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MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion

Old Jan 25, 2014, 3:56 pm
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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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MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion

Old Feb 5, 2017, 10:38 am
  #181  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat
I have hundreds of thousands of SPG points. I have no clue about the arbitrage opportunities of a (defunct) companion pass with an airline that I don't fly or the nights and flights nonsense. Mostly because I have no need to spend those points yet, but somehow that makes me (and others) uninformed in a way that offends you?
Originally Posted by MaxVO
Just because some methods are not immediately useful to you, doesn't mean they can not be shared with enthusiasm. Btw congrats on your stash of SPG points! I don't think they are in any imminent danger. But you'll definitely get more value out of them if you start sooner rather then later.
Conversely, I have so few SPG points, it turns out I can't convert them! Hence my lack of urgency in looking into this.
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Old Feb 5, 2017, 5:32 pm
  #182  
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat
I have hundreds of thousands of SPG points. I have no clue about the arbitrage opportunities of a (defunct) companion pass with an airline that I don't fly or the nights and flights nonsense. Mostly because I have no need to spend those points yet, but somehow that makes me (and others) uninformed in a way that offends you?
What are you upset about? Why should I be offended if you are uninformed? The more uninformed folks may mean Marriott would keep its promise if it does not see the bleeding too much.

I suggested to Susiesan to look at the arb opp for her 300K SPG pts. She would find much better value in other programs than AA especially now JL is also an AS partner which Susiesan said in the past she preferred JL over CX as long as she gets over the idea of needing a positioning flight to the gateway city out of the main award - not everyone accepts that...
Then it turned out some have no idea the SPG to Marriott and opening up a lot of arbitrage opps is a reality for months. Hence we have such discussion.

To be on the record, we never fly WN before and probably never will. But that does not mean those who rush to redeem the Marriott TP by ways of transferring SPG pts to take advantage of the arbitrage benefit somewhat lower class flyers than those who dont fly WN.

WN is NOT the only opp, but the most lucrative opp to many people who use it to visit their families and friends thru out the country for example. Not everyone only has needs to travel overseas. Many folks go visit extended families thru out the year. The companion pass saves family money easily in the $$$$ annually.
Obviously this arb opp is hurting WN so much that it abruptly announced hotel pts transfer did not qualify for companion pass effectively Jan 1st without any advanced notice, only to rescind it after lots of bad publicity and now gave a hard deadline of March 31st. This proves the SPG to Marriott to WN has lots of value to those who fly WN.

Transfer to UA would instantly elevate SPG value when it comes to transfer to UA miles which arguably are far more useful than AA miles these days when it comes to availability. I am sure you know SPG transfer to UA directly is a 2 to 1 crummy ratio. Going thru Marriott Travel Package, the ratio becomes a 1 to 1.10 ratio with Marriott to UA on the Air portion of the Travel Package for the uninformed.

So I am just listing two of the MOST OBVIOUS arbitrage values in this mega merger in hotel industry that might help some of those less informed (if one still does not know the arbitrage opps exist, then one has to be less informed whether one likes to admit so or not).

After all, complaining the scarcity of AA Saaver availability does not going to help one a bit. Better approach is to find ways one does not need to rely on AA miles for award travel. This SPG to Marriott route seems to open up quite a bit avenues thanks to the 1 to 3 ratio. But the potentials only exist if one is willing to explore, not to mention such opportunities may not last as long as initially made to be.

For another record, we transferred SPG pts for the Marriott Travel Package to AS miles and 7 nights Cat 6 property for a total of 300K Marriott pts (100K SPG pts transferred). The cert was already used for 7 nights at Marriott Sky City Hong Kong, followed by another 60K SPG pts transgerred to Marriott for a 5th night free redemption at 180K Marriott pts at JW Marriott at Admiralty, Hong Kong. We also transferred 47K SPG pts for a 5th night free stay at JW Marriott Marquis at Dubai, in favor of JWM Marquis over Sheraton Grand - proved to be a good decision. All told, we have transferred a total of 207K SPG pts to Marriott so far, got much higher value from it then using it on SPG hotel stays or plain SPG to airline transfer. Excellent use for the SPG pts in my book. May not be in yours of course.

