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More award availability restricted by married segments / connections

Old Jan 3, 2018, 5:05 pm
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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 15, 2018, 12:23 pm
  #76  
 
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Originally Posted by Psyclone*Jack
Just tried this and have been told by two different Exec Plat agents that American sent a memo 'within the last week' stating that married segments cannot be split. In order to drop a first segment, award availability must be otherwise present on the second segment in order to maintain booking on the second segment.

I had a booked Saaver Award ticket, A-B-C. B-C was what I wanted. But now in order to drop A-B and keep B-C, there must be Saaver availability on B-C to complete the change. So this negates the whole intent of unlocking this secret inventory.

This loophole may now be closed, be advised. Anyone getting a different outcome?
Just to be clear, you were ticketed (which I would assume based on booked).

Im wondering how they will know its a married segment originally. If its all connections , this is a huge adverse change impacting award changes.

Last edited by beachfan; Jan 15, 2018 at 1:19 pm
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 1:40 pm
  #77  
 
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Yes, ticketed. Booked it 1/12. Called to change it 1/15.
They seemed to identify rather quickly that it is a married segment.
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 1:47 pm
  #78  
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Originally Posted by beachfan


Just to be clear, you were ticketed (which I would assume based on booked).

Im wondering how they will know its a married segment originally. If its all connections , this is a huge adverse change impacting award changes.
It is very easy to identify it ; if it is a transit, then if married sector availability is used on that route, then system will automatically be able to identify it
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 2:09 pm
  #79  
 
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But that doesnt mean there was only married segment availability, does it?

couldnt it have been available as independent segments as well as married?
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 2:23 pm
  #80  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
But that doesn’t mean there was only married segment availability, does it?

couldnt it have been available as independent segments as well as married?
There would have to be standalone availability when dropping a segment in order to be able to make the change - in which case there is no availability issue anyway

it is easy for it to cater for an attempt to drop a sector where it is married to another segment to ensure that both segments would need to be dropped
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 2:31 pm
  #81  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
There would have to be standalone availability when dropping a segment in order to be able to make the change - in which case there is no availability issue anyway

it is easy for it to cater for an attempt to drop a sector where it is married to another segment to ensure that both segments would need to be dropped

that was not true last year, you didnt need current availability on segments you werent changing.
Whether its possible to do it right is irrelevant. I dont think its easy to know and record at time of booking that stand alone segments were not available. its not just a Y/N question when booking AA-BB CC-DD-EE

If one knows there is separate segment award availability, as well as married segment availability, how can one ensure that AA recognizes that and allows changes to one segment regardless of current availability on the others

Last edited by beachfan; Jan 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 2:41 pm
  #82  
 
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Originally Posted by beachfan
that was not true last year, you didnt need current availability on segments you werent changing.
Whether its possible to do it right is irrelevant. I dont think its easy to know and record at time of booking that stand alone segments were not available. its not just a Y/N question when booking AA-BB CC-DD-EE

If one knows there is separate segment award availability, as well as married segment availability, how can one ensure that AA recognizes that and allows changes to one segment regardless of current availability on the others
What Psyclone*Jack said is that this is a new memo sent out last week (indicating a new policy?). But I thought AA had the ability to look up historical availability at any given date/time anyway. (I recall this coming up in the context of fare changes/ticket issuance issues, etc elsewhere, but if they could look up historical availability in other contexts, it would seem obvious to do it in this context if they were checking whether married segment availability was used to make a current booking.)

If this is a new policy -- that dropping a segment requires current availability on all remaining segments -- that's obviously a significant though unsurprising (given the new married segment availability) devaluation.
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 9:04 pm
  #83  
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Originally Posted by beachfan



that was not true last year, you didn’t need current availability on segments you weren’t changing.
Whether it’s possible to do it right is irrelevant. I don’t think it’s easy to know and record at time of booking that stand alone segments were not available. its not just a Y/N question when booking AA-BB CC-DD-EE

If one knows there is separate segment award availability, as well as married segment availability, how can one ensure that AA recognizes that and allows changes to one segment regardless of current availability on the others
It doesn't matter what availability was at time of booking, what matters is what the availability is at time of making the change

If , at time of making change, there is availability for the standalone flight, then there is no issue making a change

This is not new, this is how married segment availability is designed to work, just that AA seems not to have used it in the past

Originally Posted by ashill
What Psyclone*Jack said is that this is a new memo sent out last week (indicating a new policy?). But I thought AA had the ability to look up historical availability at any given date/time anyway..
It is only historical fares that it uses. If making a change after departure, historical fares are used
For availbility, it is only availability at time of making a change that matters
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 10:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
It doesn't matter what availability was at time of booking, what matters is what the availability is at time of making the change

If , at time of making change, there is availability for the standalone flight, then there is no issue making a change

This is not new, this is how married segment availability is designed to work, just that AA seems not to have used it in the past



It is only historical fares that it uses. If making a change after departure, historical fares are used
For availbility, it is only availability at time of making a change that matters
So it wasn't there before, and now it's there. If this is how it's implemented it is a major rule change affecting many, many awards, far beyond married segments.
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Old Jan 15, 2018, 11:58 pm
  #85  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
So it wasn't there before, and now it's there. If this is how it's implemented it is a major rule change affecting many, many awards, far beyond married segments.
How is it affecting anything other than availability for married segments ?

