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HELP DESK: MileSAAver / SAAver award questions, assistance

HELP DESK: MileSAAver / SAAver award questions, assistance

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Old May 26, 19, 2:51 am   -   Wikipost
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HELP DESK: MileSAAver / SAAver Award Availability - Help, Assistance & Discussion

Some of you might have found your thread merged into this "consolidated" thread. If your desire is to become thoroughly familiar with the knowledge that has been accumulated about the process for acquiring MileSAAver awards feel free to read this entire thread. If you only want the assistance from those who have the knowledge your request has been merged at the end. Feel free to wait for a forthcoming answer.

If you have reached this thread by using the search process you have the same choices as above. Read the thread and become knowledgeable or post at the end and wait for a forthcoming answer.

thanks
~magic111


NOTE: for more detailed fare rules, see AA oneworld & Other Airline Partner Award information, rules (master thd)

Awards can generally be held for five days; five day extensions require continued availability of your flights and generating a new award booking and five day hold.

Though AA can start releasing awards 331 days from the desired flight date (even though some other airlines might make award seats available to their members 355 days out), it’s very likely award seats may be released a few days after that. If seats aren’t sold and Revenue Management algorithms signify slow sales, more seats might be released going forward.


Airlines that can be booked for award travel on aa.com

oneworld alliance airline partners
  • AA - American Airlines
  • BA - British Airways (awards incur significant YQ surcharge)
  • AY - Finnair
  • IB - Iberia
  • QF - Qantas
  • QR - Qatar Airways
  • RJ - Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 - S7 Airlines
  • UL - Sri Lankan Airlines
other airline partners
  • AS - Alaska Airlines
  • 9K - Cape Air (but only certain cities)
  • TN - Air Tahiti Nui
  • EY - Etihad
  • HA - Hawaiian Airlines


All others must be requested by telephone; see Note below.

NOTE: To search for partner awards, go to advanced search from the awards search or home page and select all airlines.


Full list of oneworld airline partners (and their affiliates)
  • AA - American Airlines
  • BA - British Airways (Cityflyer, Comair, OpenSkies, Sun-Air of Scandinavia)
  • CX - Cathay Pacific (Dragonair)
  • AY - Finnair (Flybe)
  • IB - Iberia (Air Nostrum, Iberia Express)
  • JL - Japan Airlines (JAL Express, J-Air, Japan Transocean Air)
  • LA- LAN Airlines (LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador, LAN Express, LAN Colombia, LAN Peru only, merging with JJ to LATAM)
  • MH - Malaysia Airlines
  • QF - Qantas Airways (QantasLink, Jetconnect)
  • QR - Qatar Airways
  • RJ - Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 - S7 Airlines (Globus) (excludes Siberia / far eastern Russia awards)
  • UL - SriLankan Airlines
  • JJ - TAM Airlines (merged with LA to LATAM)

When you do call, you might want to search for award space on the flights you want and tell the agent about those flights; sometimes AA agents won't find award seats unless they search by segment.

When using other airline web sites or tools to search for award availability, it’s best to do so by segment rather than by trip. E. g. BA May show availability SAN-LHR and LHR-AMS, but not SAN-AMS. And in some instances (EY, FJ, etc.) AA US may not see availability that AA Australia or New Zealand might see.

Full list of additional airline partners offering award redemptions
  • 9K - Cape Air
  • AS - Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
  • CZ - China Southern Airlines
  • EY - Etihad Airways
  • FJ - Fiji Airways
  • GF - Gulf Air*
  • HA - Hawaiian Airlines
  • TN - Air Tahiti Nui


*April 30, 2018, was the last day to fly and earn miles on Gulf Air. All award travel must be booked and ticketed by that date. Travel is valid for 1 year after ticket date but must be flown by April 30, 2019. You won’t be able to make changes to any Gulf Air segments after April 30, 2018.

