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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 May 18, 2017, 10:35 am
  #1066  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Durham, NC USA
Programs: AA EXP and 1MM, UA 1K, HH Lifetime Diamond
Posts: 424
Originally Posted by sdsearch
... For example, it might be nice (but might involve more than 5 minutes of programming) to have more domestic award availability that's "reserved" for connections to overseas flights, rather than making each leg of a flight either available or unavailable separately. I see countless posts where someone finds an overseas flight but never finds a way to connect to it domestically on the same ticket.
This is my biggest problem with the AAdvantage program now.

On my First Class Etihad trip this year it was impossible to get sAAver availability on the domestic legs. Finally got sAAver economy (two flights instead of direct) for both outbound and return.

I've just booked Qantas Business Class tickets for JFK-LAX-SYD but nothing available in sAAver (coach or first/business) to get me from RDU to JFK. Same problem on the return.
DevilDawg1960 is offline  
Old May 18, 2017, 10:37 am
  #1067  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: SNA
Posts: 924
Originally Posted by rjw242
I said it was a combination of changes to the AAdvantage program and fares not being competitive (both true though fares are the primary reason... but I didn't tell her that ). She read my replies back to me to ensure she had them correct, thanked me for my feedback, and assured me that responses are being tracked and presented to management. Shrug.
I got the same call. Gave the same feedback...program devaluation, no award availability, SWUs from 8 to 4, upgrade-clearing debacle. She mentioned I have a large mileage balance. I said it does me no good if I can't use them.

Told her I went from flying AA exclusively to shopping my business around.

She said they are getting similar feedback from other customers. Shocker. At least she didn't offer any "we're working on it" platitudes.

She did, however, deposit 10k miles in my account for my time.
pmblinn is offline  
Old May 18, 2017, 10:43 am
  #1068  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: WAS
Posts: 1,617
Originally Posted by pmblinn
She did, however, deposit 10k miles in my account for my time.
The irony, and in my opinion, this just demonstrates the company just doesn't get it (or, if it does, it doesn't care). She mentioned to you that you have a large mileage balance, you said you can't use the miles and she gave you more miles.

AA really has destroyed what used to be a great FF program.
Ross0 is offline  
Old May 18, 2017, 10:46 am
  #1069  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: SNA
Posts: 924
Originally Posted by Ross0
The irony, and in my opinion, this just demonstrates the company just doesn't get it (or, if it does, it doesn't care). She mentioned to you that you have a large mileage balance, you said you can't use the miles and she gave you more miles.
The irony wasn't lost on me. Glass of water to a drowning man...
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Old May 18, 2017, 11:08 am
  #1070  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Programs: US CP, MR Gold, SPG Gold, Hyatt Plat
Posts: 441
Originally Posted by sdsearch
For example, it might be nice (but might involve more than 5 minutes of programming) to have more domestic award availability that's "reserved" for connections to overseas flights, rather than making each leg of a flight either available or unavailable separately. I see countless posts where someone finds an overseas flight but never finds a way to connect to it domestically on the same ticket.
Ha funny you mention that. Just snagged two ORD-NRT JL F award seats for this summer. Felt great they were available. But AAgent couldn't find any DCA/IAD/BWI-ORD in saver to get me to ORD. Turns out the early morning DCA-ORD flight was selling for $99 (most expensive of the big 3, UA was $59, DL was $69). So AA won by coercing me into buying a $99 connection which otherwise would have been included in the award ticket and using my miles on other airlines...Going for great baby!

Go Gators
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Old May 18, 2017, 11:10 am
  #1071  
 
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 CurbedEnthusiasm
Not sure this is the right thread, but it's the best fit I can find.

I have a "what would you do?" scenario.

Due to the scarcity of sAAver awards as well as AA's frustrating routing rules from the US to Africa, I have two options:

1) BA J, 75K miles + $533 hideous surcharge/taxes
2) EY J, 125K miles (because it's priced as 2 separate awards) + $50 taxes

Seems crazy to spend so many more miles on EY vs. BA, but with AA miles being so worthless, I'm tempted to go for EY over BA since I might as well burn through my points, plus I'd save a boatload on fees. Not to mention EY having a superior product to BA. Any thoughts?
Have you looked for availability on QR? It's a single award if flying QR on both legs via DOH.
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Old May 18, 2017, 11:27 am
  #1072  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: BMI based alternates CMI/PIA/ORD/IND/STL
Programs: AA Platinum Lifetime, Hilton Lifetime Diamond
Posts: 367
Originally Posted by CurbedEnthusiasm
Not sure this is the right thread, but it's the best fit I can find.

