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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 theyve opened up is on connecting flights. Theyre offering married segment availability award space thats highly restrictive...

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

How to Game Americans 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 youre searching for award space... youll 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 Jan 5, 2018, 9:00 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
If it turns out that married sector availability is poorly implemented and can be easily circumvented , then yes; I suspect that AA will be able to implement it such that it works
Yeah, I fear that at the very least AA would make it difficult to make a pattern of circumventing married segment availability on award tickets. Frankly, if they're bothering with widespread married segment pricing, they have to.

And with awards, they probably have more recourse if you, for example, drop the last segment. Since AAdvantage miles are their property, not ours, they'd probably be within their legal rights to reprice if you don't fly a segment. For a hypothetical example, you book JFK-LAX-SFO for 12,500 miles when there's no sAAver availability on JFK-LAX standalone, and AAnytime is 25k. No show for the LAX-SFO segment? Fine, AA deducts the additional 12,500 miles from your account. Is there anything that would prevent AA from doing that legally? They certainly can't bill your credit card for the fare difference when you use hidden city ticketing and no show for the last segment on a cash fare, but I bet they legally could do that with awards.
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Old Jan 5, 2018, 9:07 am
  #47  
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Other airlines handle it ok. Have a booking for A-B-C and want to change it to just A-B and drop C, if availability only exists for A-C via B and not A-B on its own, the change cannot be made ( other than rebooking into a different available booking class)

I would be surprised if AA was unable to handle it and the OP of this thread has indicated that he has been unable to make such a change

It isn't as if married sector availability is a new concept

Auto deducting miles for failing to board the last sector would be an interesting approach for the airline to take
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Old Jan 5, 2018, 11:24 am
  #48  
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Originally Posted by ashill
Yeah, I fear that at the very least AA would make it difficult to make a pattern of circumventing married segment availability on award tickets. Frankly, if they're bothering with widespread married segment pricing, they have to.

And with awards, they probably have more recourse if you, for example, drop the last segment. Since AAdvantage miles are their property, not ours, they'd probably be within their legal rights to reprice if you don't fly a segment. For a hypothetical example, you book JFK-LAX-SFO for 12,500 miles when there's no sAAver availability on JFK-LAX standalone, and AAnytime is 25k. No show for the LAX-SFO segment? Fine, AA deducts the additional 12,500 miles from your account. Is there anything that would prevent AA from doing that legally? They certainly can't bill your credit card for the fare difference when you use hidden city ticketing and no show for the last segment on a cash fare, but I bet they legally could do that with awards.
Interesting thought, IMO AA maybe able to charge the additional 12.5 if the passenger was still tkted JFK-LAX-SFO and flew with only carry-on. However Id say if a AA csr dropped the LAX-SFO then even thou JFK-LAX wasnt offered as Saver then an additional 12.5 shouldnt be charged
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Old Jan 9, 2018, 3:54 pm
  #49  
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
I'm running into this issue big time for an award I need in a few weeks.

RDU-JFK-HEL on AA/AY is the desired itinerary, but not available.

JFK-HEL is available on it's own.
RDU-DCA-JFK-HEL is available.
RDU-JFK-MAD-HEL is available.
RDU-JFK-BCN-HEL is available.
But no RDU-JFK-HEL makes no sense. Going to try putting one on hold and massaging it into what I need.
Just a progress update for this nonsense. AA still hasn't made RDU-JFK-HEL available, but has all sorts of other routings open that utilize the same flights I need in one combination or the other.

I put ORD-RDU-JFK-HEL on hold, since I figured it would be easier to just drop the first segment. Called AA, and the first AAgent was able to drop the ORD-RDU, although it did take a bit longer and noticeably more typing. You could she was initially stumped, although was able to work through it in 3 or 4 mins.
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Old Jan 9, 2018, 4:11 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
AA still hasn't made RDU-JFK-HEL available
I don't think AA has anything to do with availability on the AY-operated JFK-HEL segment; I think this married segment availability only applies to itineraries that are entirely operated by AA. So for pricing an award, you really need separate availability on JFK-HEL (which is there) and the nonstop RDU-JFK. It's RDU-JFK that AA isn't making available (presumably because the cash prices aren't low enough for them to want to sell awards for 7500 miles on the nonstop), not RDU-JFK-HEL. That's why you can get the RDU-JFK segment as part of RDU-JFK-MAD/BCN: AA has apparently made the married segments operated by AA to Europe available (since you can't use that availability to get RDU-JFK for only 7500 miles).

In other words, you're running into AA's generally-crummy-these-days award availability on the nonstop and not getting any benefit from the apparently-increased-a-bit availability on connecting flights. Not that this makes AA's award availability any less annoying (that's a significant reason I no longer credit anything to AAdvantage if I can help it).
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Old Jan 9, 2018, 4:29 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by ashill
I don't think AA has anything to do with availability on the AY-operated JFK-HEL segment; I think this married segment availability only applies to itineraries that are entirely operated by AA. So for pricing an award, you really need separate availability on JFK-HEL (which is there) and the nonstop RDU-JFK. It's RDU-JFK that AA isn't making available (presumably because the cash prices aren't low enough for them to want to sell awards for 7500 miles on the nonstop), not RDU-JFK-HEL. That's why you can get the RDU-JFK segment as part of RDU-JFK-MAD/BCN: AA has apparently made the married segments operated by AA to Europe available (since you can't use that availability to get RDU-JFK for only 7500 miles).

