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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: ďCranky Flier got American to confirm last week that much of the space theyíve opened up is on connecting flights. Theyíre offering married segment availability ó award space thatís highly restrictive...Ē

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

How to Game Americanís 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 youíre searching for award space... youíll 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 Dec 11, 2018, 7:51 pm
  #271  
 
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme
You are absolutely whizzing into the wind on this one. Married segment availability has been used on purchased fares by U.S. carriers for decades. Decades! The DOT and the FTC haven't touched the practice. They're not going to step in on award tickets.

Accept that AA miles are worth less than they used to be. 2% cash-back cards are the way to go.
AA is applying this both ways though. Are you saying thatís been conventional? I donít know.

Last edited by rrgg; Dec 11, 2018 at 7:57 pm
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Old Dec 11, 2018, 10:58 pm
  #272  
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Originally Posted by rrgg
AA is applying this both ways though. Are you saying that’s been conventional? I don’t know.
That is perfectly conventional

married sectors can lead to availability for a fare for A-C via B whilst there is not availability on one or both of A-B and B-C on a standalone basis s as well as there being availability for A-B and for A-C but not A-C via B
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Old Dec 12, 2018, 8:08 am
  #273  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
That is perfectly conventional

married sectors can lead to availability for a fare for A-C via B whilst there is not availability on one or both of A-B and B-C on a standalone basis s as well as there being availability for A-B and for A-C but not A-C via B
Out of curiosity, do you have an example routing or airline that reduces fare bucket inventory on married segments for award tickets? There isn't one that I am aware of (admittedly OW/*A biased experience). I have seen it on revenue tickets (CX E). Happy to admit I'm wrong here but I just haven't seen it.

If I were to summarize my concerns of the unannounced changes, they would be:
1) Decreased award availability requiring connections / married segments
2) Removal of point to point (long sale) award construction using segment availability*
3) Not honoring held/ticketed inventory when making changes (i.e. the entire trip needs to be presently available)

*only have tried domestic, international and/or oneworld partners may change that.
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 10:38 am
  #274  
 
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I'm a bit disappointing that point-to-point ticketing is no longer a thing (either in initially constructing a ticket or modifying existing booked travel).

My biggest issue is if I booked AAA-BBB (economy) and BBB-CCC (bus/first) and AAA-BBB opens up in a higher cabin, I won't be able to change my flight unless BBB-CCC is also open in the higher cabin, even though I already "have a seat". Also prevents a variety of other routing changes. Lesson for me as an EXP is that booking award travel in essentially completely refundable, but changes cannot easily be made to existing itineraries.

These are the new rules I guess, but agree just lowers the value of AA miles.
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 11:21 am
  #275  
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Originally Posted by lmagnott
Does married segment logic apply to individual flights as well as city pairs?

I'm looking for a Business MileSAAver GNV --> BOS on 12/16. Paying with cash, I can take the 6:02 PM flight out of GNV and connect out of CLT at 8:34 PM. One award option offered is the 6:54 AM flight GNV-CLT connecting to the 8:34 PM flight CLT-BOS. However, taking the 6:02 PM flight out of GNV will only allow a connection to CLT-BOS the next morning. So it seems like both segments have SAAver space...just not together. Is that because of married segments?
I'm seeing this also, in my case MSY-CLT-RDU. There are afternoon segments (with a 2.5 hour connection) that show for both legs, but not together. The afternoon MSY-CLT shows only connecting to CLT-RDU early the next morning, and the afternoon CLT-RDU only pairs with a 5 am or 7 am departure MSY-CLT.

Which is sort of explained by this:

Originally Posted by zozeppelin
The response I received from AA was thoughtful but disappointing. It was basically explained that there is a cost associated with each flight (or combination thereof) that needs to be below a threshold to qualify for saver award. So the individual segments may be below the threshold for saver, but combined not. I challenged this of course with how then does adding segments (in the married segment examples) decrease cost below a threshold when clearly adding a flight can only increase AA's cost.
As Jon said, I'm not sure "cost" is quite the right term, but it's as if the afternoon flights are given a score of 5 each, the early morning flights are each given a 2, and the saver award can only be constructed it the combined score is 8 or less.

Last edited by swag; Dec 13, 2018 at 2:07 pm
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 12:56 pm
  #276  
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Originally Posted by ComplexAnalysis

My biggest issue is if I booked AAA-BBB (economy) and BBB-CCC (bus/first) and AAA-BBB opens up in a higher cabin, I won't be able to change my flight unless BBB-CCC is also open in the higher cabin, even though I already "have a seat". Also prevents a variety of other routing changes. Lesson for me as an EXP is that booking award travel in essentially completely refundable, but changes cannot easily be made to existing itineraries.
That isn't the case - if you have A-B in economy and B-C in business class , then you need A-B to be availabe in business class when booked in conjunction with B-C. If you were to check for A-C and it showed U1 for A-B and U0 for B-C, you would be able to rebook A-B in business class and so then have A-C via B in business class
Adelphos and mcdullhk88 like this.
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 9:05 pm
  #277  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
That isn't the case - if you have A-B in economy and B-C in business class , then you need A-B to be availabe in business class when booked in conjunction with B-C. If you were to check for A-C and it showed U1 for A-B and U0 for B-C, you would be able to rebook A-B in business class and so then have A-C via B in business class
Youíve said this twice, but are you sure ? Recent experience ?

