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FAQ: aavacations.com / AA Vacations flight & vacation package questions, discussion

FAQ: aavacations.com / AA Vacations flight & vacation package questions, discussion

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Old Feb 1, 18, 2:20 am   -   Wikipost
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AA Vacations / aavacations.com Flight and Ground Packages
Trust American Airlines to offer you the perfect package at the best price, guaranteed! When you choose to bundle your travel components into one package price we can offer you an unbeatable value by combining our unpublished low rates on flights with specially negotiated rates on hotels, activities and transportation. So, whether you're looking for a quick flight plus hotel weekend getaway or an all-inclusive package complete with flight, hotel, ground transportation and tickets to local attractions, you can rest easy knowing the entire trip is covered by our Lowest Price Guarantee.
Link to AA Vacations site website

FAQ

Q. Do these earn AA EQM, Award Miles (RDM) and EQD (EQ Dollars in 2017)?

These generally book into discount paid fare buckets, so "Yes" at this time. There are a few promotional offers that do not earn EQM; these will clearly say so, so read thoroughly. See:

Special fares: Earning Award Miles and Elite Qualifying Credits on aa.com (link)

Earning AA Elite Qualifying Miles / EQM on AA, oneworld, partners 2016

and this for the changes affecting Award Miles coming in the latter part of 2016.

Earning AA Award / Redeemable Miles / RDM on AA, partners later 2016


Q. Can I upgrade these with AA upgrade instruments (e500 "stickers", miles and copay, SWU)?

Currently, yes. These would follow the standard AA upgrade rules.


Q. Can I use AAadvantage Award Miles to "pay" for a vacation?

Yes. You can "pay" with money (cards, etc.), AAdvantage miles or a combination of both. However, miles may not be used to pay for the airfare portion of the vacation, only the ground portion.


Q. If I use AAdvantage Aware Miles to pay for part of my vacation, does this impact upgrades or EQM/RDM for the flights?(RDM)?

No. Because the miles are used only for the land portion of the vacation (hotel, car, any added trips, etc.) the air portion retains its original rules with regard to upgrades and the earning of EQM/RDM.


Q. So, what kinds of fares are ineligible for earning AA miles?

"Exceptions (aa.com)

There are certain airline ticket types that are not eligible for mileage accrual regardless of the booking class. These include, without limitation, the following:

Q Are there any types of tickets that won’t earn award miles?

Yes, tickets that currently do not earn award miles, elite-qualifying miles or elite-qualifying segments will not earn award miles in the future. This includes:

  • All tickets issued as AAdvantage awards

  • Other free ticket promotions including free or reduced rate tickets

  • Companion tickets

  • Charter flight tickets

  • Travel agency/industry reduced rate tickets

  • Infant tickets

  • Extra seats or items occupying a purchased seat

  • Unpublished fare tickets, including consolidator fares

  • Tickets issued subject to special provisions

Q. What about EQM and Award ("Redeemable") Miles earning later in 2016?

AA has specified a set of "Special Fares", which includes AA Vacations:

Some fares (such as bulk or consolidator fares) earn award miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQDs) at a modified rate based on a percentage of the distance flown as determined by the booking code.

Special fares are often purchased through a specialized agent, third party or as part of a package including air transportation and lodging.

Examples:
  • Bulk fares

  • Cruise fares

  • Consolidator fares

  • Discounted or inclusive tour packages

  • Vacation packages, including American Airlines Vacations® (AAV) packages

  • Other tickets where the fare isn't disclosed, excluding bookings made through priceline.com or hotwire.com where the carrier isn't disclosed before buying
Note that the Special Fares page also says, "AAdvantage elite member bonuses will be applied in addition to the percentages shown for award miles."


Q. What fare classes do First and Business packages book into?

Typically A for international First, A or P domestic F, and I or D international Business.


Q. What if I'm flying on a flight on a partner airline?

AA Vacations most often books into AA "code shares" / AA marketed flights. In that case, you'll earn miles as if flying on American. If it doesn't, you'll earn per the agreement AA has with the partner airline. Start here to look them up.