I have a "what would you do?" scenario.

Due to the scarcity of sAAver awards as well as AA's frustrating routing rules from the US to Africa, I have two options:

1) BA J, 75K miles + $533 hideous surcharge/taxes
2) EY J, 125K miles (because it's priced as 2 separate awards) + $50 taxes

Seems crazy to spend so many more miles on EY vs. BA, but with AA miles being so worthless, I'm tempted to go for EY over BA since I might as well burn through my points, plus I'd save a boatload on fees. Not to mention EY having a superior product to BA. Any thoughts?
I would avoid BA to Africa at all costs. Nothing like standing in the Nairobi airport 10pm at night on my mobile phone back to Amex Travel in the US trying to get on a plane I had a ticket for but they had no record of me.
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Old May 18, 2017, 11:42 am
  #1073  
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Originally Posted by Paulchili
Have you looked for availability on QR? It's a single award if flying QR on both legs via DOH.
@:-) (unless maybe poster meant he's checked availability on that option already and neglected to mention it.)

Originally Posted by aspex
I would avoid BA to Africa at all costs. Nothing like standing in the Nairobi airport 10pm at night on my mobile phone back to Amex Travel in the US trying to get on a plane I had a ticket for but they had no record of me.
You're right-- there is nothing like that, nor would it be worth making a decision in this case based on you having had that experience.
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Old May 18, 2017, 12:38 pm
  #1074  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Gold
Posts: 2,388
Originally Posted by pmblinn
The irony wasn't lost on me. Glass of water to a drowning man...
Hahaha wow - how tone deaf are they? I mean seriously. If they can dole out 10K miles, they can just as easily give you a $50 AA gift card at the very least. That would be a much better way to win back your business IMHO.

Reminds me of an experience I had just after the merger (prior to the mAAsacre) - flight went mx, rebooked on DL. Of course I don't have status nor a DL credit card so had to pay the bag fee. I emailed AA asking for reimbursement. They gave me 5K miles. I wrote back saying that was ridiculous, I don't want 5K miles, I want $25. They actually replied with a $50 gift card! Kept me loyal back then anyway.
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Old May 18, 2017, 12:41 pm
  #1075  
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Originally Posted by GNVGator
Ha funny you mention that. Just snagged two ORD-NRT JL F award seats for this summer. Felt great they were available. But AAgent couldn't find any DCA/IAD/BWI-ORD in saver to get me to ORD. Turns out the early morning DCA-ORD flight was selling for $99 (most expensive of the big 3, UA was $59, DL was $69). So AA won by coercing me into buying a $99 connection which otherwise would have been included in the award ticket and using my miles on other airlines...Going for great baby!

Go Gators
Wow. That's pathetic.
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Old May 18, 2017, 1:03 pm
  #1076  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,698
Originally Posted by sdsearch
To add quickly while "losing money" is easy.

I think what she means is they want to figure out how to add it without giving upper management any reason to think it's going to lose them money.

Ie, how to find the cases where making awards available doesn't reduce purchases.

That's presumably "easy" only in the case of last minute awards on flights which are going out near-empty up front.
First, it's worth pointing out that some of the recent coverage shows that even those last-minute seats on near-empty cabins are often not being released.

But second, at some point you'd hope that they recognize that they're losing money by not releasing inventory as well. It's probably even harder to model/calculate, but I suspect it's not just the people chiming in on this thread who are shifting business and miles-earning away from AA which is a real cost to their current behavior.
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Old May 18, 2017, 1:10 pm
  #1077  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 490
Originally Posted by Paulchili
Have you looked for availability on QR? It's a single award if flying QR on both legs via DOH.
Yes, that was my first choice, but zero availability +/- 2 weeks of my desired departure.
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Old May 18, 2017, 1:38 pm
  #1078  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 5,146
Originally Posted by GNVGator
Ha funny you mention that. Just snagged two ORD-NRT JL F award seats for this summer. Felt great they were available. But AAgent couldn't find any DCA/IAD/BWI-ORD in saver to get me to ORD. Turns out the early morning DCA-ORD flight was selling for $99 (most expensive of the big 3, UA was $59, DL was $69). So AA won by coercing me into buying a $99 connection which otherwise would have been included in the award ticket and using my miles on other airlines...Going for great baby!

