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
Then I really feel good about the $470 fare I got that goes LAX-JFK/LGA-MSN-LAX, lol. And, in my case, LGA-ORD is upgraded using miles, as that upgrade also applies to ORD-LAX two days later .
actually i meant using my free exp upgrades -- i wouldn't use miles on a domestic itinerary - maybe evips if i had a surplus, or for j to f on a transcon
elitetraveler is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 1:01 am
  #19  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by elitetraveler View Post
actually i meant using my free exp upgrades -- i wouldn't use miles on a domestic itinerary - maybe evips if i had a surplus, or for j to f on a transcon
Well, I don't have the luxury you do, and a lot of things have to be going wrong with AA's revenue stream at the end of March for me to get J/F on all three segments using stickers (six of which I'd have to pay for) .
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 1:03 am
  #20  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,916
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
Well, I don't have the luxury you do, and a lot of things have to be going wrong with AA's revenue stream at the end of March for me to get J/F on all three segments using stickers (six of which I'd have to pay for) .
I'd be using miles too then
elitetraveler is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 6:38 am
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,360
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
I was looking for flights ORD-LAX and return for early March. While every flight for my dates said F7 P7, almost all of them were A0! I've never seen that over a month out on a midcon! Did something change with regards to their release of upgrade inventory? Did they change the code for a domestic F upgrade somewhere (I would guess absolutely not, but can't be sure)? Is this something that others have noticed as well?

What is even stranger, IMO, is the fact that plugging in LAX-JFK for my dates yielded plenty of C inventory. I've always assumed that the latter was much harder to score a mileage upgrade on a month or so out.
It simply all comes down to supply and demand. Look at the aiirline capacity factors. It doesn't take a very large increase in capacity factors to make a big difference in upgrade availability. It's a double whammy - the more people on the plane, the less available seats in all cabins. At the same time, more people on the plane means more people want to upgrade.

Planes are flying much fuller than I ever remember. That's going to make upgrades a challenge.
jragosta is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 9:22 am
  #22  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
It simply all comes down to supply and demand. Look at the aiirline capacity factors. It doesn't take a very large increase in capacity factors to make a big difference in upgrade availability. It's a double whammy - the more people on the plane, the less available seats in all cabins. At the same time, more people on the plane means more people want to upgrade.

Planes are flying much fuller than I ever remember. That's going to make upgrades a challenge.
On my return flight I was across the aisle from someone whose BP said he was GLD and on an X ticket, so I'm thinking that just beccause the cabin is full doesn't mean that it was that hard to get upgraded.
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 9:24 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: MSP (and will only fly NWA in re-routes if I HAVE to)
Programs: AA EXP (4.5MM), hotel programs as needed
Posts: 5,800
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
On my return flight I was across the aisle from someone whose BP said he was GLD and on an X ticket, so I'm thinking that just beccause the cabin is full doesn't mean that it was that hard to get upgraded.
Talk about good eyesight .. I can barely read the 'X' on my boarding pass when I am holding it. WOW snooping across the aisle must take special glasses.
JGR01 is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 11:29 am
  #24  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by JGR01 View Post
Talk about good eyesight .. I can barely read the 'X' on my boarding pass when I am holding it. WOW snooping across the aisle must take special glasses.
This was the last person to board pretty much, so I assumed it was either a late upgrade or late connection. I then took a glance over as this pax put their tix away and saw that they had to be GLD, since their other BP, obviously for an RJ, listed their seat as 1A and boarding group as Group 1. I then glanced at the top line of the BP and saw the X. All in a day's work. . .
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 9:41 pm
  #25  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,987
Originally Posted by Jakebeth View Post
Then, we began to see more and more YUP/KUP fares come through, ostensibly to do an even better job at maximizing revenue on the F inventory before releasing it to X. I'm not as conversant as others on this, but if I understand correctly, inotroduction of the domestic P bucket helped AA better differentiate inventory intended to be sold at more traditional F levels from those first-class seats sold as "UPs" at a lower price point.

All the while, AA has continued to make available the same seats as A inventory, most often in lockstep numbers with F inventory. In other words, until now, AA has essentially transmitted to the marketplace an equivalence between seats it was hoping to sell at regular F fare levels with those it was willing to 'sell' to its frequent fliers at a specified mileage/copay level. The fact that one would often see things like F4 A4 P2 or similar, on a very frequent basis seemed to substantiate this assessment.
I can't even begin to imagine what kind of havoc is caused within the AA revenue management department due to the booking of mileage upgrades into a revenue fare class, and not even the most discounted. Don't get me wrong, it's great for us fliers who like to use miles to upgrade, but it really doesn't make sense from a financial point of view.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 10:16 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest
Programs: AA, UA, DL, LUV, SPG, HHonors, Avis, Hertz
Posts: 3,032
Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
I can't even begin to imagine what kind of havoc is caused within the AA revenue management department due to the booking of mileage upgrades into a revenue fare class, and not even the most discounted. Don't get me wrong, it's great for us fliers who like to use miles to upgrade, but it really doesn't make sense from a financial point of view.
I'm not quibbling with your financial instincts ijgordon, but the fact is that those miles are liabilities on their books and they have to honor them one way or another. In essence, they've sold us those miles, or the seats, depending on how you choose to view it. They have an obligation to take them as currency in return.