The 120K miles added back to our AS account helps to replenish the 140K miles used for 2 persons' JNB-HKG//HKG-LAX-SEA-SLC trip in Sept, with the HKG-LAX leg in CX F with a stopover in HKG. FYI, using AA miles for the same trip would incur TWO awards which is Africa to Asia 2 at 70K in J, and Asia 2 to US at 110K in F, for a total of 180K just the same trip ONE person only. So 140K AS miles for TWO person versus 180K AA miles for ONE person.
Even without the stopover in HKG, you cannot do the same routing with AA miles due to its routing rule. I dont think it allows you to route thru Asia from Africa to US. You can only do via Atlantic or via DOH on QR to QR. Via Atlantic you pay the BA YQ. Via DOH QR does not have F service and so far the DOH-US aircraft remains the 777 2-2-2 config. Who knows when QR would make good on its promise of bringing in the A350/A380 to the DOH-US route? The A380 has F with wonderful bed/bathroom would be very nice for the 14 hrs long DOH-US flight, and more comfortable than CX F - almost everything is better than CX F except CX still wins with its lounges in HKG, I have to say.

Besides I cannot even know if AA allows a routing HKG-LAX-SEA-SLC while AS has no problem at all.
This is just to illustrate how a little bit of research and exploration would find one some superb value with the same currency so long as one is willing to do some work.

So there you have it - before feeling being offended, it may be better off for you to get informed and do some research. I always do some quick research if someone posted something I did not know about. You might find some big value in your SPG pts stash that you dont realize it exists, except such value would not be realized if the pts continue sitting in the SPG account!

As I and MaxVo point out, the arb opps only as good as when Marriott keeps its promises thru 2017 as announced. We should know far better that companies can change their minds at a heart beat. Judged by what WN had done, I personally do not count on Marriott would stay put till end of 2017 despite its initial announcement. After the 207K transfer we barely have enough SPG pts left for 2 more Travel Package redemption but we also need some points for the Marriott properties (Protea chain) during our 3 weeks in South Africa coming Sept, and 6 days in Hong Kong after that. So we are trying to build up our balances in the coming months and hope Marriott would not change mind until 2nd half of 2017.

Last edited by Happy; Feb 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm
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Old Feb 5, 2017, 5:34 pm
  #183  
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Originally Posted by Happy
What are you upset about? Why should I be offended if you are uninformed?
With great respect, your tone ("Amazing you do not know...") did, in fact, start all this. Take it for what it's worth.
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Old Feb 5, 2017, 6:07 pm
  #184  
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Originally Posted by JonNYC
With great respect, your tone ("Amazing you do not know...") did, in fact, start all this. Take it for what it's worth.
If so, so be it.

There are dedicated threads in both Marriott and SPG forum on the merger and speculated the pro and con to the members of each program long before the merger.

Marriott did not take a single day delay and announced all the details of the interim steps to give members of both programs access to both programs plus the transfer/match details, on Sept 23, 2016 - the date the merger was finalized.

There is even a thread started by someone at Marriott program claiming the ratio of 1 SPG to 3 Marriott ratio is utterly unfair to Marriott members, ditto for the matching SPG Gold which has no material benefits other than free internet and late check to Marriott Gold which has guarantee lounge access, not just continental brekkie...

Not to mention gazillion blogs on how to take advantage on the arbitrage potential... touting the WN transfer in particular, as well as the UA promotion going on in the Q4 of 2016 that many took advantage of, even though it capped at 20K extra but that is on top of the extra 10% bonus from Marriott Travel Package redemption...

If a person has hundreds of thousands of SPG pts in his account and has no idea what has been going on for several months, well, it is amazing to me. After all, would you worry a bit about what is going to happen to your hundreds of thousands of pts stashed in the SPG account?

Enough OT. Now let's get back to whine about how bad / difficult to get AA Saaver awards.
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Old Feb 5, 2017, 8:45 pm
  #185  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerBeek
To be fair, though, US wasn't this bad either in terms of award availability and this issue has been trending downwards since even before the merger. As much as folks want to - myself included - you can't blame everything on Discount Douggie.

-FlyerBeek
In my experience, they were exactly this bad. But as in all things, YMMV.
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 11:34 am
  #186  
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Arrow get the word out

Gary Leff today:

http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea....pathetic-ever/

American had promised a year ago that we’d be seeing more transatlantic and transpacific business class award availability (right away) but that hasn’t happened, outside of momentary glitches or dumps of space that are removed as quickly as they appeared....

