AA getting more restrictive on domestic mileage upgrades?

 
Old Jan 29, 07, 1:05 pm
  #1  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
AA getting more restrictive on domestic mileage upgrades?

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.
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Jan 29, 07, 1:10 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NYC/BOS/MSY/AUH
Programs: AA EXP, 5MM; BA GLD
Posts: 15,618
You have to think about not only in terms of upgrades, but also in terms of what their strategy is for revenue tickets.

I suspect AA's strategy is that you can purchase a full fare (and thus fully changeable) F ticket or a dicounted and highly restricted F ticket. In addition to not opening up inventory for mileage and VIP upgrades, they don't want to sell discounted but unrestricted F seats at this time.
Blumie is offline  
Old Jan 29, 07, 1:21 pm
  #3  
 
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
Since we have no details beyond MARCH ORD-LAX-ORD it really is hard to make such a broad sweeping statement.

For example:

ORD-LAX
3/7 GOOD A availability
3/8 Poor tho some
3/9 Poor tho some
3/10 Poor tho some
3/11 Fair
3/12 Good
3/13 Good
3/14 Poor tho some
(good means LOTS of A7s, Fair means A2-A4 on most flights, Poor means some A0 but at several flights WITH some A inventory)

LAX-ORD
3/17-21 ALL flights are A7
3/22-23 Fair

On no day in my looking (since no date provided) did I find NO A inventory. In fact the returns are pretty WIDE open. I think the issue must be with the specific dates of travel of the OP.. and not some major procedure change.
JGR01 is offline  
Old Jan 29, 07, 1:21 pm
  #4  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
You have to think about not only in terms of upgrades, but also in terms of what their strategy is for revenue tickets.

I suspect AA's strategy is that you can purchase a full fare (and thus fully changeable) F ticket or a dicounted and highly restricted F ticket. In addition to not opening up inventory for mileage and VIP upgrades, they don't want to sell discounted but unrestricted F seats at this time.
That makes a lot of sense, except for one thing: the use of "A" inventory for both types of fares. If what they care about is not selling discounted yet flexible F seats, why not use a different letter for the upgrade code like they do for J seats. They have J, D, I, C, and R for busienss class, whereas they only have F, A, P, and X for first class. If they replaced one type of A class with another letter (though I'm not sure if any letters aren't taken, lol) then problem solved.
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Jan 29, 07, 2:25 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NYC/BOS/MSY/AUH
Programs: AA EXP, 5MM; BA GLD
Posts: 15,618
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
That makes a lot of sense, except for one thing: the use of "A" inventory for both types of fares. If what they care about is not selling discounted yet flexible F seats, why not use a different letter for the upgrade code like they do for J seats. They have J, D, I, C, and R for busienss class, whereas they only have F, A, P, and X for first class. If they replaced one type of A class with another letter (though I'm not sure if any letters aren't taken, lol) then problem solved.
Whatchya gonna do? It is what it is.
Blumie is offline  
Old Jan 29, 07, 2:28 pm
  #6  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
Whatchya gonna do? It is what it is.
Well, world peace and solving the energy crisis are a bit beyond me, so maybe this is a good lesser calling in life. . .
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 6:58 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest
Programs: AA, UA, DL, LUV, SPG, HHonors, Avis, Hertz
Posts: 3,032
Perhaps this is less of an issue for those of you who either rely more heavily on your EXP status to get your sticker upgrades, or use all of your miles for award tickets.

I squirrel away every mile to aid in making sure I get to sit on F when I'm on EXP heavy routes like LGA, BOS, etc. So far, I've been pretty 'lucky' in being able to get the A inventory I need. As I sit here now and look at tomorrow's LGA-ORD flights, though, I'm struck by just how many Fs are available, while there are very few, in some cases zero, A slots open.

