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More award availability restricted by married segments / connections

Old Jan 3, 2018, 5:05 pm
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Last edit by: Prospero
AA has increased award availability at the SAAver / MileSAAver level, apparently at the cost of reducing the availability of nonstop and direct routing and increasing availability requiring connections using married segment logic.

This means those originating travel at one hub may well find themselves forced to connect through another hub - whose residents will also be required to connect through another hub. This is suspected to be a way of accommodating SAAver awards without competing with those purchasing more convenient nonstop routing. See post #17 by ashill.

Gary Leff: “Cranky Flier got American to confirm last week that much of the space they’ve opened up is on connecting flights. They’re offering married segment availability — award space that’s highly restrictive...”

See American Significantly Increases Coach Award Space On Connecting Flights, By Cranky Flier on Dec 21, 2017

How to Game American’s New Connecting Flight Award Availability to Get the Ticket You Want, by Gary Leff on December 26, 2017 but see post #75 by Psyclone*Jack; this loophole may now be closed.
Married Segment Logic and Effects on Awards

"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." Link to FT thread; see wikipost info by JonNYC and hillrider.

"Sometimes when you’re searching for award space... you’ll find that some seats will show as available when you search for them from origin to destination, but when you call to book the flights segment-by-segment, those flights show as unavailable."

"Married segment logic is a tool used by airlines that restricts availability based on origin and destination, rather than by segments."(DCTA, on Boarding Area)

Married segment logic controls routings based on origin and destination, rather than segment-by-segment availability. Boarding Area
Link to Boarding Area: Sunday Reader Question: What are married segments?

From Amadeus: Married Segment Control Link

Amadeus Married Segment Control is a revenue maximisation tool that ensures that airline revenue management decisions, made at availability time, are applied throughout the booking process. It prevents agents bypassing availability controls, based on origin and destination (O&D) information. It also improves both load factors and revenue forecasting accuracy.

Key benefits
  • Ensures more effective forecasting by preventing O&D misuse and matching revenue forecasts with final revenues.
  • Improves consistency of sales processes by controlling travel agent selling behaviour.
  • Fully customisable and flexible solution that meets airline unique system requirements.
Link to Worldspan page with extensive information on MSL and coding.

Older posts have been archived off to https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...nnections.html
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More award availability restricted by married segments / connections

Old Mar 17, 2018, 7:20 am
  #136  
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Originally Posted by mcdullhk88
Actually this is quite interesting. I'm seeing these results on ExpertFlyer indicating married segment logic, but unable to replicate this with a phone rep. Am I doing something wrong?



What exactly are you trying to replicate?

It looks like, in typical married segment fashion, there is award availability on the JFK-YYZ flight only if you are connecting from another AA flight at JFK. This is confirmed looking at aa.com, for example on 8/30 I see CDG-JFK-YYZ but no JFK-YYZ by itself.

Due to the limited data points it's not clear yet how AA is treating this award space with regards to partner carriers, i.e. in this scenario if connecting from a partner carrier at JFK would also open up the space, or if it's only AA metal.

In any case, on 8/30 there is no coach award availability on HKG-JFK anyways, so it's understandable that the phone AAgent couldn't see anything. The EF result above is the codeshare flight, on which there will never be T space.
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Old Mar 17, 2018, 8:33 am
  #137  
 
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I've seen that. You can get an award on the North American sector if you buy a ticket on the codeshare. You can't have an award on the codeshare and it doesn't mean availability with the on the CX marketed CX operated flight.
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Old Mar 17, 2018, 10:59 am
  #138  
 
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
What exactly are you trying to replicate?

It looks like, in typical married segment fashion, there is award availability on the JFK-YYZ flight only if you are connecting from another AA flight at JFK. This is confirmed looking at aa.com, for example on 8/30 I see CDG-JFK-YYZ but no JFK-YYZ by itself.

Due to the limited data points it's not clear yet how AA is treating this award space with regards to partner carriers, i.e. in this scenario if connecting from a partner carrier at JFK would also open up the space, or if it's only AA metal.