Q. What advance purchase restrictions are imposed?

Most advance purchase, minimum stay, etc. normally imposed by the airline don't apply; the restrictions are those imposed by AA Vacations. (Detailed Fare Rules for your fare generally do apply, however.)


Q. Are the trips or fares refundable?

Generally not fully refundable. Hotels and ground activities are generally not at all, and air will depend on the fare bucket and detailed rules. AA vacations does offer protection, but hotels etc. may not be included.

"There are two types of protection available: We offer the Cancellation and Change Waiver (Pre-Departure Protection) which allows you to cancel and/or change either the land or air portion of their package without penalty. Trip Protector (Post-Departure protection) from Allianz Global Assistance can provide protection for your trip expenses, your health and your belongings."

A waiver is usually $129.


Q. What is the shortest time I can book an air-hotel package for?

It appears three nights is the shortest period allowed by aavacations. However, those three nights do not need to be at a single property.


Q. Can I book a ten day package with only three days of prepaid hotel?

Sure. You'll have to call to do so, however.
You can change the dates of the hotel to be different from those of the flights in the "More Search Options" section of the search. You can also book multiple rooms here too, specifying the number of guests per room. I don't think you can book hotel to be in a different city though. A hotel in a different city (or continent, even) can be booked, but must be done over the phone.


Q. Is only one hotel offered?

No. A variety of properties is generally offered, but this will of course affect pricing.


Q. Does the hotel have to be in the destination city?

No. You can book a property in another city if it's offered by AA Vacations.


Q. What happens if I don't use the ground part (hotel, car, etc.)? Will they cancel my return flights?

Nothing. You can use it or forget it. No flight cancellations ensue. See AA Vacations - not checking in at Hotel Some purposely book the cheapest pricing for their trip knowing they're choosing a "throwaway hotel" they won't use.

Though one AA Vacations agent actually said "always book with us and just book the cheapest hotel for 3 days and throw it away", don't you say it's your intent.


Q. Will AA Vacations cause problems for me?

If you disclose your intent to AA Vacations to "throw away" (not stay at) the hotel, they can not sell you the package. So, don't.


Q. Will the hotel cause problems for me?

Not likely; they're paid for a prepaid stay whether you stay or not, as they get to keep the money and have "your" room to sell.


Q. Will I earn points at the hotel? Will they recognize my status?

Many chains don't recognize third party bookings for points or stay credit, but will usually recognize your status. Properties will treat as prepaid booking.


Q. Are there ever deals or promos?

Indeed. There are often sales and promotions; look for them on the site.


Q. What if I want to book open jaw or customize?

Calling can do that. There's a $39 call fee, unless it's not able to be booked online. Others have said you can generally calculate the price of an open jaw itinerary by adding half the price of pricing for vacations to the arrival and departure cities and adding those.


Q. Can I put these on "hold" while I think about it since these include air fare?

No. But: Refund of Air Ticket Portion Within 24 Hours of Purchase

Within 24 hours of booking, you are allowed to cancel your refundable or non-refundable air ticket for a full refund (and no change fees and/or difference in fare) subject to the following rules:
  • You must call 800-321-2121 within 24 hours of purchase to cancel the air ticket reservation and request a refund of the air ticket.
  • The reservation must have been booked at least 7 days before scheduled departure.
  • This policy does not apply to hotel or other non-air portions of the package. Standard cancellation policies will apply to all non-air components of the package.
  • Refunds are only issued for tickets booked on aavacations.com or with American Airlines Vacations Reservations.

Q. My AAdvantage credit card earns double Award ("Redeemable") Miles on AA purchases. Will AA Vacations purchases earn 2x miles?

No. What transactions are eligible to earn double AAdvantage® miles?

