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MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion

MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion

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Old May 2, 19, 1:06 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
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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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Old Mar 5, 18, 11:22 pm
  #1591  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: YYF/YLW
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Originally Posted by miadeals View Post
Trying to use BA points, and 1) they're not sharing the saver availability on the flight to their "partner" BA, and 2) you can't do that with BA points, you have to pay for both flights individually. Now, if they'd show the availability to their "partner" for the first half of the "saver" award I'd be set. I know there are seats...this has become such a joke.
There is an extended thread about this: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...-segments.html.

AA is now using married segment logic for Saver award availability (whether booked with AA or with any partner, including BA). Just like with revenue tickets, AAA-BBB and AAA-CCC via BBB are priced as separate markets, so there may well be Saver award availability on AAA-BBB-CCC but not AAA-BBB.

They say they increased award availability with this (ie in the past, neither AAA-BBB nor AAA-BBB-CCC would have been available, whereas now at least AAA-BBB-CCC is available even though AAA-BBB still isn't), and I think there's even some evidence that that's true. But it's still frustrating to see. And AA award availability has gone down the toilet in a dramatic way over the last few years. I'm one of many in this forum who no longer uses AAdvantage for that reason.
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Old Mar 5, 18, 11:39 pm
  #1592  
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AAadvantage no longer serves its purpose for myself anymore. I credit all my segments on QR, UL and rarely AA to JAL mileage bank now.
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Old Mar 5, 18, 11:47 pm
  #1593  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
No question that last minute awards on DL are high. On the other hand, for someone like me with a family of four who generally plans their vacation trips ahead and looks for coach awards, there are some values on DL. I'm seeing SFO-JFK from 9K miles one-way in coach on DL (10K in the summer) which I would consider a decent value. I realize I'm probably an outlier here on FT with a family, but not everyone's priorities are the same for their mileage redemptions.
Got a family here too, transfer my points from chase/diners, I end up sending them to WN over and over and over again, BA has better value than AA to book AA so why would you ever use AA points, but now its a mess and I can't tell you the last time I booked an AA trip for my family. Sure, every once in a while you get a last minute AA tickets for one person and it would be more on WN and yes WN has no first class tickets, but plenty of times there are half empty planes and no saver tickets on AA last minute and you can ALWAYS book WN. I don't actually care what we fly, but AA is a mess and keeps getting worse - and I live by MIA, it should be easy!

BTW - I save actual AA miles for trips to europe, that's about the only good redemption left. If a ticket is 12.5k, its probably on sale for $109 anyways.
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Old Mar 5, 18, 11:55 pm
  #1594  
 
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
There is an extended thread about this: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...-segments.html.

AA is now using married segment logic for Saver award availability (whether booked with AA or with any partner, including BA). Just like with revenue tickets, AAA-BBB and AAA-CCC via BBB are priced as separate markets, so there may well be Saver award availability on AAA-BBB-CCC but not AAA-BBB.

They say they increased award availability with this (ie in the past, neither AAA-BBB nor AAA-BBB-CCC would have been available, whereas now at least AAA-BBB-CCC is available even though AAA-BBB still isn't), and I think there's even some evidence that that's true. But it's still frustrating to see. And AA award availability has gone down the toilet in a dramatic way over the last few years. I'm one of many in this forum who no longer uses AAdvantage for that reason.
And it seems to be based on price - if a ticket is under, say, $150, they'll have availability at 12.5k, and the minute its up to $175, boom, no availability, even if 0 people booked an award ticket in between. You can't get any value out of this. The schedule change the other day also royally screwed everything up. There were 4 flights I could get 3 tickets on (actually "7+ award seats available") but it takes 4 days to transfer diners points, schedule change happens and they took the all the availability away - literally 0 award seats on all 4 of those flights. Cmon now. And then this alternate married segment nonsense...