In any case, on 8/30 there is no coach award availability on HKG-JFK anyways, so it's understandable that the phone AAgent couldn't see anything. The EF result above is the codeshare flight, on which there will never be T space.
I was trying to replicate by booking a J/F award on the CX flight and adding the YYZ sector in Y. J and/or F is available on CX and AA can book that. But so far that doesn't seem to be opening the YYZ space as EF seems to show.
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Old Mar 17, 2018, 11:02 am
  #139  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Another day, you might be the one lucky to be able to get a through award due to the sectors not being available standalone rather than them all having been snapped up by those at the hub

Haha, right on cue. AA must be so happy to have you in their ranks!
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Old Apr 17, 2018, 2:43 pm
  #140  
 
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They definitely seem to have closed the ability to drop a segment from a married connection award reservation ON HOLD.

I'm trying to go from BBB-CCC. BBB-CCC isn't available but AAA-BBB-CCC is. I put AAA-BBB-CCC on hold, and I'm trying to call AA to drop AAA-BBB.

I've made several calls / HUCAs, and I can't get an agent to drop that segment. Every agent said they're getting an married connection error message that the whole reservation needs to be cancelled if AAA-BBB is dropped.

I'm sure AA apologists will defend this practice, but is a complete scam. Either there's award space or there's not.
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Old Apr 17, 2018, 2:51 pm
  #141  
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So anyone who disagrees with you must be an apologist?

Married segment availability is nothing new in airline travel and has been around a long time. As far as whether there is award availability, there isn't for B-C , but there is for A-C
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Old Apr 17, 2018, 3:06 pm
  #142  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Married segment availability is nothing new in airline travel and has been around a long time. As far as whether there is award availability, there isn't for B-C , but there is for A-C
It's something very new for award travel.

It's nothing new that a cash ticket from A-B-C could be much cheaper than a ticket from A-B. That's been the business model of the airlines, like it or not.

AA used to release award seats to the extent that their models said that seats would go unsold, etc etc. Showing different award inventory to different people looking to fly the same segment is something very new.
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Old Apr 17, 2018, 3:24 pm
  #143  
 
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
They definitely seem to have closed the ability to drop a segment from a married connection award reservation ON HOLD.

I'm trying to go from BBB-CCC. BBB-CCC isn't available but AAA-BBB-CCC is. I put AAA-BBB-CCC on hold, and I'm trying to call AA to drop AAA-BBB.

I've made several calls / HUCAs, and I can't get an agent to drop that segment. Every agent said they're getting an married connection error message that the whole reservation needs to be cancelled if AAA-BBB is dropped.

I'm sure AA apologists will defend this practice, but is a complete scam. Either there's award space or there's not.
LOL, a 5th call to AA got the segment dropped. I don't know what this agent did after putting me on hold that the others didn't do, and I didn't want to ask.
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Old Apr 17, 2018, 3:35 pm
  #144  
 
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
They definitely seem to have closed the ability to drop a segment from a married connection award reservation ON HOLD.

I'm trying to go from BBB-CCC. BBB-CCC isn't available but AAA-BBB-CCC is. I put AAA-BBB-CCC on hold, and I'm trying to call AA to drop AAA-BBB.

I've made several calls / HUCAs, and I can't get an agent to drop that segment. Every agent said they're getting an married connection error message that the whole reservation needs to be cancelled if AAA-BBB is dropped.

I'm sure AA apologists will defend this practice, but is a complete scam. Either there's award space or there's not.
See my post #14 above for an absurd result provided by married segment logic. It sometimes makes no sense.
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Old Apr 17, 2018, 3:47 pm
  #145  
 
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Originally Posted by HofstraJet
See my post #14 above for an absurd result provided by married segment logic. It sometimes makes no sense.
Yep re "This is just spiteful on AA's part and I can see no good reason for this other than to annoy travelers."

Or just yet another way to devalue miles
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Old Apr 18, 2018, 3:19 pm
  #146  
 
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***Further Warning: Even if you get AA to dump a segment from a married connection, you will have further trouble getting AA to add on a new segment using that same PNR.

As mentioned above, it took 5 calls to AA to get them to drop the AAA-BBB married segment from my AAA-BBB-CCC itinerary where there BBB-CCC showed as unavailable.

My true desire was to go from BBB-CCC-DDD. CCC-DDD showed as available on AA.com. I thought I could just call AA with the BBB-CCC PNR and have them tag on the CCC-DDD segment. But no!