Go Gators
Yep pretty much. I got JL F/J awards to/from JFK over the holidays but couldn't find anything on the BOS-NYC nonstops to connect with the JL flights at the time of ticketing. Instead, I found BOS-DCA-LGA on the outbound and, wait for it, LGA-RDU-DCA-BOS on the return. All in Y at that.

My strategy here relied on:
(1) searching EF for any award availability between BOS and any East Coast hub (DCA, PHL, CLT, even ORD) and then finding ways to get between those hubs and NYC. On the return, since there was nothing available NYC-DCA, I got even more creative and searched connecting cities with nonstop service to both NYC and DCA, hence RDU.
(2) counting on some schedule changes, award availability dumps, or random openings sometime between April, when I issued the ticket, and December/January. The LGA-RDU-DCA-BOS has connections in RDU and DCA that are <10 minutes above MCT, so I'm confident a meaningful change will come out of that in the next 8 months and enable me to switch to a better routing.

For me, at the end of the day, it's all about having one ticket BOS-Japan and vice versa, mostly to guard against IRROPS. And also refusing to give AA that $99 or whatever it is on principle.
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Old May 18, 2017, 3:48 pm
  #1079  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Melbourne, Florida, USA
Posts: 2,965
Originally Posted by dkc192
Yep pretty much. I got JL F/J awards to/from JFK over the holidays but couldn't find anything on the BOS-NYC nonstops to connect with the JL flights at the time of ticketing. Instead, I found BOS-DCA-LGA on the outbound and, wait for it, LGA-RDU-DCA-BOS on the return. All in Y at that.

My strategy here relied on:
(1) searching EF for any award availability between BOS and any East Coast hub (DCA, PHL, CLT, even ORD) and then finding ways to get between those hubs and NYC. On the return, since there was nothing available NYC-DCA, I got even more creative and searched connecting cities with nonstop service to both NYC and DCA, hence RDU.
(2) counting on some schedule changes, award availability dumps, or random openings sometime between April, when I issued the ticket, and December/January. The LGA-RDU-DCA-BOS has connections in RDU and DCA that are <10 minutes above MCT, so I'm confident a meaningful change will come out of that in the next 8 months and enable me to switch to a better routing.

For me, at the end of the day, it's all about having one ticket BOS-Japan and vice versa, mostly to guard against IRROPS. And also refusing to give AA that $99 or whatever it is on principle.
Can you book something like LGA-RDU-DCA-BOS online or do you have to call?
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Old May 18, 2017, 4:14 pm
  #1080  
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Originally Posted by dkc192
Yep pretty much. I got JL F/J awards to/from JFK over the holidays but couldn't find anything on the BOS-NYC nonstops to connect with the JL flights at the time of ticketing. Instead, I found BOS-DCA-LGA on the outbound and, wait for it, LGA-RDU-DCA-BOS on the return. All in Y at that.

My strategy here relied on:
(1) searching EF for any award availability between BOS and any East Coast hub (DCA, PHL, CLT, even ORD) and then finding ways to get between those hubs and NYC. On the return, since there was nothing available NYC-DCA, I got even more creative and searched connecting cities with nonstop service to both NYC and DCA, hence RDU.
(2) counting on some schedule changes, award availability dumps, or random openings sometime between April, when I issued the ticket, and December/January. The LGA-RDU-DCA-BOS has connections in RDU and DCA that are <10 minutes above MCT, so I'm confident a meaningful change will come out of that in the next 8 months and enable me to switch to a better routing.

For me, at the end of the day, it's all about having one ticket BOS-Japan and vice versa, mostly to guard against IRROPS. And also refusing to give AA that $99 or whatever it is on principle.
i wouldnt count on schedule changes giving you access to a better routing. Last time I ran into that, AA refused to open up availability on their own medal, no matter how many times or how nicelt I asked.

(and my connection didnt just drop below MCT, it dropped to a negative value. options given to me were 1) wait and see what happens/if something opens up later 2) cancel )
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