As I noted earlier, requiring more miles or additional cash to secure an upgrade is a de facto devaluation of our miles. Analagous to a currency devaluation, one may argue it's bad policy, but for better or worse clearly within the rights of AA. In fact, their ability to devalue miles once they've been 'sold' or issued is in fact one of the best things about the economics of mileage programs from the airline's point of view.

To remove access to those upgrade seats entirely, though, is a different matter. That's more akin to cancelling the currency...and without replacing it. Saying it doesn't make sense to honor them is kind of like saying it doesn't make good financial sense for your bank to let take your money out once they've taken it from you.

I know those words are a bit of an exaggeration given that I'm not in any position to say that this is happening across the board. I just began noticing it this week on routes such as this. Moreover, I assume that many more people view the highest use of their miles as currency to secure award seats. So as long as AA continues to make those available (and in industry-leading good numbers according to yesterday's (?) Wall St Journal article) I would imagine they'll continue to keep most customers happy.

Again, I'm just concerned that the miles I've essentially been buying from them through Citi and Amex/Starwood (as well as my flying) are now going to be potentially useless to me for cases in which I could always rely on them in the past.
Jakebeth is offline  
Old Mar 6, 07, 10:38 pm
  #27  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,987
Jakebeth -- the point I was trying to make is that there are clearly competing interests at play in terms of $ revenue and mileage redemption. Usually airlines like to have tight control over each of these so they can best balance their P&L, cash flow, balance sheet and customer service. That's why upgrades on other airlines book into special fare classes generally reserved only for upgrades. By co-mingling mileage upgrades and fairly expensive revenue tickets, AA loses a lot of control in balancing these elements of the equation. That's the "havoc" I was talking about in my previous post.
Perhaps a brief example -- say a flight is F4 A0 P0 and departure is approaching. Yields on the flight aren't looking great, and they don't expect to sell many more full-F fare tickets, but they still want to try and make the flight profitable. Revenue management would possibly decide to open up A (and perhaps P) inventory, effectively lowering the first class price, in the hopes that supply-demand dynamics result in the sale of additional seats and the generation of additional revenue. By opening up A, however, they also put themselves at "risk" of losing that FC capacity to a mileage upgrader. Sure, they get a liability off their books, but on that particular flight they were really trying to get a higher level of cash flow. A bit of a quandry for AA.

When they re-jiggered the booking classes a few years ago (remember when P used to be 3-class transcon?), and YUP/KUP fares became much more prevalent, some of us thought that at a minimum AA was going to change the mileage upgrade bucket from "A" to "P" inventory, which would give them incrementally more control over revenue management, since they could release discounted F seats into A inventory without the risk they'd be taken by upgraders.

Fortunately for us, that hasn't happened. Again, I'm thrilled that upgrades still book into A, it makes it pretty easy to upgrade with miles on AA relative to the competition. But it can't be good for AA's bottom line.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Mar 7, 07, 12:25 am
  #28  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Perhaps a brief example -- say a flight is F4 A0 P0 and departure is approaching. Yields on the flight aren't looking great, and they don't expect to sell many more full-F fare tickets, but they still want to try and make the flight profitable. Revenue management would possibly decide to open up A (and perhaps P) inventory, effectively lowering the first class price, in the hopes that supply-demand dynamics result in the sale of additional seats and the generation of additional revenue. By opening up A, however, they also put themselves at "risk" of losing that FC capacity to a mileage upgrader. Sure, they get a liability off their books, but on that particular flight they were really trying to get a higher level of cash flow. A bit of a quandry for AA.
Another thought, to make this example even more complex, are the loads in Y. If Y is sold out, or oversold, and they think there is a greater chance of selling a Y or B ticket than anything in F (price differential between Y and P aside), why not open up A in the hopes that someone in Y will upgrade, thus freeing up another Y fare to be sold. Just a thought.
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 7, 07, 12:37 am
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest
Programs: AA, UA, DL, LUV, SPG, HHonors, Avis, Hertz
Posts: 3,032
Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Fortunately for us, that hasn't happened. Again, I'm thrilled that upgrades still book into A, it makes it pretty easy to upgrade with miles on AA relative to the competition. But it can't be good for AA's bottom line.
Absotively. If I begin to see F4 A0 P2 more and more often, though, I'm going to be pretty upset.
Jakebeth is offline  
Old Mar 7, 07, 9:01 am
  #30  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,360
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
On my return flight I was across the aisle from someone whose BP said he was GLD and on an X ticket, so I'm thinking that just beccause the cabin is full doesn't mean that it was that hard to get upgraded.
This might be relevant if there were no difference between anectdotal comments and averages.
jragosta is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: