A rant on AA award options

Old Aug 31, 18, 5:39 am
  #61  
uxb
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: JFK, DCA, BUR, YVR
Programs: AC, AS, BA, DL, HH (D), MR (T/LTP), UA (*S), UScAAre (EXP/1,83MM), WN
Posts: 5,111
Originally Posted by Often1
"Saver" is just that. It is inventory that AA's very sophisticated RM/IM's software does not believe can be sold for cash or full mileage. Couple that with an economy on screech, a fall with full flights to Europe, and there is no reason for AA to discount its award seats any more than its cash seats.

Hope for a recession, large layoffs and business cutbacks on international travel, and that will free up some saver seats (or maybe AA just cuts capacity).

Hard reality, but it is the reality.
Without reading the next three pages, Im going to disagree with you and side with the OP. I have been spending the last year as an AS MVPG. Ive found that theyve had better availability of AA flights (especially direct domestic routings and premium class offerings than what was being offered to me on AA as a lowly LTG). YMMV, but I dont see how an AS flyer should be offered better availability than AAs own elites. Its what has kept me loyal to AS this past year.
uxb is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 6:07 am
  #62  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by fotographer
I have learned thru trail and error, booking AA saver awards is like panning for gold.
In your neighbors pool.
Jason Tsongas is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 6:19 am
  #63  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by shoelessj
Just wanted to share my frustration with AA. I was an occasional flyer (usually FC ) with a couple hundred k miles between my wife and I. Also have a bunch of 500 mile upgrades but know these are not applicable to overseas. I had been looking to use these miles for a trip to Venice from ORD in late Sept. and started looking at award options a year ago. There were absolutely no BC (saver points) options available at any point in my search (pretty much checked daily). Some crazy BA BC offers showed up (transfer to a different airport, stay overnight, and pay many hundreds of dollars in 'fees') that were really laughable. I even checked days before and after ie was flexible. Bottom line was the only thing I could book was an outbound coach with saver points and return coach with anytime points. AA was kind enough to let me pay extra to have a few back of the plane 2 in a row seats on their 787. I know this is perhaps a 'limited' travel overview but my colleagues who are AA high status level tell me a similar sad story. So my plan is to burn any AA miles I have left (as I stew in the back of the plane) and move on to other carriers where the miles have a bit more value. Thanks for letting me vent!
I have miles on all the major alliances, and I routinely make travel plans for 20+ family members and friends. IMHO, I find AA miles the most difficult to use, at least for international travel, which is the only time I use miles. They have clearly designed algorithms to ensure that you will not get a decent itinerary on a Saver award. For example, I recently searched for a Business Class award flight from DEN to LHR. The routing they offered at Saver levels was DEN-MIA-DFW-LHR. Aside from the ridiculous backtracking from MIA-DFW, the total travel time was 35+ hours. So I thought maybe I would just buy a cash ticket to DFW, and then take the direct leg from DFW-LHR. Unfortunately, if I start in DFW, that direct flight is not available. Instead, my best option becomes DFW-MIA-PHL-LHR, totaling 30+ hours. Once again, I tried for just the PHL-LHR direct flight, but that is not available. I understand the concept of capacity controls, and I do not expect Saver awards to be available on every flight; however, if I want to fly 5,000 miles, I really do not understand why AA prefers to put me on 3-4 flights totaling 12,000 miles. They are utilizing a far greater capacity, and they are not making the customer particularly happy. The greater irony is that I am a regular volunteer on oversold flights. In many cases, I will book the crappy itineraries, but invariably at least one flight is oversold, and they will re-book me on a better itinerary, along with a few bucks in my pocket.

FWIW, I find Star Alliance the best for finding award travel, largely because they have the broadest geographic coverage. From the United site, you can access almost all Star Alliance partners, and there is some reasonable predictability regarding the mileage requirements (unlike Sky Team). It used to be that if you could find Star Alliance award availability on individual legs, you could call them up and they would piece it together into a single itinerary for the one-way price. Unfortunately, they seem to be chasing AA into the abyss, to the extent that it is virtually impossible to find first class seats for the domestic portion of an international itinerary. If you do not live in a coastal gateway city, you can expect your domestic legs to be priced separately.
jrpallante is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 6:54 am
  #64  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Programs: AA EXP, UA 1K, DL GM, AS MVP75K
Posts: 72
AA doesn't have any predictable pattern I've seen about when they'll open up inventory, except perhaps within a couple of days of departure for international [it's the opposite on domestic]. They also have the most partners not viewable at aa.com, a shameful, ridiculous scenario all these years later.

In addition, they claim for EP's to have improved availability - but I've never seen it, and EP agents say that's not so even when you call in. Unlike UA, which gives better inventory on nearly all UA flights for status/credit card holders. As well as having more of a chance of opening up inventory closer to departure. And partner airlines like LH/OS/LX have a lot of space turn up a few days before departure.