NOTE: Ticketing charge


Code:
oneworld Partners Award Fare Codes First-Business-Economy
 --------------------------------------------------------
 AA - American Airlines Z U T
 --------------------------------------------------------
 AY – Finnair U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 BA – British Airways Z U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 CX – Cathay Pacific Z U T
 KA - DragonAir
 --------------------------------------------------------
 IB – Iberia U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 JL – Japan Airlines (Intl) Z U T
 JL – Japan Airlines (Dom) Z D S
 --------------------------------------------------------
 LATAM Group
 JJ - TAM Airlines O I X
 LA – LAN Chile Z U T
 XL - LAN Ecuador
 LP - LAN Peru
 4M - LAN Argentina
 --------------------------------------------------------
 MH - Malaysia Airlines P U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 QF - QANTAS Airways P U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 QR - Qatar Airways Z U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 RJ – Royal Jordanian U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 S7 – S7 Airlines U E
 --------------------------------------------------------
 UL - SriLankan Airlines
 --------------------------------------------------------
 
 Other Partners First Business Economy
 --------------------------------------------------------
 CZ– China Southern Airways (unknown)
 --------------------------------------------------------
 FJ – Fiji Airways U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 TN – Air Tahiti Nui F for Business U for Economy
 --------------------------------------------------------
 AS – Alaska Airlines A W
 --------------------------------------------------------
 LY – El Al Israel P X E
 --------------------------------------------------------
 EY - Etihad O I N
 --------------------------------------------------------
 HA – Hawaiian Airlines D T
 --------------------------------------------------------
Effective February 16, 2015, a Reservations Ticketing Service Charge of $30.00 for domestic itineraries and $40.00 for international itineraries will be applied by AA Reservations when ticketing award reservations that can be booked on aa.com. The charge is waived for award reservations that cannot be booked on aa.com including reduced mileage awards, and for Executive Platinums. N.B. Executive Platinums booking award for non-EP will pay the service charges.
NOTE: Rather than release SAAver Awards at 330 days out, AA generally delays 48 hours after the 330 day time period has begun, at or about midnight Central time.

Other rules that may affect your awards:

Award Rules

American Airlines Awards are valid for travel on flights that are marketed and operated by AA (no codeshares). These awards can be booked online at AA.com.

oneworld and Other Airline awards are valid for travel on AA and any of its partner airlines, and can include travel on multiple partners. Many of these awards must be booked over the phone, and will not incur a Ticketing Service Charge (waived for EXPs in any case) if they cannot be booked online.
Up to four one-way awards can be booked on a single PNR. Codeshares are not bookable as Awards.

MPM or Maximum Permitted Miles: A Fare or award may not exceed the most direct routing by more than 25% (unless the fare routing includes a ticketed point deduction (essentially a miles allowance that extends MPM). See MPM / Maximum Permitted Mileage & Ticketed Point Deductions (merged threads).

Stopovers and Connections

Stopovers are no longer allowed on AA awards. Stopovers will require multiple awards.

Connections are limited to two connections / three flight segments for domestic awards, and three connections / four flight segments for international awards as of Aug 2017. Link

Domestic Connections must be under 4 hours for domestic flights, with some exceptions: "LIFO" (Last In - First Out connections are generally allowed.

Hawaii itinerary: Effective on 14 Jul 2014 on an all-AA-metal award itinerary, you now have up to 18 hours to connect when traveling to/from Hawaii. NOTE: Hawaii interisland connections must be separate awards and can not be included as part of a mainland-island award.

International Connections must generally not exceed 23:59 hours. Some leeway has occasionally been granted when connecting flights are not daily. If the itinerary includes an international flight, the rules for international connections apply. Link to these courtesy of JonNYC.

If there is a non-stop flight that departs after the 4h / 23h59m windows and arrives at the destination earlier than a connecting flight within the 4h / 23h59m window, the passenger may be booked on the non-stop flight. It may be difficult getting some agents to book this.

"Most Significant Carrier" rule: To price as a single award, AAdvantage requires the most significant carrier to publish a cash fare (non-constructed) between the origin and destination. Airline MSC (e.g. DFW-SFO-HKG-BKK, CX SFO-HKG is the prevailing or most significant carrier) would have to have a published fare from XXX to YYY that allows travel on all included airlines, and routing that you want. If the MSC only offers constructed fares between your desired origin and destination, AA will price this as two awards.