Eligible American Airlines purchases are items billed by American Airlines as the merchant of record booked through American Airlines channels (aa.com, American Airlines Reservations, American Airlines airport, in-flight and city ticket counters). American Airlines tickets purchased through other channels or that are a component of any other cruise or tour package do not earn the additional mile purchase bonuses. Products or services that do not qualify for the additional bonus miles include car rentals, hotel reservations, American Airlines Vacations packages, purchases of American Airlines AAdvantage miles, duty free purchases and or AA Cargo℠
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Updated by JDiver 19 Feb 2016
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Old Jul 28, 19, 8:36 pm
  #376  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,350
Check with aa on the special fare (bulk travel). Normally when u make a res through an agent yeh confirmations they send do not indicate The *. Seems to be only shown when u use the web

Originally Posted by fanger View Post
I was wondering if anyone has experience with getting special fares (i.e. the * fares) on an open jaw? I recently booked a European open jaw through AA Vacations by calling in. I did check the outbound and knowingly saw that it did not have the * designation, and I thought, but am not 100% sure the return did have the * designation. When I received the confirmation, neither outbound or return had the *. Unfortunately this could be because of any of the following:

1. Return did not have the * and I just missed it.
2. Cannot combine Special fare return with Normal Fare outbound- normal fare ovverrides it. I don't think this is the case cause I can combine * and no * for a normal trip on the website.
3. Open jaw breaks * fares.

I want to book another open jaw and it's critical for me to get the *, which is why I worry.

Alternately, is there a way to get the phone agent to confirm the special fare? I think I've read the whole thread over the years but don't really recall specific mention of this.
Thanks, all.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 1:52 pm
  #377  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Oakland
Programs: AA Explat, UA former 1K + PremExec, DL
Posts: 1,128
Originally Posted by fanger View Post
I was wondering if anyone has experience with getting special fares (i.e. the * fares) on an open jaw? I recently booked a European open jaw through AA Vacations by calling in. I did check the outbound and knowingly saw that it did not have the * designation, and I thought, but am not 100% sure the return did have the * designation. When I received the confirmation, neither outbound or return had the *. Unfortunately this could be because of any of the following:

1. Return did not have the * and I just missed it.
2. Cannot combine Special fare return with Normal Fare outbound- normal fare ovverrides it. I don't think this is the case cause I can combine * and no * for a normal trip on the website.
3. Open jaw breaks * fares.

I want to book another open jaw and it's critical for me to get the *, which is why I worry.

Alternately, is there a way to get the phone agent to confirm the special fare? I think I've read the whole thread over the years but don't really recall specific mention of this.
Thanks, all.
Originally Posted by 777lover View Post
Check with aa on the special fare (bulk travel). Normally when u make a res through an agent yeh confirmations they send do not indicate The *. Seems to be only shown when u use the web

I called in to AAVACATIONS and the agent said the whole trip was a bulk fare. Asked specifically about inbound vs outbound. Don't know if it is true or not; I assume if a trip was not a bulk fare you would see the fare info on the AA.com trip record as usual? Anyway, I was a little surprised because
Originally Posted by brp View Post
You neglected option #4 :

4. Any time one calls and has them do it (at least any of the more than a few times I have done this), it does not show the (*) designation. What I do is to have the agent add a note in the record (it shows in the top section under "Paid in Full" as Agent Comments:) to indicate that this is a special fare purchase. I have several of those in my itinerary now, including one that is, in fact open jaw. I've had this before and never needed intervention as they posted correctly. But I ask for the notification just in case.

Cheers.
I did call in and the agent assured be that both legs were part of a bulk fare, outbound and inbound. I was surprised because when I double checked, the outbound leg of the open jaw was not available with the * as a simple round trip, whilst the inbound legs were available with the *.

I've never gotten non * fares with these trips, so don't have anything to compare to, but I assume if it's a "normal" booking, the fare info will show up in the AA.COM trip record?

This trip is for labor day week, so I guess I'll see soon.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 7:49 pm
  #378  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Oakland
Programs: AA Explat, UA former 1K + PremExec, DL
Posts: 1,128
Originally Posted by 777lover View Post
Many do. I believe it says BF (bulk fare) in their booking and they have taken a pic of the VCR and emailed it to me if prod that the package uses bulk airfare. They will also put in the PNR remarks the bulk airfare and “bulk fare codes and Tour codes.” Then u ask for a keep alive segment after the last flight and if it doesn’t post correctly u can call Aadv customer service and have them look at the PNR and give them the line numbers all the details are on in RMKS. But an email with a print screen of the VCR is probably the simplest.


