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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 Sep 4, 2018, 2:11 pm
  #211  
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Originally Posted by ashill
Is that possible? AA is quoting the AAnytime price (65k), not the sum of the two separate segments (37.5k) for WAS-MUC. I thought the point was that AA is using married segment logic to charge a price that is higher than the sum of the individual flights, let alone the price of a saver WAS-MUC award (30k), unless they're booked separately.
It might be possible, if one were to try booking the itinerary using the multi-city award-booking engine.
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 7:16 pm
  #212  
 
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Originally Posted by MathMusic
AA generally has the policy of protecting you on separate PNRs if the long MUC-CLT is delayed and you miss your CLT-DCA connection. You'd have to retrieve your bag at US Customs anyway, I'd think about booking two separate tickets if you cannot get them to book it as one.

Yes its annoying to have to pay the extra 7.5k for the CLT-DCA ticket, but I don't think it would be much of an issue if you had to book it that way.
Thanks to all for the helpful and informative responses to my inquiry. Here is how things have developed and stand now.

1) The 30k award ticket MUC-CLT is no longer available on the 3-4 dates when I prefer to travel, so the option of obtaining a 30k award ticket MUC-CTL and a 7.5k CTL-DCA award ticket is no longer on the table.

2) I have therefore booked and put on hold a 30k award ticket MUC-MAD-BOS-DCA. The hold will last until September 12th. I took this route on an award ticket last July and it's quite satisfactory, apart from the need to get up about 4:30 AM to drive to the airport. If nothing better opens up in the next few days, I'll purchase this set of flights.

Once again, thanks very much!

Last edited by JPG3392; Sep 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm Reason: Corrected inaccurate wording.
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 8:27 pm
  #213  
 
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Award Space Based on Origin NOT on Segments? (Tell me im not crazy)

I recently had a terribly frustrating experience with AA platinum desk. I was giving an explanation that seems to be complete garbage to me...but I wanted to see if anyone else had some insights that would make me feel less like "im taking crazy pills"

I was trying to book a Saver award on AA EZE-MIA-ORD-JAC for my wive to come with me on a work trip. The normal routing is EZE-DFW-JAC but there is not availability that day. However, my purchased ticket has me going the routing I gave above via MIA. When I search for the entire leg it doesnt show any Saver availability. However, if I search for EZE-MIA I see plenty of saver awards and if I search MIA-ORD-JAC i see tons of seats also. In trying to piece them together I called the platinum desk to have them help me.After more than an hour the supervisor told me I couldn't get it to work because essentially I was being blocked from the saver space on the MIA-ORD-JAC because I was coming from EZE. She told me that there was only a fixed amount of award space available between each city pair...so AA was blocking EZE passengers from having award space to JAC but providing it for people coming from MIA. They told me award availability is based 100% on your origin, not based on a fixed amount of seats made available on each segment.

So this sounds like a lazy and uninformed person trying to make up a reason for why they couldn't explain this problem to me. I let it go for now but I want to make sure I am not going crazy...

Any thought?
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 8:41 pm
  #214  
 
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Unfortunately, this is the way things are. Not sure of the fancy term that AA uses, but some call it "Married Segment Availability." If you need to go from Tulsa to Austin, you would do a search TUL-AUS and get a price - say $100. If you were to then search for the TUL-DFW and DFW-AUS segments individually, it's highly unlikely you'd find that those segments were $50 each. Fares and availability are market specific. Previously, award space was not subject to these same controls and awards could be pieced together in the manner you describe. Nowadays however, award tickets (on AA metal at least) are based on the origin and destination. In this case, they are not willing to sell EZE-MIA-ORD-JAC for the Saver mileage level.
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 8:57 pm
  #215  
 
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Bottom line, you can still book it and probably even get it under a single PNR, it will just price out as two separate awards and you'll end up paying an extra 12.5k for the domestic part, or 25k up front. Not ideal but that's how it is now. Also if you have a citi card, JAC is a reduced mileage destination in October so that can take a little of the edge off.
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Old Sep 6, 2018, 9:04 pm
  #216  
 
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This issue has been discussed here.
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Old Sep 7, 2018, 5:54 am
  #217  
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Originally Posted by JPG3392
Thanks to all for the helpful and informative responses to my inquiry. Here is how things have developed and stand now.

1) The 30k award ticket MUC-CLT is no longer available on the 3-4 dates when I prefer to travel, so the option of obtaining a 30k award ticket MUC-CTL and a 7.5k CTL-DCA award ticket is no longer on the table.