Constructed fares: Another rule disallows awards where the fare must be constructed (also referred to as "YY"): Using a partner, the trip will require two awards if the governing carrier (e,g. airline operating on the major route, such as transpacific carrier) doesn't publish a through fare that includes the award's proposed origin and destination that allows the carriers proposed.

See this thread about examples using TN.

Married Segment Logic - a prospective trip may be available when searching segment by segment, yet not be bookable through from origin to destination. When selling seats for through flights and the desired inventory is not available, you cannot opt to sell the flight point-to-point. If sold point-to-point, the error response MULTIPLE SEGMENTS FOR SAME FLIGHT - SELL AS ONE SEGMENT will be received, indicating this booking is not allowed. Overriding the error check by ending the PNR twice is not acceptable.

See Award with available segments not bookable? (Married Segment issues)
Resources

NOTE: New award charts are posted on AA.com from time to time. See the American Airlines charts here and the oneworld and partner award charts here.
Some airlines or areas have different, extra or special characteristics for securing awards. See

aa.com Basic (front page) vs Advanced Award Search Results (abbreviated results for front page search vs. Advanced award search)

AAdvantage awards to / from Australia, New Zealand link

AAdvantage awards to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador link

AAdvantage awards on Air Tahiti Nui link

AAdvantage awards using British Airways incurring (avoiding) high fees link

AAdvantage award on Cathay Pacific (and Cathay Dragon) link

AAdvantage awards using Etihad Airways link

AAdvantage awards using Fiji Airways link

AAdvantage awards using Japan Airlines link

AAdvantage awards using Qantas Airways link

AAdvantage awards on S7 (Siberian) Airlines link
Awards assistance tools: Use at your own risk; may not be up to date. These are not recommendations.
  • Check this oneworld interactive map and timetable by Innosked to see potential routes.

  • British Airways Executive Club: You can sign up for British Airways Executive Club, Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank or Qantas Frequent Flyer to use their sites to find awards (look for the lowest level awards) you can't see on aa.com. BA in particular is prone to show "phantom" availability.

  • See this article by the Points Guy on BA and Qantas for award searching.

  • See this article to new online tool from Japan Airlines by Australian Frequent Flyer

  • Award booking services - list and reviews (FT thread)

  • Award Nexus: It's easy to do your experiments for some free browsing (click "more signup options" under the green Purchase button to sign up with your FlyerTalk login info). You might want to run each segment rather than origin to destination. Or use this link to use with your FT login: https://awardnexus.com/user/login?url=%2F.


    Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
    ...Award Nexus is free (up to a point) for FlyerTalk users. Click "more signup options" under the green Purchase button to sign up for free as a FlyerTalk member.


    “What I like about Award Nexus is it has a much nicer user interface than BA and lets you choose whether to search through BA and/or QF, and as you can see each of those may give somewhat different results.”


    The "cost" to do all these searches once was a total of 12 points, and you get 200 points free when you signup, and then every 90 days you can reload 100 more points for free (once you're below 10 points). So that gives an idea of how many searches could do free...


  • AwardAce: Compare Award Redemptions Across Airlines In Seconds

  • AwardHacker: "a tool we build to tell you how to travel with the least miles"

  • Award Nexus: which can search availability but can't determine cost, with FT member free limited use

  • Economical Excursionist's Tools: compare Frequent Flyer Mile Redemptions

  • ExpertFlyer is a common tool used on FT. There is a $99.99 annual fee, monthly fee and five day trial

  • Great Circle Mapper is useful for calculating distance and MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage)

  • You can try PEX+ (currently in beta), which will even tell you how many miles you'll need, though it draws data from aa.com and S7 so it can't reveal awards that can not be seen on those sites.

  • Travel Codex Award Maximiser commercial blog


Also see:

aa.com Basic (front page) vs Advanced Award Search Results

Phantom / false AA award availability with AA partners (consolidated)

oneworld and Other Airline (Partner) Awards info, rules 2014 on

Help with British Airways / BA surcharge / YQ (AA award on BA, consolidated) (Awards using BA incur significant "YQ" surcharges.)

UK APD / Air Passenger Duty charged for UK departures[/quote] (Flights originating in the UK other than INV or BFS - or connections 24:00 or over - incur UK Air Passenger Duty excise taxes.)

MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity >= Aug 2011 onward (consolidated)

Older posts from 2017 have been archived to: this archive thread

Older posts from 2016 have been archived to: this archive thread

Older posts through 2015 have been archived to: this archive thread
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Old Aug 29, 18, 7:29 pm
  #466  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
Posts: 5,505
Originally Posted by gumercindo View Post
If I'm based in the DC area, what's the best connecting city for me to fly out of in order to get to Spain (doesn't matter if it's BCN or MAD)? Looking at sAAver award in Y or J Would like to avoid LHR/BA, obvi..
Whatever city you can find availability through on your preferred date.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 7:54 pm
  #467  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 469
I guess I'll ask it another way. Right now for 10-11 months out, sAAver J class is non-existent except for a connecting one through LHR via BA for 57.5k miles one way. I only have redeemed J via UA and my experience has been that availability fluctuates throughout the year and I've been able to secure multiple J class saver redemptions as little as 7 months out.

Does this happen with AA or is it much rarer to find J sAAver availbility pop up 8-9 months out?
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Old Aug 29, 18, 8:45 pm
  #468  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 321
Originally Posted by gumercindo View Post
I guess I'll ask it another way. Right now for 10-11 months out, sAAver J class is non-existent except for a connecting one through LHR via BA for 57.5k miles one way. I only have redeemed J via UA and my experience has been that availability fluctuates throughout the year and I've been able to secure multiple J class saver redemptions as little as 7 months out.

Does this happen with AA or is it much rarer to find J sAAver availbility pop up 8-9 months out?
I've found certain partner awards to pop up like this, but only closer to departure for AA awards. Though this is maybe not true of all routes AA flies internationally though. The last redemption I tracked was to Australia for AA metal, Spain for partner.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 5:34 am
  #469  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
Posts: 5,505
Originally Posted by gumercindo View Post
I guess I'll ask it another way. Right now for 10-11 months out, sAAver J class is non-existent except for a connecting one through LHR via BA for 57.5k miles one way. I only have redeemed J via UA and my experience has been that availability fluctuates throughout the year and I've been able to secure multiple J class saver redemptions as little as 7 months out.

Does this happen with AA or is it much rarer to find J sAAver availbility pop up 8-9 months out?
There's no hard and fast rule for AA, but generally speaking, as long as your dates are flexible, there's a very good chance that better options will open up over the next 11 months.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:32 am
  #470  
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Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
I didn't check.

Let me emphasize that the deep discounted fares became available only the day before the flight; they did not display when I was checking daily for several days beforehand.
I am starting to see what you describe: DEEP discount fares are popping up on the unsold domestic routes I'm looking at, but in my case a few days before departure. I'm seeing $69 Basic Economy fares, while the cheapest "normal" coach fare is still over $500. They have not loaded any award seats on these flights, which seems like algorithmic incompetence to me: why would you sell $69 fares and not 12,5000 mile award seats, when most of the folks redeeming those fares would get hit with high last-minute fees?