...American used to offer the best award availability of any US airline. Now it offers the worst.
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 11:49 am
  #187  
 
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Originally Posted by JonNYC

Everyone I talk to (outside of travelhackers, mostly business flyers) is completely fed up with AA and any attempt at using their miles. It is really hurting their business when people chose where to use cash for flights. I don't know how it isn't obvious to them. I haven't watched inventory closely on AA metal itself, but last time I did, AA was letting a lot of transatlantic go out with empty J and F too.

The more press like this the better IMHO.
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 12:31 pm
  #188  
 
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Originally Posted by glocklt4
It is really hurting their business when people chose where to use cash for flights.
This is not a correct statement. We may wish that was true as it might alter the situation but it is not having a material effect on AA's business.

Even if it was having the effect you think (which it isn't) AA believes that they are better off in the long run with a reset of customer expectations. They are working on this in several directions.

I personally think that what they have done is terrible but they are following a carefully considered business strategy.
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 12:56 pm
  #189  
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Originally Posted by millionmiler
AA believes that they are better off in the long run with a reset of customer expectations
I don't know how sustainable that is....
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 1:12 pm
  #190  
 
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Originally Posted by millionmiler
Even if it was having the effect you think (which it isn't) AA believes that they are better off in the long run with a reset of customer expectations. They are working on this in several directions.
They have successfully reset mine. I now much prefer to fly on Delta (no status but inexpensive Y-UP) or jetblue (mosaic), and only choose AA when it is significantly more convenient and/or less expensive. So far this year, I've flown AA twice, jetblue twice, and Delta once. I have flights booked for the next few months, and none on AA. I had one booked with miles, but canceled it and rebooked on a very competitive DL discount business fare.

Last edited by jay_dubya; Feb 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 1:31 pm
  #191  
 
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Originally Posted by millionmiler
This is not a correct statement.
Pardon my assumption, but unless you work for AA revenue or have other data to support it, I fail to see how you would know for certain that my statement is incorrect. It is a guessing game otherwise on both our parts, but at a micro-economic level, I have talked to many weekly business travelers, and even here in DFW they are avoiding AA when possible just because of devaluations and lack of award seats. And yes, I do hope that it impacts their bottom line eventually. As Gary and others say constantly, miles were intended to offer a promise for future travel by traveling with their airline now, but when that is taken away (by not offering an adequate amount of space), the broken promise destroys loyalty.

I don't disagree that a reset of expectations may be a desired goal.

We'll see at the next major bear market how this all works out for them and whether the changes they are making will be sustainable.
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 3:08 pm
  #192  
 
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Part of the problem seems to be that so few partners are easily bookable online. To the uninitiated (most travelers) online availability equals all availability. Searching partner availability and calling in is a pain and time consuming. In contrast, UA's website has availability for most partners (excluding SQ), thus allowing flight options to be spread out among several carriers and carrier combinations. If AA would update its website to include most, if not all, partners, some of this scarcity issue might be diminished. And while they are at it, it would be nice to be able to cancel award flights and redeposit the miles online as UA's site allows rather than spending time on yet another phone call to AA CS.
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 3:12 pm
  #193  
 
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Originally Posted by JetAway
Part of the problem seems to be that so few partners are easily bookable online. To the uninitiated (most travelers) online availability equals all availability. Searching partner availability and calling in is a pain and time consuming. In contrast, UA's website has availability for most partners (excluding SQ), thus allowing flight options to be spread out among several carriers and carrier combinations. If AA would update its website to include most, if not all, partners, some of this scarcity issue might be diminished. And while they are at it, it would be nice to be able to cancel award flights and redeposit the miles online as UA's site allows rather than spending time on yet another phone call to AA CS.
Agree - works to the advantage for those of us that know what we're doing, but most of their customers just think of aa.com and have no clue what the partners are or how to book with them (i.e. calling Australia desk for Etihad seats). Despite that is makes it harder for me, I'm ok with it for added availability
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 4:30 pm
  #194  
 
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Originally Posted by glocklt4
Pardon my assumption, but unless you work for AA revenue or have other data to support it, I fail to see how you would know for certain that my statement is incorrect.
Its true that I have not given you specific evidence that my statement is correct. Never the less, you are incorrect. You can choose to believe it or not.
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Old Feb 6, 2017, 4:34 pm
  #195  
 
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Originally Posted by enviroian
I don't know how sustainable that is....
Agreed.
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