Post #201 gives the exact same example with the opposite outcome with multiple HUCA attempts. This has been my experience as well - essentially if aa.com doesnít currently show the entire itinerary available they canít (or shouldnít) book it (or modify using what you currently hold in combination with what is currently available).

Most of these data points have been domestic, so maybe it changes with long hauls, which are the most critical due to OW availability, but Iím not optimistic.
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 9:23 pm
  #278  
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Originally Posted by zozeppelin

Youíve said this twice, but are you sure ? Recent experience ?

Post #201 gives the exact same example with the opposite outcome with multiple HUCA attempts. This has been my experience as well - essentially if aa.com doesnít currently show the entire itinerary available they canít (or shouldnít) book it (or modify using what you currently hold in combination with what is currently available).

Most of these data points have been domestic, so maybe it changes with long hauls, which are the most critical due to OW availability, but Iím not optimistic.
You cannot just use point to point availability - as long as there is availability on the segment that the upgrade is required as a married connection, then the change can be made. This is normal with married segment availability and not specific to AA or awards
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 10:04 pm
  #279  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
You cannot just use point to point availability - as long as there is availability on the segment that the upgrade is required as a married connection, then the change can be made. This is normal with married segment availability and not specific to AA or awards
Thanks for the explanation. Just to make sure I understand, what you are saying is search for A-C via B in a GDS (EF), and if you get U1 on the needed segment (and not necessarily the other you already hold), then this is do-able? That would seem pretty rare, as married segments in my experience usually converge on the same inventory for each segment (unless a cabin is sold out of course). So in Post #201's case (speculating using your explanation), U1 was seen A-B but not A-C via B for the A-B segment? Appreciate the clarification.
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 10:14 pm
  #280  
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"improving" an already issued award ticket with better flights?

So how is this married segment stuff now working if I've had an award ticket issued with a less-than-ideal connection time, and now I find a connecting flight that is leaving earlier. To change the ticket, do I need BOTH flight segments to now be available or can the agent simply swap out the better second flight for the original flight that I booked?

I fear that the logic rules now require both flights to be available. This is a shame because one of the (few?) nice features of the AAdvantage program was the ability to fiddle with award bookings without paying sky-high change fees. If you now need all your connecting flights to be available at the same time to book them, you're going to get worse award itineraries.
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 10:35 pm
  #281  
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Originally Posted by zozeppelin
Thanks for the explanation. Just to make sure I understand, what you are saying is search for A-C via B in a GDS (EF), and if you get U1 on the needed segment (and not necessarily the other you already hold), then this is do-able? That would seem pretty rare, as married segments in my experience usually converge on the same inventory for each segment (unless a cabin is sold out of course). So in Post #201's case (speculating using your explanation), U1 was seen A-B but not A-C via B for the A-B segment? Appreciate the clarification.
Exactly - do a search for A-C via B and if the needed segment now has availability, you are sorted
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Old Dec 13, 2018, 11:09 pm
  #282  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
That isn't the case - if you have A-B in economy and B-C in business class , then you need A-B to be availabe in business class when booked in conjunction with B-C. If you were to check for A-C and it showed U1 for A-B and U0 for B-C, you would be able to rebook A-B in business class and so then have A-C via B in business class
I am hoping, this is my biggest concern. I've been having to do this regularly, and I hope I can continue.
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Old Dec 14, 2018, 9:29 am
  #283  
 
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Originally Posted by ComplexAnalysis
I'm a bit disappointing that point-to-point ticketing is no longer a thing (either in initially constructing a ticket or modifying existing booked travel).

My biggest issue is if I booked AAA-BBB (economy) and BBB-CCC (bus/first) and AAA-BBB opens up in a higher cabin, I won't be able to change my flight unless BBB-CCC is also open in the higher cabin, even though I already "have a seat". Also prevents a variety of other routing changes. Lesson for me as an EXP is that booking award travel in essentially completely refundable, but changes cannot easily be made to existing itineraries.

These are the new rules I guess, but agree just lowers the value of AA miles.
If the married-segment logic prevents us from changing into the higher cabin, can we still get on the airport upgrade waitlist having paid the bus/first miles? (regardless of status)

What if the ticket is ticketed by a OW partner?
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Old Dec 14, 2018, 10:50 am
  #284  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Exactly - do a search for A-C via B and if the needed segment now has availability, you are sorted
Thanks again. Does this work because it was a voluntary downgrade and/or because the segment was available when doing an origin to destination search?

If the latter, that would imply that existing segment inventory can be maintained even if it isn't currently available (as was in the example), as long as the changing segment is available in the origin to destination search (which wouldn't be visible on aa.com because that is all or nothing). Again, my experience searching with EF has been AA award AA inventory on connections is either available for both or neither, so I'm not sure how practical this is on an AA itinerary.

But, this could be a relief for the long haul scenario where one already holds inventory on the long haul Oneworld segment(s) and wants to modify the AA portion because those generally are not linked the same way.

Corrections appreciated.
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Old Dec 14, 2018, 12:46 pm
  #285  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
You cannot just use point to point availability - as long as there is availability on the segment that the upgrade is required as a married connection, then the change can be made. This is normal with married segment availability and not specific to AA or awards
Saying it's not specific to AA or awards is surely true, but isn't there a big difference here? With cash tickets you just pay more. With an award you end up paying at least double, sometimes 400% more miles if you had to switch to an anytime award.
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