May I ask, do you routinely ask for the VCR screenshot?
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Old Sep 5, 19, 2:30 pm
  #379  
brp
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Possibly dangerous change to AAVacations booking:

As of today, one can now pay the entire itinerary with miles. Previously, it was only the land portion, which left the air as paid, earning EQM/EQD/EQS.

According to the agent, even booked with miles it still earns EQM (oddly), but no EQD (as expected).

It can still be done (land portion only) but one has to call (and they will waive the fee). He was going to send it up the line to add this as an automated feature, but, as he said "you're ahead of the curve and we haven't thought about this yet."

Be warned for now.

Cheers.
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Old Sep 6, 19, 2:26 am
  #380  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: NYC,SFO
Programs: AY+ Plat, AA Plat, SPG/Marriott Plat Premier, Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 2,685
Originally Posted by brp View Post
Possibly dangerous change to AAVacations booking:

As of today, one can now pay the entire itinerary with miles. Previously, it was only the land portion, which left the air as paid, earning EQM/EQD/EQS.

According to the agent, even booked with miles it still earns EQM (oddly), but no EQD (as expected).

It can still be done (land portion only) but one has to call (and they will waive the fee). He was going to send it up the line to add this as an automated feature, but, as he said "you're ahead of the curve and we haven't thought about this yet."

Be warned for now.

Cheers.
Do you know if the no EQD applies only if the entire booking is paid with points? Or as long as any portion of the flights is paid with points? Thanks.

It actually seems somewhat weird to me that no EQDs are awarded, since under the old system—where only the land portion could be paid with points—EQDs were calculated based on miles flown. The miles flown doesn't change whether cash or points are used for the flights. Otherwise, you would think EQD with AAVacations should have been "fare"-based all along. Put differently, EQMs and EQDs were calculated the same way (i.e., based on miles flown) under the old system, so if flights still earn EQM under this new system they should also still earn EQD.
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Old Sep 6, 19, 5:21 am
  #381  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: CLT
Programs: AA EP, AA AC
Posts: 4,021
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Last edited by GTITAN; Sep 6, 19 at 5:23 am Reason: Found answer to my question
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Old Sep 6, 19, 6:38 am
  #382  
brp
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Originally Posted by flyingeph12 View Post
Do you know if the no EQD applies only if the entire booking is paid with points? Or as long as any portion of the flights is paid with points? Thanks.

It actually seems somewhat weird to me that no EQDs are awarded, since under the old system—where only the land portion could be paid with points—EQDs were calculated based on miles flown. The miles flown doesn't change whether cash or points are used for the flights. Otherwise, you would think EQD with AAVacations should have been "fare"-based all along. Put differently, EQMs and EQDs were calculated the same way (i.e., based on miles flown) under the old system, so if flights still earn EQM under this new system they should also still earn EQD.
I asked the same thing because of the distance base. I guess that rationale is that, if you don't pay any dollars, you get no dollars, even if the dollars are actually calculated based on distance.

I believe (and they just rolled this out, so I would be sure to confirm several times on a future booking) is that full EQD would apply if only the land portion is paid by miles and the rest by cash (and they know this amount), and that no EQD apply if all miles. I don't know if they'd prorate the EQD if more than the land minimum, or make it a hard stop. But I an't takin' no chances

Cheers.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 12:46 pm
  #383  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Oakland
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Originally Posted by fanger View Post
I did call in and the agent assured be that both legs were part of a bulk fare, outbound and inbound. I was surprised because when I double checked, the outbound leg of the open jaw was not available with the * as a simple round trip, whilst the inbound legs were available with the *.

I've never gotten non * fares with these trips, so don't have anything to compare to, but I assume if it's a "normal" booking, the fare info will show up in the AA.COM trip record?