BTW, it's a shame I can't put a ticket bought less than 7 days in advance "on hold" on aa.com. If I buy it from a third part website, is it still refundable within 24 hours? The flights that have loaded are better, but not "perfect" for me: I'm trying to decide whether to "risk it" and hold out for better.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:45 am
  #471  
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
If I buy it from a third part website, is it still refundable within 24 hours? .
Yes, if you buy from an OTA that offers a 24 hour refund policy (Expedia, Orbitz, etc...), you get the 24 hour refund provision on an AA ticket sold inside 7 days.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 12:41 pm
  #472  
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
Yes, if you buy from an OTA that offers a 24 hour refund policy (Expedia, Orbitz, etc...), you get the 24 hour refund provision on an AA ticket sold inside 7 days.
Thanks. That's quite useful in my situation. I do have an AA gift card that I'd prefer to use but, in this situation, it would seem wise to save that and use an OTA.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 11:21 am
  #473  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Coconut Creek, FL
Programs: AA Lifetime Platinum-2 MM Starwood Plat,Delta DM
Posts: 942
I just booked two award tickets today. I am a lifetime Plat. I needed to use the miles in my account for my ticket and we needed to book my wife using her miles plus 1500 from my account for this business class award. In the past they have booked these tickets in my account and pushed the miles from my wife (if needed). I have not done this in a while. Today I had to pay $42.00 to transfer 1500 miles to her account and the rep was more than happy to book the tickets charging me an additional $75.00 close in booking fee for her ticket. Is this the current policy? I know these things change all the time.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 11:26 am
  #474  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
Programs: AA EXP 2MM, SK EBS
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Originally Posted by robertw477 View Post
I just booked two award tickets today. I am a lifetime Plat. I needed to use the miles in my account for my ticket and we needed to book my wife using her miles plus 1500 from my account for this business class award. In the past they have booked these tickets in my account and pushed the miles from my wife (if needed). I have not done this in a while. Today I had to pay $42.00 to transfer 1500 miles to her account and the rep was more than happy to book the tickets charging me an additional $75.00 close in booking fee for her ticket. Is this the current policy? I know these things change all the time.
Yep, both fees are correct, assuming your wife doesn't have any status and would be subject to the $75 close in fee.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 11:34 am
  #475  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by robertw477 View Post
I just booked two award tickets today. I am a lifetime Plat. I needed to use the miles in my account for my ticket and we needed to book my wife using her miles plus 1500 from my account for this business class award. In the past they have booked these tickets in my account and pushed the miles from my wife (if needed). I have not done this in a while. Today I had to pay $42.00 to transfer 1500 miles to her account and the rep was more than happy to book the tickets charging me an additional $75.00 close in booking fee for her ticket. Is this the current policy? I know these things change all the time.
I thought that was always the policy, unless they waived the fee to transfer miles as a courtesy. You could also just buy miles directly, https://buymiles.americanairlines.com/en/buygift (Also, if your wife was anticipating miles to post next month, sometimes AA lets your account go slightly negative. They did this for me once, but it was quite a long time ago.)
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Old Aug 31, 18, 3:45 pm
  #476  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Coconut Creek, FL
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey View Post
Yep, both fees are correct, assuming your wife doesn't have any status and would be subject to the $75 close in fee.

Thanks for the info. I guess these days they are figuring every possible way to generate revenue. Maybe in the past they just did it as a courtesy

Thanks
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Old Sep 7, 18, 3:05 pm
  #477  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 517
How is AA on releasing SAAver awards for domestic itineraries? I'm looking at flights around Thanksgiving (I know, I know,...), and I'm very flexible on both departure and arrival airports, and don't have a problem with reasonable connections. Still, I haven't been able to find anything that works for me. I guess I'm wondering whether saver space tends to open daily or in batches or what? Just so that I know the best strategy for looking - and it's a lot of combinations to check due to married segments and my flexibility.
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Old Sep 7, 18, 3:50 pm
  #478  
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One can't predict when saver awards will open. Use ExperFlyer award alerts. Don't be too surprised if you approach within 3 weeks of travel and have never seen saver awards.
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Old Sep 8, 18, 2:13 pm
  #479  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by beltway View Post
Because the AA award-search engine is <Scottish_accent>crrrrrap!</Scottish_accent>
Your obscure, early-90s SNL ref isn't lost on me...
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Old Sep 9, 18, 6:32 am
  #480  
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Originally Posted by klanfa View Post
How is AA on releasing SAAver awards for domestic itineraries? I'm looking at flights around Thanksgiving (I know, I know,...), and I'm very flexible on both departure and arrival airports, and don't have a problem with reasonable connections. Still, I haven't been able to find anything that works for me. I guess I'm wondering whether saver space tends to open daily or in batches or what? Just so that I know the best strategy for looking - and it's a lot of combinations to check due to married segments and my flexibility.
Don't expect award flights on the most heavily booked days of the year (which I think includes the Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

If the flights actually operate then (some flights are cancelled that day), Thanksgiving Day itself may hold the best chance, because by then fewer people are traveling.

There's no pattern to how award seats get released, once you pass 11 months out (which was over half a year ago). Not that it's dependable even then, but that's the closest it seems to get to patterns.
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