It took about 6-8 calls. Agents would tell me there was no space on CCC-DDD. I told them that I see it on AA.com. I told them to see if it's bookable in a new PNR. They said it is. I just HUCA'd on the dumber agents who didn't seem to have a clue and had no inquisitive curiosity to figure it out. I thought I got lucky with one experienced agent who told me to put the CCC-DDD on hold myself and she would try to get her help desk to merge the PNRs, but her help desk refused to do it.

Finally, I got an agent who was somehow able to put the CCC-DDD segment in my PNR by throwing in both the mileage saver award segment and the anytime award segment in duplicate (she was talking out loud), and she called her help desk to get them to drop the anytime segment. So, she did it!

This is really bizarre.
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Old Apr 18, 2018, 9:55 pm
  #147  
 
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq
***Further Warning: Even if you get AA to dump a segment from a married connection, you will have further trouble getting AA to add on a new segment using that same PNR.

As mentioned above, it took 5 calls to AA to get them to drop the AAA-BBB married segment from my AAA-BBB-CCC itinerary where there BBB-CCC showed as unavailable.

My true desire was to go from BBB-CCC-DDD. CCC-DDD showed as available on AA.com. I thought I could just call AA with the BBB-CCC PNR and have them tag on the CCC-DDD segment. But no!

It took about 6-8 calls. Agents would tell me there was no space on CCC-DDD. I told them that I see it on AA.com. I told them to see if it's bookable in a new PNR. They said it is. I just HUCA'd on the dumber agents who didn't seem to have a clue and had no inquisitive curiosity to figure it out. I thought I got lucky with one experienced agent who told me to put the CCC-DDD on hold myself and she would try to get her help desk to merge the PNRs, but her help desk refused to do it.

Finally, I got an agent who was somehow able to put the CCC-DDD segment in my PNR by throwing in both the mileage saver award segment and the anytime award segment in duplicate (she was talking out loud), and she called her help desk to get them to drop the anytime segment. So, she did it!

This is really bizarre.
Yes, I also had a similar experience.

Put BBB-CCC-DDD on hold, all AA metal.
Dropped BBB-CCC. Added partner leg AAA-CCC.
End result was AAA-CCC-DDD.

Not sure if it helps that AAA-CCC was in long-haul F, and CCC-DDD in Y.

Took a number of calls to accomplish this, so definitely gave Outstanding Service Excellence certs to the reps who did help successfully. My case didn't involve any anytime inventory. So it is possible still, but really YMMV.

BTW thank you [MENTION=5105]JJeffrey[/MENTION] for the tip.

Last edited by mcdullhk88; Apr 18, 2018 at 10:08 pm
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Old Apr 26, 2018, 10:03 am
  #148  
 
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This thread appears to highlight a side effect of the cases in which AA is providing additional availability for AAA-BBB-CCC but not AAA-BBB: BA doesn't seem to be able to see the AAA-BBB-CCC availability and still appears to require the individual segments to be available. That makes using BA points on AA much more difficult. The downside of this is mitigated by the fact that BA Avios are often a good deal for nonstop trips but much less so for connecting itineraries anyway.
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Old May 3, 2018, 8:30 pm
  #149  
 
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Any recommendations on how to work this to get a flight between 2 destinations that are less than 500 mi apart? Constructing an AAA-BBB-CCC itinerary prices out at 12,500 mi (where BBB is a hub) and I'm ultimately looking to go BBB-CCC... I'm wondering if the award will re-price at the 7,500 mile rate when (if?) AAA-BBB gets dropped. Any ideas?
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Old May 3, 2018, 10:48 pm
  #150  
 
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Originally Posted by asf-07
Any recommendations on how to work this to get a flight between 2 destinations that are less than 500 mi apart? Constructing an AAA-BBB-CCC itinerary prices out at 12,500 mi (where BBB is a hub) and I'm ultimately looking to go BBB-CCC... I'm wondering if the award will re-price at the 7,500 mile rate when (if?) AAA-BBB gets dropped. Any ideas?
It is totally YMMV and you'll probably have to HUCA a number of times. And it will re-price.

I did it recently, except with AAA being a foreign city and I added a new origin DDD (also foreign), creating DDD-BBB-CCC. But the agent added it such that DDD-BBB could easily be dropped, as the segments were no longer married. DDD-BBB was on a partner, and AA does not do married segments with partners (yet?).

So perhaps try telling the agent you want to change the origin (which should be free during the 5-day hold)? So it becomes less apparent that you're trying to work around married segments. Then you can drop DDD-BBB on another call.
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