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MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion

Old Jan 25, 2014, 3:56 pm
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Last edit by: JDiver

Be sure to check the lengthy http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...elections.html and oneworld and Other Airline (Partner) Awards info, rules 2014 on threads, as many members have posted questions - and useful answers - there. See the wiki posts for informative summaries.

Also be aware - AA have reduced capacity and apparently chosen to make MileSAAver flights significantly less available during predicted periods of high demand and high demand flights, undoubtedly keeping seats available for those willing to pay higher fares and use the new tiered AAnytime awards.

Older posts as of 1 Jan 2015 and later may be found in thd archived thread ARCHIVE: MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction discussion post 2015 AAdvantage merger

Older posts may dating from Aug 2011 through the AAdvantage program merger January 2015 be found in the archived thread here.

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MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion

Old Jan 29, 2017, 4:46 pm
  #136  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,948
Originally Posted by EQDsSUCK
Its a joke that BA is paying AA kickbacks to force award travelers onto BA rather than AA flights to Europe. I didn't think anyone would really think there were kickbacks for that. I'll include a smiley face next time.

It seems like if you want to go to continental Europe on an AA Saaver Award ticket, you are mostly routed through the UK on BA rather than on an AA flight directly to whatever non-UK airport is your final destination.

It changes the notion of a Saaver ticket. AA has to pay BA a carrier fee (charged to consumer) to get BA to open Saaver award seats for Advantage members. AA does this so it can leave its own equipment open to paying customers (AA trying to increase profits, Elite Flyers feeling further squeezed--all par for the course, I suppose).

So a 30K Saaver ticket on BA (with the $259 carrier fee I see for June 13) is actually a 45K award ticket. If the mile value is 1.7 cents per mile then then $259 carrier fee is like paying an additional 15K miles.

The point of this is---it seems freaking difficult to fly to continental Europe on a Biz Saaver ticket on AA equipment. :-)
I don't think it quite works that way. AA does have to charge the BA YQ, as well as AOD, because they're not going to absorb the cost themselves. BA has the award open but all award users in urbthe fees - including, AFAIK, BA flyers using Avios.The AA payment doesn't open award seating; BA revenue management does that.

The issue then is everyone, including you and I, avoids BA awards in favour of award seats on airlines that do not impose these fees. And yes, AA has seemingly reduced SAAver award space on its flights even the load factors have gone up with schedule and aircraft changes.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 5:29 pm
  #137  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: LAX
Posts: 1,849
Originally Posted by Mwenenzi
No one is forced to fly BA on an AA award. It always personal choice.
defending AA today is the lamest thing
They are scAAm, nothing else
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 7:32 pm
  #138  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 4,443
Originally Posted by Big_Foot
defending AA today is the lamest thing
They are scAAm, nothing else
^
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 11:20 am
  #139  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: ORD
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold, 1M Miles
Posts: 15
Award Inflation

Hi,

As someone who at this point is getting most of my miles via the credit card (it wasn't always the case: a few months after 9/11 I got 72000 awards miles on a two and a half week trip to Asia - triple miles to Japan FTW!) I don't accrue very quickly, but do enjoy the occasional free flight ORD-CDG. I've been a Citibank Visa card holder for over 20 years and am in the Million miler club.

I took each of my three kids to Europe individually in the mid 2000s, and did a trip in 2015 there again. Being based near ORD means I am spoiled about direct flights. I can always get direct Europe flights into somewhere, and I'm not opposed to jumping on EasyJet once I get there. It used to be 35000 miles per round trip ticket and I could always get direct flights.

So few months I was looking for tickets for a trip in April to CDG. Obviously many of the flights go to LHR, but with the BA issue, "free" tickets end up costing $300 or more. But I was finding it impossible to get direct flights to CDG. First of all the flights were 30000 each way, and none of them were direct. For direct they wanted even more miles. ...? I had 100000 in my account and couldn't even got two of us there and back.

So I ended up buying two AA tickets round trip for $510 each. Not a great use of my miles. The "cost" has gone from 35000 to like 90000 for the same direct flight. That's a lot of devaluation.

So even though I've been in this program for a long time, it's time to look for a better deal. I found another card that gives two "points" per dollar spent. I have to spend $90000 on my AA credit card to get one ticket to Paris. If I spend that on my new card, it's $1800 cash, which is more than three tickets. Time to move along.