This trip is for labor day week, so I guess I'll see soon.
Just a follow up, both directions (outbound and inbound) all segments posted as special fares, including one SWU-upgraded segment. I didn't try to get a screenshot of the VCR, but did ask for the eticket itinerary and receipt to be sent out to me (for some reason did not receive one as I usually do, perhaps related to agent call in?) and the fare component was $0.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 1:05 am
  #384  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Programs: Top Tier with all 3 alliances
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Sorry if this has been covered before, let's say I find C space availability at the time of booking, can I call AA vacations or AA customer service before, during or after the AA vacations booking to process the C upgrades? Is there a way to do this, assuming C availability exists on EF?
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Old Sep 17, 19, 4:41 am
  #385  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
Sorry if this has been covered before, let's say I find C space availability at the time of booking, can I call AA vacations or AA customer service before, during or after the AA vacations booking to process the C upgrades? Is there a way to do this, assuming C availability exists on EF?
Of course, book your vacation package online, then call the normal AA reservations number to grab the upgrades.

Given the general cluelessness of most AA agents these days, I'm guessing if you called AA Vacations before you booked they would have no idea how to "do upgrades" and tell you to just call the normal reservations number afterwards.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 6:22 am
  #386  
brp
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey View Post
Of course, book your vacation package online, then call the normal AA reservations number to grab the upgrades.

Given the general cluelessness of most AA agents these days, I'm guessing if you called AA Vacations before you booked they would have no idea how to "do upgrades" and tell you to just call the normal reservations number afterwards.
This is what I have done. Some AA Vacations agents know about the SWU, but not many, and I would not count on this. I've also, at times, had to call AA Vacations after booking as these packages sometimes take a while to ticket, and they have to be ticketed (or On Hold, which is not possible the Vacations packages) to apply SWU. So, it has to move from Pending to Ticketed before you can call EXP desk to get it applied.

Cheers.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 10:23 am
  #387  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
This is what I have done. Some AA Vacations agents know about the SWU, but not many, and I would not count on this. I've also, at times, had to call AA Vacations after booking as these packages sometimes take a while to ticket, and they have to be ticketed (or On Hold, which is not possible the Vacations packages) to apply SWU. So, it has to move from Pending to Ticketed before you can call EXP desk to get it applied.

Cheers.
Thanks to both, and I guess this preserves the underline * booking class, and at least I have the original booking receipt with the fare class codes and can request the credit, right? This is for requalification as well.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 10:33 am
  #388  
brp
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
Thanks to both, and I guess this preserves the underline * booking class, and at least I have the original booking receipt with the fare class codes and can request the credit, right? This is for requalification as well.
Actually, it will not preserve the asterisk in the emailed record. Any time a human does something to toe record (I've had a number of cases where I've need to call to book for things that cannot be done online, for example), it appears to remove the asterisk. Interestingly, in all of my cases, there is a space within the parentheses where the fare class is displayed for one more character (like an asterisk? ), but no asterisk.

But, yes, it has always in my experience (and I've read of some contrary experiences here that required calls) preserved this in their records, and always posted by distance.

Cheers.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 11:12 am
  #389  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by brp View Post
Actually, it will not preserve the asterisk in the emailed record. Any time a human does something to toe record (I've had a number of cases where I've need to call to book for things that cannot be done online, for example), it appears to remove the asterisk. Interestingly, in all of my cases, there is a space within the parentheses where the fare class is displayed for one more character (like an asterisk? ), but no asterisk.

But, yes, it has always in my experience (and I've read of some contrary experiences here that required calls) preserved this in their records, and always posted by distance.

Cheers.
Thanks, I also take screenshots when I book online, at various stages. I have done it before where the upgrade was processed at the gate, and I also did not have any issues, but I was concerned with the upgrade now being processed by calling in, where the ticket gets re-issued, I believe.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 11:28 am
  #390  
brp
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
Thanks, I also take screenshots when I book online, at various stages. I have done it before where the upgrade was processed at the gate, and I also did not have any issues, but I was concerned with the upgrade now being processed by calling in, where the ticket gets re-issued, I believe.
Yes, it will be reissued, and the asterisk will disappear. Most (all?) of our tickets are reissued as we tend to book our trips early and invariably get schedule changes and reissues. Voila! Asterisk is gone.

Cheers.
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