As I said before, I just use my points for euro redemptions, some on AA metal, some on partners. The only value I can ever find (my family doesn't fly first class.)
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Old Mar 6, 18, 12:13 am
  #1595  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
Apples and oranges; WN uses a quasi-revenue-based calculation for award seats, while AA is essentially flat, region based. Your 3500 WN point example is for a relatively short, cheap flight - generally less than $100. I just randomly checked WN's WGA redemption for SAN-BWI on 3/27: 10,784 - 28,008 points, BS jumps to a whopping 69,509 - 70,514. In contrast: saaver coach starts at 12,500, unrestricted, fully refundable first class on AA ,maxes out at 45,000 miles.
WN will also jack up its WGA redemption rate for higher demand travel days.
SAN-BWI WN 3/27:
nonstop 13,174
1 stop 8,774

SAN-BWI AA 3/27:
nonstop NOPE
1 stop 12,500

BTW, you picked 3/27 because every other single day that week has NO AVAILABILITY on AA for savers. NONE. Only 30k points. WN has a ton of availability multiple days that week. And the only available tickets could be purchased for $201. Notice that all the other days start at $250+? There is nothing "flat" about the AAdvantage program. As soon as tickets reach a certain price, they take all saver availability away, regardless if a single award ticket was issued, so now they are 30k points. I see this constantly on routes out of MIA. 7+ tickets if $109, $170 "sorry no saver awards." (Cut off for SAN-BWI/DCA seems to be in the low 2's.) They're doing the same damn thing as WN but at least WN gives you the option to use points at the higher price and I can't tell you how many times its STILL less than 12.5k pts for a domestic ticket. In fact I never pay 12.5k on any airline for any domestic ticket unless its MIA-LAX or MIA-LAS. 10k max if I'm going ORD etc. Much less on WN to LA and LAS many times. 12.5k should be a "worst case scenario" and for AA I can just buy the ticket for $109 anyways if its available at 12.5k.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 12:21 am
  #1596  
 
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
That's a bit different. You are talking about using Avios for a ticket. That is NOT the same as "AAdvantage"
BA doesn't (or "don't, depending on your version of English) make all award seats open to AA customers, and vice versa.
There is no requirement that award availability be the same among OW members.
The "AAdvantage" program includes partners and the availability made to them. We're talking AA award tickets, and the lack of availability is the core issue. I mean, I couldn't even book my tickets with 12.5k AA miles. The availability is trash now and what little is available is taken away based on a hidden quasi revenue program. 5 years ago, hell even 3 years ago, it wasn't like this. It was consistent and there weren't a thousand games.

But no worries, I booked a worse flight that day, and when one of the next 2 or 3 schedule changes (oh god the schedule changes...) come in the next few months I'll force them to put me on the flight I really want.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 12:31 am
  #1597  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by Austin787 View Post
Several key dates that led to AAdvantage downfall over the years:
December 9, 2013: ​takeover by merger with US Airways closed
April 8, 2014: stopovers eliminated, Anytime Award prices raised (with no notice)
March 22, 2016: many sAAver award prices raised
May 11, 2016: Suzanne Rubin announces resignation
August 1, 2016: earnings become spend based
January 1, 2017: PQD added
When did awards become revenue based (even though they don't admit it)?

For example, the day I was looking at, there were 3 flights from FLL to ORD where they were giving away tickets at $109, 7+ savers available on each flight. Schedule change comes out, cancel 2 flights, jack rates on the last flight left, and 0 award tickets available. 7 people didn't book award tickets on that last flight. It's the price increase. And you can see it across routes everywhere - some routes the cutoff is between $100-$150 where they take all the availability away, some its $200-$250, but there's a pattern here. If they're going to do this they should go to a full WN revenue based redemption program instead of hidden hard stops. 1.8 pts/$ at 1.7 cents guarantees me 3 cents on WN (double when I had companion pass!) Good luck finding those $300+, 12.5k domestic saver awards!
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Old Mar 6, 18, 1:00 am
  #1598  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
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I've been able to do better miles redemptions on AA than on Delta.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 4:58 am
  #1599  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
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I've booked a number of AA flights recently using reward redemption options - 12,500 mile and 7,500 mile variety. What I've noticed with AA is you need to book well in advance or take advantage of last minute award openings. I've flown my mother out from California at least three or four times in the past year to DCA or IAD or BWI and my cousin from SLC or SEA to DCA or BWI or IAD. Sometimes booked 24 hours before departure.