I will stay in the program (lifetime Gold is nice) but my main credit card will not be my AAdvantage Visa anymore. And since they are forcing a new card one me shortly (MasterCard with a new number), I'm moving now.
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 2:41 pm
  #140  
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Location: MSY; 2-time FT Fantasy Football Champ, now in recovery.
Programs: AA lifetime GLD; UA Silver; Marriott LTTE; IHG Plat,
Posts: 14,483
The current saver award chart US-Europe is 45K roundtrip off peak (January 10 – March 14, November 1 – December 14), and 60K other times. The 60K is 30K each way, what you are seeing now, and it's been that price for many years. The off peak is a recent increase from 40K, not sure when it was 35K but I think quite a while back.

But yeah, the bigger devaluation is not the chart itself, but from the lack of award seats at the saver level, especially to Europe if you want to avoid the BA surcharges.

If you found 30K each way with a connection, that's still not bad, especially if you used to add an EasyJet jump yourself.
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 3:00 pm
  #141  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: ORD
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold, 1M Miles
Posts: 15
Hmmm. Part of it might be I took my kids over Thanksgiving, and am now going at better times of the year. Either way, the several years it would take me to get enough spend on the credit card is more than I am willing to wait, so going to Plan B.
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 8:34 pm
  #142  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: NYC
Programs: DL Platinum Medallion, AA Lifetime Gold, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Gold, Amtrak Select
Posts: 303
I'm so frustrated with AA Business Saaver options under the new system. It's total BS, been saving hundreds of thousands of miles for years now, very flexible on dates to go to just about any major city in Western Europe in Sept/Oct of this year. Started checking at the 330 day window and checking back again now. All flights that have ZERO seats booked don't have a single Saaver Award or even C inventory upgrade available. JFK Madrid end of September? Don't care which days of the week, all have zero flights booked. Not an option.

Scrooo you AA, I'm done, Delta here I come full time now, don't let the door hit you in the AAss on the way out...spent my 15 year working career going out of my way to fly on your metal, had some wonderful experiences as EXP years back and benefited well as PLT up until the latest round of "enhancements" where now mileage accruals are a joke. Dropping my Citi Executive Card and dropping AA like a hot cast iron pan. At least my "lifetime gold" will keep me in Group 3 boarding, or whatever I'll end up with in 2018 for the first time since 2002.

Cheers Doug, job well done!

Oh, and guess I should change my screen-name...wishful thinking, huh? AA AND my AUDI TDI, looks like my airline and automobile relationship decisions have been pretty poor.
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 8:52 pm
  #143  
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Do you think the lack and devaluation of saver award space on AA metal will eventually have an effect on it's bottom line IE losing customers? Does AA realize or care that their redemption chances are well below Delta and United?

What will it take, if anything to get AA to start opening up the saver seats more?
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 9:03 pm
  #144  
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Originally Posted by LifetimeGold
I have to spend $90000 on my AA credit card to get one ticket to Paris. If I spend that on my new card, it's $1800 cash, which is more than three tickets. Time to move along.

I will stay in the program (lifetime Gold is nice) but my main credit card will not be my AAdvantage Visa anymore. And since they are forcing a new card one me shortly (MasterCard with a new number), I'm moving now.
The fast way to earn miles with credit cards is not by everyday spend (if you don't have a lot if "naturally"), it's by signup bonuses.

You could get 40k for just one purchase with this new card:
And if you had acted before they converted your Citi AA Visa to an MC (that has been happening to other people for 2 or 3 years now), you could have gotten another 50k for applying for the Citi AA personal Plat MC afresh, but that's ruled out now for 2 years since you waited until they converted you to it.

Still, you could also apply for a CitiBusiness AA MC now (whether or not you have an actual business), and get another 50k for $3k spend in 3 months.
So for $3k spend on one card and 1 purchase on another card, voila, 90K miles.

Now, 90K miles for a transatlantic coach trip is still not a good value. (You might find a better value with an AA partner airline whose availability you can't look up on aa.com, such an Air Tahiti Nui or Iberia.) But the point is there are a lot easier ways to earn real miles than just by holding on to the same card for many years on end and spending like crazy on it.