In other words, you're running into AA's generally-crummy-these-days award availability on the nonstop and not getting any benefit from the apparently-increased-a-bit availability on connecting flights. Not that this makes AA's award availability any less annoying (that's a significant reason I no longer credit anything to AAdvantage if I can help it).
Yep, agreed. I too was trying to wrap my head around the logic for the availability I was seeing, only thing I could think of was that starting in RDU, AA was making space available on the nonstop to JFK only if you were connecting to an AA flight (as you mentioned). They would even give me RDU-JFK-MIA-HEL, lol.
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Old Jan 9, 2018, 6:18 pm
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
The rules of awards may allow drooping of a segment without charge, but if a married sector relationship exists, may find that there is no availability to enable it to be done
There isn't a requirement of current availability for dropping a segment. If flying xxx-yyy-zzz on an award, then you can drop xxx (once tickeded) without yyy-zzz having availability (as long as xxx and yyy are in the same region).

I think that somehow knowing a few months later whether yyy-zzz was available at the time of booking xxx-yyy-zzz is beyond AA's IT skills but maybe they are so concerned about ensuring a miserable experience that they will persevere and successfully program that.

Right now, I find MIA-JFK-EZE available and JFK-MIA-EZE available, but neither MIA-EZE nor JFK-EZE.
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Old Jan 9, 2018, 6:59 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
There isn't a requirement of current availability for dropping a segment. If flying xxx-yyy-zzz on an award, then you can drop xxx (once tickeded) without yyy-zzz having availability (as long as xxx and yyy are in the same region).

I think that somehow knowing a few months later whether yyy-zzz was available at the time of booking xxx-yyy-zzz is beyond AA's IT skills but maybe they are so concerned about ensuring a miserable experience that they will persevere and successfully program that.

Right now, I find MIA-JFK-EZE available and JFK-MIA-EZE available, but neither MIA-EZE nor JFK-EZE.
I notice this happens a lot with NIA to South America. The logic behind this, if there is any logic, is totally beyond me.
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Old Jan 9, 2018, 10:48 pm
  #54  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
There isn't a requirement of current availability for dropping a segment. If flying xxx-yyy-zzz on an award, then you can drop xxx (once tickeded) without yyy-zzz having availability (as long as xxx and yyy are in the same region).

I think that somehow knowing a few months later whether yyy-zzz was available at the time of booking xxx-yyy-zzz is beyond AA's IT skills but maybe they are so concerned about ensuring a miserable experience that they will persevere and successfully program that.

Right now, I find MIA-JFK-EZE available and JFK-MIA-EZE available, but neither MIA-EZE nor JFK-EZE.
Not if the married sector availability is properly implementted

If done properly, then dropping the sevtor should forice the other sector out since there is no availability for the desired change;
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Old Jan 10, 2018, 1:12 am
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Not if the married sector availability is properly implementted

If done properly, then dropping the sevtor should forice the other sector out since there is no availability for the desired change;
Availability of the flight as part of a married sector doesn't mean there isn't also non-stop availability, so it's not that straightforward.
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Old Jan 10, 2018, 11:09 am
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Unless AA is doing something very non standard, EF will return results taking married sector availability into account
I suspect that's true for an award search, but I think it will throw a wrinkle in setting up EF availability alerts. To the best of my knowledge, availability alerts, including for awards, have to be set up on a segment-by-segment basis. Do I have that right? If so, does anyone have thoughts on how to set up an award availability alert that factors in married segment availability? That is, if DFW-ORD-LHR is available but ORD-LHR is not, I'd like to get an alert nonetheless.

Cheers,
LBBZman
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Old Jan 10, 2018, 11:59 am
  #57  
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Originally Posted by ashill
I don't think AA has anything to do with availability on the AY-operated JFK-HEL segment; I think this married segment availability only applies to itineraries that are entirely operated by AA.
I'm not sure about that. I booked AA-IB-IB and IB-IB-AA trips from LAX to LIS and back recently, and AA seemed to have "married" connectors from wherever IB had availability (on the east coast) to me at LAX. I got LAX-JFK in U and BOS-LAX in U that I don't think I could have gotten on its own (but then I can't be sure because I didn't try before i booked, and if it was U1 then it would have disappeared once I booked). Now, these were both Saturday flights, so that may have helped availability in U in general, I dunno.
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Old Jan 10, 2018, 12:33 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme
Married segment availability means that one may not always successfully construct an award A-C given availability on segments A-B and B-C.

Search SAN-DOH, if DOH is your destination.
I think its the reverse? A-B-C availability doesnt mean A-B and B-C are available. I thought A-B and B-C availability guaranteed A-B-C availability
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Old Jan 10, 2018, 2:58 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by beachfan

I think it’s the reverse? A-B-C availability doesn’t mean A-B and B-C are available. I thought A-B and B-C availability guaranteed A-B-C availability
Nope, it doesn't

Can have availability A-B and B-C as standalone bookings whilst A-C via B is unavailablle
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Old Jan 10, 2018, 3:36 pm
  #60  
 
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Then what is the term for what Im referring to? Ive run into many examples of that, would be interested in seeing an example of what you are referring to (say in domestic 48 states so routing rules dont come into play)
I always thought it promoted connecting flights over non stops, not vice versus.In your example, which segments are married and cannot be separated.

Last edited by beachfan; Jan 10, 2018 at 3:43 pm
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