There is no rule change - awards have always been based on availability being available to book them
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Old Jan 16, 2018, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
How is it affecting anything other than availability for married segments ?

There is no rule change - awards have always been based on availability being available to book them

AA allowed the dropping of a segment at any time as long as the new origin and destination is in the same pair of regions (ie the award would cost the same). This is dropping a segment, not changing an award; no availability has to be there for the retained segment. (@JonNYC provided the internal documentation when this policy was instituted a few years ago.) Therefore, if I book, for example, BOS-ORD-NRT, by the rule, I can drop BOS-ORD without changing the price, irrespective of award availability when I drop the segment. Before married segment availability, this wasnt a loophole: if BOS-ORD-NRT was available, ORD-NRT was available, so the only reason to drop BOS-ORD was legitimately changing my mind. AA doesnt tell me when I book that I only got that ticket because of married segment availability, so I expect to be able to drop BOS-ORD. If theyre now saying I cant, thats a significant and negative change for those using this drop segment rule as intended (ie not as a loophole to use hidden city award ticketing).
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Old Jan 16, 2018, 1:02 am
  #87  
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With married sector availability, with a normal ticket, if booked A-B-C and then wish to drop A-B, then

if this is not a flight pair where married sectors are set up,, then no issue
If it is a flight pair where married sector availability is used, then B-C will rebook into an available class and any change fee and fare difference will apply

Being able to drop a sector without incurring the change fee is the benefit that AA offers ; I don't see that there is anything stated that the fee exemption for dropping a sector was "irrespective of award availability "

For some , married sectors are a benefit, for others a drawback. It can mean that those needing to connect now have a better chance of getting a desired award

It allows an airline to assist those needing to book connections by segmenting availability between those that just booking hub-hub vs those needing to connect to get to a destination; instead of , say, 4 flights from hub-hub, it can be split between those wanting hub-hub and those needing to connect

On paid tickets, it is a way of limiting availability from cheap routes vs more expensive. Have seen on QR a lot of times where A-B and B-C have been available for a discount business ticket whilst a very cheap A-C via B has been unavailable.

Last edited by Dave Noble; Jan 16, 2018 at 1:09 am
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Old Jan 16, 2018, 8:41 am
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its well known and I de done it many times.

if this is being applied on a route basis, without regard to what was available at the begonning, in means youll almost never be able to change anything on that route, regardless of whether you needed married segment logic at the time to book the connection, or whether individual segments are available. Because likely there is ZERO additional award availability on the segment you already booked as an award and want to keep.

And I dont believe AAs IT department is capable of introducing it on an individual ticket basis, where it knows which of the segments on an itinerary were stand alone available and which were married segments.
Paid tickets are irrelevant.

Last edited by beachfan; Jan 16, 2018 at 8:49 am
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Old Jan 16, 2018, 8:56 am
  #89  
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Originally Posted by beachfan
it’s well known and I de done it many times.

if this is being applied on a route basis, without regard to what was available at the begonning, in means you’ll almost never be able to change anything on that route, regardless of whether you needed married segment logic at the time to book the connection, or whether individual segments are available. Because likely there is ZERO additional award availability on the segment you already booked as an award and want to keep.

And I don’t believe AAs IT department is capable of introducing it on an individual ticket basis, where it knows which of the segments on an itinerary were stand alone available and which were married segments.
Paid tickets are irrelevant.
It doesn't matter what availability was at original time, what matters is availability at time of change --- I cannot see AA having difficulty with that

Where married segment availability exists, then if making a connection it is only married sector availbility that matters at time of booking. Whether standalone was available is irrelevant at time of booking. Same in reverse; if starting with availability standalone, cannot add a connecting sector unless married sector availability exists
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Old Jan 16, 2018, 9:31 am
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
It doesn't matter what availability was at original time, what matters is availability at time of change --- I cannot see AA having difficulty with that

Where married segment availability exists, then if making a connection it is only married sector availbility that matters at time of booking. Whether standalone was available is irrelevant at time of booking. Same in reverse; if starting with availability standalone, cannot add a connecting sector unless married sector availability exists
As I said, this is a huge unannounced change if true. It sounds like supposition.

Nothing has indicated that AA is implementing married logic as you outline it (i.e., that the reverse holds true). You have always been able to add segments to existing awards if available.
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