And the thing is, while it's easy to stack signup bonuses on cards that earn real airline miles (or real hotel points) to get to a large number of miles, it's not that easy to stack signup bonuses on cashback cards to get to a large enough amount of cashback to buy a ticket.

So with real miles, if you know how to play the game, it may easier to get the outrageous amount of miles you need than with cashback cards it would be to earn enough cashback to buy the tickets.

Last edited by sdsearch; Feb 1, 2017 at 9:09 pm
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 9:09 pm
  #145  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 4,443
Originally Posted by AALoyalNYC
AA AND my AUDI TDI, looks like my airline and automobile relationship decisions have been pretty poor.
At least you can enjoy your car's power & fuel efficiency through the end of 2018, and get a decent "separation package" on the way out. Slightly less generous provisions for your airline loyalty, just the joy of holding a bag of worthless miles.
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 9:17 pm
  #146  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Orange County, CA
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Posts: 302
Originally Posted by enviroian
Do you think the lack and devaluation of saver award space on AA metal will eventually have an effect on it's bottom line IE losing customers? Does AA realize or care that their redemption chances are well below Delta and United?
I dare say that AA is actively trying to lose some customers.
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 9:19 pm
  #147  
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Originally Posted by enviroian
Do you think the lack and devaluation of saver award space on AA metal will eventually have an effect on it's bottom line IE losing customers? Does AA realize or care that their redemption chances are well below Delta and United?

What will it take, if anything to get AA to start opening up the saver seats more?
US rode poor award availability - measured as % of seats or ASMs - right up to the merger. See their annual reports and compare to AA, DL or UA. I'm not sure Parker sees anything wrong with the current situation.
3Cforme is offline  
Old Feb 1, 2017, 9:22 pm
  #148  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Posts: 1,673
Originally Posted by AALoyalNYC
.... All flights that have ZERO seats booked don't have a single Saaver Award or even C inventory upgrade available. JFK Madrid end of September? Don't care which days of the week, all have zero flights booked. Not an option.

Scrooo you AA, I'm done, Delta here I come full time now, don't let the door hit you in the AAss on the way out...spent my 15 year working career going out of my way to fly on your metal, had some wonderful experiences as EXP years back and benefited well as PLT up until the latest round of "enhancements" where now mileage accruals are a joke. Dropping my Citi Executive Card and dropping AA like a hot cast iron pan. At least my "lifetime gold" will keep me in Group 3 boarding, or whatever I'll end up with in 2018 for the first time since 2002.

Cheers Doug, job well done!

....

- Agree fully. AAdvantage now is a complete junk all the way from earning miles to redeeming. Now if you add cuts to the schedule, ridiculous pricing vs. competition, and a pathetic performance, why one would be motivated to fly AA for business or pleasure?
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Old Feb 1, 2017, 9:55 pm
  #149  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Atlanta Metro
Programs: DL , AC, BA, Hhonors Diamond, IH Platinum, Bonvoy Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 2,335
Originally Posted by 3Cforme
US rode poor award availability - measured as % of seats or ASMs - right up to the merger. See their annual reports and compare to AA, DL or UA. I'm not sure Parker sees anything wrong with the current situation.
Hear, hear.

I remember when AA was the BEST as far as mileage redemptions. They were known for it.

My experience with US, in contrast was terrible. They made it almost impossible to use those miles for saver-type rewards. Not only that, their phone agents were lazy and rude.

It's my belief that it's the US mgmt takeover that has brought this about. I spoke to a longtime AA employee who said that on the very first day of the merge, changes were immediately instituted that he felt were very passenger un-friendly. So no, they don't care. (And I have the same problem out of ATL--only transatlantic available is BA with huge taxes and fees.)
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Old Feb 2, 2017, 1:07 am
  #150  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH USA
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 178
Originally Posted by enviroian
Do you think the lack and devaluation of saver award space on AA metal will eventually have an effect on it's bottom line IE losing customers? Does AA realize or care that their redemption chances are well below Delta and United?

What will it take, if anything to get AA to start opening up the saver seats more?
I suggest when frustrated finding mile saver awards, on your next paid flight, book another carrier and inform aa customer relations why. Maybe a few thousand emails " I didn't buy AA because" might get noticed. Request AA customer relations call you back for a complete list of complaints. Even if AA is non responsive, complaints will be fully documented and no robo "sorry" responses.
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