2) I have therefore booked and put on hold a 30k award ticket MUC-MAD-BOS-DCA. The hold will last until September 12th. I took this route on an award ticket last July and it's quite satisfactory, apart from the need to get up about 4:30 AM to drive to the airport. If nothing better opens up in the next few days, I'll purchase this set of flights.

Once again, thanks very much!
Good plan. I would book the IB option now, then just keep an eye on availability over the next 10 months. If something better opens up, like the all AA MUC-CLT-DCA routing, you can call AA and switch for no fee (and get a refund of the IB surcharges). Booking this far out, I'd say it's highly likely that something better will pop up, especially as you're only looking for a single economy seat and have a little bit of flexibility in travel days.
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Old Sep 7, 2018, 8:36 am
  #218  
 
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
Good plan. I would book the IB option now, then just keep an eye on availability over the next 10 months. If something better opens up, like the all AA MUC-CLT-DCA routing, you can call AA and switch for no fee (and get a refund of the IB surcharges). Booking this far out, I'd say it's highly likely that something better will pop up, especially as you're only looking for a single economy seat and have a little bit of flexibility in travel days.
Thanks. That's what I'll plan to do. AA also offers a MUC-DFW-DCA routing. It's not available at Saver rates now, but could become so in the coming months.

Update: I have now been ticketed for award travel MUC-MAD-BOS-DCA on IB/AA at the cost of 30k miles + $197.41. As suggested above, I'll continue to monitor saver award availability MUC-DCA, and may make changes to my routing in the coming months. Thanks again to all for the helpful comments and suggestions.

Last edited by JPG3392; Sep 13, 2018 at 8:28 am Reason: Added updated information.
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Old Oct 1, 2018, 10:36 pm
  #219  
 
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I currently have an award on hold for SAN - LAX - NRT in SAAver J for 2 people. I only want the LAX-NRT segment. The CSR won’t drop the SAN-LAX leg while the award is on hold. Am I correct that I can simple drop the first leg for free after it is ticketed? I have no status.
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Old Oct 2, 2018, 5:05 am
  #220  
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Originally Posted by kpott
I currently have an award on hold for SAN - LAX - NRT in SAAver J for 2 people. I only want the LAX-NRT segment. The CSR won’t drop the SAN-LAX leg while the award is on hold. Am I correct that I can simple drop the first leg for free after it is ticketed? I have no status.
Not if there is a married sector availability issue, but otherwise should be able to

What is the reason the agent will not drop it?
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Old Oct 2, 2018, 9:15 am
  #221  
 
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Originally Posted by kpott
I currently have an award on hold for SAN - LAX - NRT in SAAver J for 2 people. I only want the LAX-NRT segment. The CSR won’t drop the SAN-LAX leg while the award is on hold. Am I correct that I can simple drop the first leg for free after it is ticketed? I have no status.
We don't have many (or any?) data points about doing it after ticketing. Before ticketing, not allowed. After ticketing, not sure if it works the same way. A couple of years ago, AA awards on CX (with CX married segment logic) couldn't have the first segment dropped before ticketing but could afterwards.
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Old Oct 7, 2018, 8:31 pm
  #222  
 
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AA award snafu

Hi all, hope someone can help me with the following issue.

Need to get to LHR from LAX.

For my desired date there is J availability from SFO-LAX-LHR but space disappears if booking only LAX-LHR.

Placed it on hold, called in to drop the first segment but they weren't able to do it without canceling the whole itinerary. Never ran into this, since when does AA limits availability to certain city pairs? Any suggestions on how to drop that first segment? Obviously doing a return to SFO just to start the whole trip would be less than ideal...

Thanks
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Old Oct 7, 2018, 8:46 pm
  #223  
 
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Married segments...not much you can do.
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Old Oct 7, 2018, 8:48 pm
  #224  
 
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Good rundown here:
https://onemileatatime.com/american-...award-tickets/

Is there no 1-stop availability out of LAX (connecting in, say, PHL or DFW)?
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Old Oct 7, 2018, 9:14 pm
  #225  
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Originally Posted by olgsr
Need to get to LHR from LAX.
For my desired date there is J availability from SFO-LAX-LHR but space disappears if booking only LAX-LHR.
As above married segments.
Or you be being offered SFO-LAX in J and LAX-LHR in economy. Check the screen carefully.
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