Don't expect holiday time flights for AA with a few exceptions though.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 5:19 am
  #1600  
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Originally Posted by miadeals View Post
BA has better value than AA to book AA so why would you ever use AA points...
That can be true for short-haul flights, and isn't new. It's different for medium to long-haul flights. A BOS-ORD-DEN flight prices as 15,000 Avios or can be 12,500 AAdvantage miles. There are also lots of AA flights at Saver levels that Avios doesn't offer, so Avios for travel on AA isn't the magic bullet, even for short haul. You really need to know the program architectures - region based vs. distance-based is a key element - before offering generalizations that can be of value to others.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 6:38 am
  #1601  
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Is this avios discussion about J/F or Y?
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Old Mar 7, 18, 12:09 pm
  #1602  
 
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
No question that last minute awards on DL are high. On the other hand, for someone like me with a family of four who generally plans their vacation trips ahead and looks for coach awards, there are some values on DL. I'm seeing SFO-JFK from 9K miles one-way in coach on DL (10K in the summer) which I would consider a decent value. I realize I'm probably an outlier here on FT with a family, but not everyone's priorities are the same for their mileage redemptions.
Yes, there are certainly still some deals to be had with DL miles...often, short-haul nonstops that are very expensive with cash (RIC-LGA and ATL-CHS are two examples I've redeemed in the past) are 10,000 miles or less if booked at least a week in advance. AAdvantage seems to be much more generous with last-minute redemptions lately, however.

Also, I just discovered today that the $75 close-in booking fee is waived for Golds. I know in the past this was not the case and only EXP got the fee waived. There was still at least one seat at 12,500 miles from DFW-LGA on Friday 3/9, prime Spring Break travel for some colleges in Texas, that I booked for a family member just now. Score!
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Old Mar 7, 18, 1:03 pm
  #1603  
 
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I was able to grab a Saver for LHR/OKC late last week which was great. The only problem is the DFW/OKC segment is the next morning - the last 2 flights that night have no availability as of now. I've got EF alerts setup and hopefully inventory will open up on them to get me back that night.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 1:08 pm
  #1604  
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Originally Posted by wahooflyer View Post
I concur. For my usual mid-con domestic route, I did an award search recently... Last minute one way costs around $500. Delta wanted 60,000 miles for that $500 ticket. AA and UA only 12,500 miles. Even with the $75 "expedite fee" the grass is greener for many awards on AA.
Is your "usual mid-con domestic route" typically on a nonstop? If so, consider getting and using some BA Avios: no close-in award-booking fee, and likely fewer miles (Avios) required for the redemption.
​​​​​​
Or, if you have a Citi or Barclays AA credit card, check to see if your destination is on the list of reduced-mileage-award destinations:

https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...age-awards.jsp
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Old Mar 8, 18, 1:25 am
  #1605  
 
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
That can be true for short-haul flights, and isn't new. It's different for medium to long-haul flights. A BOS-ORD-DEN flight prices as 15,000 Avios or can be 12,500 AAdvantage miles. There are also lots of AA flights at Saver levels that Avios doesn't offer, so Avios for travel on AA isn't the magic bullet, even for short haul. You really need to know the program architectures - region based vs. distance-based is a key element - before offering generalizations that can be of value to others.
My point was its either going to be the same or less avios to book a nonstop, and if its a connecting flight, its going to be a better value to just pay cash if it is available at the 12.5k saver level, because if it wasn't dirt cheap, there would be no availability, it would be 20-30k, IE basically the equivalent of flying to Europe. I can't remember the last time I got decent value out of an AA reward that wasn't across an ocean. Hopefully others have had better luck.
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