I definitely support AA's efforts to make money; I'm just glad we still have an F service. If they continue to go in this direction, though, it's a de facto further devaluation of our miles, to say nothing of the short-term copay that you have to pony up if you do a mileage upgrade close to flight time. It's a bit upsetting given that ostensibly one should be able to use miles for such things. I'd frankly rather they raise it to 35 or 40k round trip to upgrade, or gulp, even raise the copay, than zero out the A seats...
Jakebeth is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 7:11 pm
  #8  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,188
I guess this means that you won't be changing your handle to Fly A all the Way.
drtdk is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 8:30 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: USA & UK -- AA EXP 3.5MM, Hyatt Diamond, SPG Plat, Avis President's Club
Posts: 6,411
Originally Posted by Jakebeth View Post
I'd frankly rather they raise it to 35 or 40k round trip to upgrade, or gulp, even raise the copay, than zero out the A seats...
You seem to be in favor of selling upgrades to the highest bidder.
CloudCoder is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 8:36 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: STL
Programs: AA 2MM, AS MVP Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 12,966
Originally Posted by Jakebeth View Post
As I sit here now and look at tomorrow's LGA-ORD flights, though, I'm struck by just how many Fs are available, while there are very few, in some cases zero, A slots open.
If there is at least one, you should be good. I know that in coach, some passengers of size buy more than one seat, but that's because the armrest goes up. In F, if you need more than one seat, you have more problems than I can address.
gemac is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 9:22 pm
  #11  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by Jakebeth View Post
Perhaps this is less of an issue for those of you who either rely more heavily on your EXP status to get your sticker upgrades, or use all of your miles for award tickets.

I squirrel away every mile to aid in making sure I get to sit on F when I'm on EXP heavy routes like LGA, BOS, etc. So far, I've been pretty 'lucky' in being able to get the A inventory I need. As I sit here now and look at tomorrow's LGA-ORD flights, though, I'm struck by just how many Fs are available, while there are very few, in some cases zero, A slots open.

I definitely support AA's efforts to make money; I'm just glad we still have an F service. If they continue to go in this direction, though, it's a de facto further devaluation of our miles, to say nothing of the short-term copay that you have to pony up if you do a mileage upgrade close to flight time. It's a bit upsetting given that ostensibly one should be able to use miles for such things. I'd frankly rather they raise it to 35 or 40k round trip to upgrade, or gulp, even raise the copay, than zero out the A seats...

Is your flight a connecting one? As much as I like riding up front, I can't bare to part with 15k for an upgrade from BOS or NYC to ORD.
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 9:23 pm
  #12  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by drtdk View Post
I guess this means that you won't be changing your handle to Fly A all the Way.
Well, can't do that, as my next flight is LAX-JFK in business class. Maybe I could change to: Fly C Where They Now Let Y Pee.
Fly AA J all the way is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 10:12 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest
Programs: AA, UA, DL, LUV, SPG, HHonors, Avis, Hertz
Posts: 3,032
Originally Posted by SquareDanceGuy View Post
You seem to be in favor of selling upgrades to the highest bidder.
Until now the logic has appeared to be, Maintain F fares in the system as long as possible to maximize revenue, while releasing them to X only if and when AA's yield mgmt models determined that the F seats weren't going to be purchased.

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.

What I'm saying is that, as a PLAT who tries to spend every airline dollar on AA, I very much have appreciated the quid pro quo that generally allowed(s) me to 'spend' my miles (and copays) in exchange for an F seat whenever one has been available.

I'm not suggesting that this is some big trend; I've just noticed it a few times now. In general, though, reducing availability of A relative to the number of F slots open does more than simply devalue our miles - something that for better or worse AA has the right to do - it makes them in some cases unspendable. All I'm proposing is that rather than making the drastic decision to in some cases simply stop accepting our mileage currency, perhaps they ought to consider simply changing the price they're asking.

gemac - I assume your comments were in jest, and so I won't take offense. That said, I was being vague becuase there were a few As out there. A look right now at the 10 flights between 1 and 9pm on Tues, LGA-ORD - only ONE of them has any A inventory. All but one, meanwhile, boast F5 or better (one has F4).
Jakebeth is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 10:19 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest
Programs: AA, UA, DL, LUV, SPG, HHonors, Avis, Hertz
Posts: 3,032
Originally Posted by Fly AA J all the way View Post
Is your flight a connecting one? As much as I like riding up front, I can't bare to part with 15k for an upgrade from BOS or NYC to ORD.
It is. I generally save my miles for 4 segment (or more) itineraries. If I frequently had to fly LGA-ORD or BOS-ORD without continuing on, it would be a much tougher decision. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd consider my status as valuable as I do given how difficult sticker upgrades would probably be.
Jakebeth is offline  
Old Mar 5, 07, 11:02 pm
  #15  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,465
Originally Posted by Jakebeth View Post
It is. I generally save my miles for 4 segment (or more) itineraries. If I frequently had to fly LGA-ORD or BOS-ORD without continuing on, it would be a much tougher decision. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd consider my status as valuable as I do given how difficult sticker upgrades would probably be.
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.
Fly AA J all the way is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: