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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 Apr 22, 2017, 12:09 am
  #841  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PHX
Programs: Delta 2M DM, Southwest A List and CP
Posts: 1,074
Originally Posted by cyber1k
AAdvantage miles redemption is ridiculous and has little value any longer. As a CK, I have experienced no greater saaver award inventory. AA has shot itself in the foot. Why bother earning miles that cannot be redeemed at any reasonable level with any reasonable effort?
DL was this way a few years ago, and now they have excellent redemption opportunities (18,000 miles R/T across the country, 11,000 miles R/T for shorter hops, etc.). I guess that someone in ATL figured out that cutting the number of miles you earn and asking a zillion miles for a free flight is not going to endear any customers. So, maybe the tide will turn for AA as well when they see that the US-inherited strategy really does not work. One can only hope .
PHXflier is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 12:39 am
  #842  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Internet
Programs: Alaska Mileage Plan
Posts: 713
Yeah, it's really weird - I help people book award tickets (a lot--DM me if I can help you). The worst, hardest to use points a couple of years ago were Delta. These days, I probably use SkyMiles for about half of award bookings and the second worst points are AAdvantage (the worst are Virgin Atlantic). I always dread when someone only has them. Unless they want to take an international trip from a major hub, there is almost no chance of finding availability.
TProphet is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 12:42 am
  #843  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Murcia, Spain
Programs: AADVANTAGE, Iberia Plus, BA Exec Blue, Hertz #1Gold, HHonors Gold, AS, Paradores Amigos
Posts: 503
Originally Posted by johnash
I think I'm going to give up hope of getting the MileSaaver awards we'd hoped for. I am keeping an eye on the AAnytime awards as they are released and they are coming up as 55K or even more. Even more "insult to injury".

Can I ask... if it comes out at 55K when our date is released, is that then fixed at that rate, or, if I wait, could it drop down (some, on the route I am looking at, are at 45K)?

I know there is a chance they could go up. I have seen ridiculous demands of over 100K for what is actually quite a short hop. At 55K I'd have to buy another 5K miles each, adding even more to the cost of these "free" flights. Never again American, never again.
I don't believe it! 330 days out and these bandits are asking for 90K miles for an Aanytime award. I've tried as many departure cities and arrival cities that I could use and they're all coming out at 90K. So angry. I messaged AA and go the usual cr*p back.
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Old Apr 22, 2017, 12:52 am
  #844  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 5,270
Originally Posted by johnash
I don't believe it! 330 days out and these bandits are asking for 90K miles for an Aanytime award. I've tried as many departure cities and arrival cities that I could use and they're all coming out at 90K.
Why are you searching for flights nearly a year from departure? Airlines rarely offer good deals this far out (nor should they, if they're operating with any degree of rationality).
rjw242 is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 1:43 am
  #845  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Murcia, Spain
Programs: AADVANTAGE, Iberia Plus, BA Exec Blue, Hertz #1Gold, HHonors Gold, AS, Paradores Amigos
Posts: 503
Originally Posted by rjw242
Why are you searching for flights nearly a year from departure? Airlines rarely offer good deals this far out (nor should they, if they're operating with any degree of rationality).
I always have in the past and got what I needed! The rest of our travel plans depend on what award flights we can get. I've always found the earlier I get in, the more likely I am to get what we need.

Last edited by johnash; Apr 22, 2017 at 1:49 am
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Old Apr 22, 2017, 3:35 am
  #846  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AA LT PLT 3 MM+, BA (very) Blue, CO nobody
Posts: 2,640
Originally Posted by Alex_I
In my experience, MileSaver availability decreased even further during last ca. 6 months.
What we can do about MileSaver availability? Personally, I have cancelled or stopped using AA credit cards and also start flying other airlines as fit my schedule. You can post on Facebook or Twitter but I don't think AA is listening.
You are correct. This is the only and best thing you can do to show your displeasure with the new AAdvantage program - talk and walk with your wallet.
They are bound to listen sooner or later as money is the only language they speak - I don't know how much they actually care about Facebook or Twitter.
I have done so. Why should I support a company that doesn't care about me when I DO have choices how and where I spend my money.
Paulchili is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 6:24 am
  #847  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 6,387
Originally Posted by Radiant Flyer
I think this is the point AA wants to make, they want you to pay if you want to fly, if you want an upgrade... show them the money. Since consumers now have little choices when they want to fly Airline loyalty is a thing of the past.
The problem with that attitude is AAdvantage is a significant source of revenue and profit. If people view miles as having little to no value, then it becomes difficult to sell miles to credit card companies, etc.

How do the profits from AAdvantage compare to the profits from selling tickets?
richarddd is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 8:16 am
  #848  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: ORD
Programs: aadvantage, mileage plus, millemiglia
Posts: 100
Far from being an expert on awards travel, I have noticed two things. First, everyone seems to agree that premium cabin awards and upgrades are getting harder to get. Second, paid business class tickets seem to be more affordable in general and more likely to be put on sale from time to time. I have recently purchased ORD-FCO-ORD, ORD-ATH-ORD and a few other routes in business for $3K and under, with fairly direct routing on major airlines. I don't remember prices like this being available in the past. Perhaps the airlines decided it was better to sell most of their business class product at a reasonable price and give away only a few seats for points than to sell just a few tickets at astronomical prices and give away the rest. As baby boomers retire and the stock market sits around all time highs, I can imagine how a strategy like this might work for them.
goldmarch is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 8:44 am
  #849  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: NYC/WAS
Programs: UA GS, AA EXP, DL '90s PM, now FK (Flying Kettle)
Posts: 541
Originally Posted by johnash
I always have in the past and got what I needed! The rest of our travel plans depend on what award flights we can get. I've always found the earlier I get in, the more likely I am to get what we need.
Not true anymore. For an anniversary trip for my parents to NYC for next March, I waited until the exact morning that day was supposed to become available for awards, 11 months out. I was met with an all-gray award calendar for that week and the week prior. I called and the EP desk suggested that the day simply hadn't had award seats "loaded in the system" yet, but that didn't explain no seats for the previous several weeks.

My idea was to bring them to NY in saver first, and if not available then economy if necessary, but of course nothing was available in either anytime in March (not exactly high season). No, the whole thing seems to have been killed.
AlreadyThere is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 9:01 am
  #850  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas City, MO
Programs: AA Gold
Posts: 3,643
Originally Posted by AlreadyThere
Not true anymore. For an anniversary trip for my parents to NYC for next March, I waited until the exact morning that day was supposed to become available for awards, 11 months out. I was met with an all-gray award calendar for that week and the week prior. I called and the EP desk suggested that the day simply hadn't had award seats "loaded in the system" yet, but that didn't explain no seats for the previous several weeks.

My idea was to bring them to NY in saver first, and if not available then economy if necessary, but of course nothing was available in either anytime in March (not exactly high season). No, the whole thing seems to have been killed.
You have to monitor the pattern of releasing award seats for a given city pair. When trying to redeem for MCI-MIA to hook up with MIA-SCL I noticed the domestic leg being released 2 days later than 330 days. I put the int'l leg on hold (flying on LAN) and then called back to get the domestic connections within the 5 day hold. it is a lot of work and requires you to constantly be looking at the award chart but it can OCCASIONALLY be done.
susiesan is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 9:30 am
  #851  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: LA
Posts: 7,175
I can't believe I'm seriously considering spending 50k on JFK-LAX in J. I just haven't found a good AA redemption in almost two years.
anc-ord772 is offline  
Old Apr 22, 2017, 10:30 am
  #852  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: NYC/WAS
Programs: UA GS, AA EXP, DL '90s PM, now FK (Flying Kettle)
Posts: 541
Originally Posted by anc-ord772
I can't believe I'm seriously considering spending 50k on JFK-LAX in J. I just haven't found a good AA redemption in almost two years.
Until this recent development, it was possible to get a redemption if you were flexible about dates and times. Which IMO was reasonable; the airline is allowed to be stingy at times when they can reasonably expect to sell most seats.

But this blackout is not reasonable. Really, not one seat in March via DFW, ORD, CLT, ORD, PHL? I have gritted my teeth through several chart devaluations, but those were quantitative degradations, while this is a qualitative one. I have some seats already booked and paid on AA in the next month, and I will feel as if I am earning unusable miles while I'm on those flights. I have already earned EP for 2018, but unless they reverse course on this, that will probably be the last year I will qualify.
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Old Apr 22, 2017, 10:31 am
  #853  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,440
Originally Posted by PHXflier
DL was this way a few years ago, and now they have excellent redemption opportunities (18,000 miles R/T across the country, 11,000 miles R/T for shorter hops, etc.). I guess that someone in ATL figured out that cutting the number of miles you earn and asking a zillion miles for a free flight is not going to endear any customers. So, maybe the tide will turn for AA as well when they see that the US-inherited strategy really does not work. One can only hope .
I think it varies, especially with DL. 180k miles each way on DL for first/business from ALB to HNL. (and that's starting if you don't want lie-flat seats). AA had lie flats for 67.5k each way.

But it depends on where/when you want to go. That's why I don't think it makes sense to pile all your miles in one basket. I do like that AA doesn't vary their miles based upon load like Delta does ("Oh, look, lots of people are interested in this flight, all of a sudden it'll cost you 300k miles on Delta now).

I'd say based upon my latest experience trying to get "cheap" flights to Hawaii in first, either you have to be very, very, flexible (like last minute, 2 days out type of thing), or fly coach. Especially from the East Coast. Apparently if you can fly out of LAX/SEA/SAN, you can usually find the cheaper awards (even first/business) maybe 1-3 weeks out. But of course, by then, you'll pay through the nose for hotels/etc.
hurnik is offline  
Old Apr 23, 2017, 10:32 am
  #854  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,358
Where is the logic to running a loyalty program like this?

On a recent international flight, I noticed that there were more than twenty empty business class seats when the aircraft departed.

During the flight, I commented to one of the flight attendants about the number of empty seats in business. The flight attendant said "it has happened a lot lately over the past few months."

I have another international flight tonight. Looking at aa.com, I noticed that there are still 15 empty seats in business on my flight.

Out of curiosity, I looked at AA's site (aa.com) that shows award space availability. AA's chart for tonight shows zero saver awards. It also shows anytime redemptions for this flight (one-way) to be at 150,000 miles.

Why are there no business saver awards for this flight when there are so many empty business class seats? Why is the mileage requirement almost three times more than the saver award requirement, considering that there are so many empty seats?

Out of further curiosity, I checked the same flight number for tomorrow. The aa.com site shows 23 empty seats in business. The site also shows zero saver awards available.

With the AA site, it is possible to click a few more buttons and see availability for this itinerary for the remainder of the year. Doing so, shows zero saver awards for the entire remainder of the year. The mileage requirement for "anytime" awards range from 110,000 to 195,000 (one-way).

Why has AA devalued its loyalty program to a point that allows its aircraft to depart with large quantities of empty business class seats that could be filled if saver awards were not blocked?

Treating loyal passengers this way is counter to the function of a loyalty program.


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Last edited by dgcpaphd; Apr 23, 2017 at 10:37 am
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Old Apr 23, 2017, 10:32 am
  #855  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 5,270
Already being discussed here:
MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity discussion
rjw242 is offline  

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