If you don't get saver on AA, then the "anytime" varies wildly, and even by time of day, and especially from captive hubs like CLT. Miles on all airlines are more a PR tease than a real reward for having earned them - an endless "Sale!" sign in the window luring us in under the guise we'll find something of value. For those that have the "I'll go anywhere, I don't care!" of course you'll find the occasional oddity that strikes a value cord. But those are very few and very far between.
GTITAN likes this.
beyond is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 7:03 am
  #65  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,434
Using AA miles on the Asian carriers for inter Asia travel is a decent value. Other than that they are terrible but still immeasurably better than DL miles where they ask 300000 miles for a one way business class flight from Asia to the States.
caburrito likes this.
travelinmanS is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 7:19 am
  #66  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London
Programs: AA EXP, 1MM
Posts: 640
I find that there is often TATL availability using AA miles, but the flights are on BA metal. That generally means an inferior product and a cash component. The cash component is often about the same as buying a coach ticket. I think, if you want to avoid feeling frustrated and miserable, that is how one needs to look at TATL J redemptions these days - you pay a coach fare, but use the miles to travel in business. Sometimes there will be a better way to achieve the same result. That is basically the same approach many people happily take towards the BA avios scheme.

Of course it isn't as good as it was 10 years ago when AA was losing millions and couldn't fill the premium cabins with paying customers. But, there is still value to be had from AA miles, especially if they have been acquired for free by doing what you would have been doing anyway. Even more so if you have been doing what you would have been doing anyway at someone else's expense.
jlsw7 is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 7:36 am
  #67  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 499
[QUOTE=jrpallante;30151527. They have clearly designed algorithms to ensure that you will not get a decent itinerary on a Saver award. For example, I recently searched for a Business Class award flight from DEN to LHR. The routing they offered at Saver levels was DEN-MIA-DFW-LHR. Aside from the ridiculous backtracking from MIA-DFW, the total travel time was 35+ hours. So I thought maybe I would just buy a cash ticket to DFW, and then take the direct leg from DFW-LHR. Unfortunately, if I start in DFW, that direct flight is not available. Instead, my best option becomes DFW-MIA-PHL-LHR, totaling 30+ hours. Once again, I tried for just the PHL-LHR direct flight, but that is not available. I understand the concept of capacity controls, and I do not expect Saver awards to be available on every flight; however, if I want to fly 5,000 miles, I really do not understand why AA prefers to put me on 3-4 flights totaling 12,000 miles. They are utilizing a far greater capacity, and they are not making the customer particularly happy. The greater irony is that I am a regular volunteer on oversold flights. In many cases, I will book the crappy itineraries, but invariably at least one flight is oversold, and they will re-book me on a better itinerary, along with a few bucks in my pocket.
[/QUOTE]

I don't understand this either other than an almost silly way to discourage redemption of miles. But if they don't want to make the flights to LHR available why not just take them out of award inventory period. I quoted earlier similar shenanigans with routings from SFO or LAX to SYD. No matter which city you start in they route you through the other one to get there. So what purpose does that really serve? Of course if you use an AAnytime award you can get the good routing, but again, if they don't want to sell the flight as a saver, why not just pull the inventory.
CALlegacy is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 7:37 am
  #68  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 20,952
Originally Posted by travelinmanS
Using AA miles on the Asian carriers for inter Asia travel is a decent value. Other than that they are terrible but still immeasurably better than DL miles where they ask 300000 miles for a one way business class flight from Asia to the States.
Well, low-level awards for D1 on Delta between SEA and HKG are currently 50K each-way until the route ends on Oct 2 and are pretty readily available (perhaps that's why the route is ending ). More seriously, low-level D1 awards between Asia and States on DL metal are currently 100K each way (partners are actually cheaper at 85K). Not saying they are easy to find, but there is some availability out there.
xliioper is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 7:43 am
  #69  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 590
Originally Posted by jrpallante
I have miles on all the major alliances, and I routinely make travel plans for 20+ family members and friends. IMHO, I find AA miles the most difficult to use, at least for international travel, which is the only time I use miles. They have clearly designed algorithms to ensure that you will not get a decent itinerary on a Saver award. For example, I recently searched for a Business Class award flight from DEN to LHR. The routing they offered at Saver levels was DEN-MIA-DFW-LHR. Aside from the ridiculous backtracking from MIA-DFW, the total travel time was 35+ hours. So I thought maybe I would just buy a cash ticket to DFW, and then take the direct leg from DFW-LHR. Unfortunately, if I start in DFW, that direct flight is not available. Instead, my best option becomes DFW-MIA-PHL-LHR, totaling 30+ hours. Once again, I tried for just the PHL-LHR direct flight, but that is not available. I understand the concept of capacity controls, and I do not expect Saver awards to be available on every flight; however, if I want to fly 5,000 miles, I really do not understand why AA prefers to put me on 3-4 flights totaling 12,000 miles. They are utilizing a far greater capacity, and they are not making the customer particularly happy. The greater irony is that I am a regular volunteer on oversold flights. In many cases, I will book the crappy itineraries, but invariably at least one flight is oversold, and they will re-book me on a better itinerary, along with a few bucks in my pocket.

FWIW, I find Star Alliance the best for finding award travel, largely because they have the broadest geographic coverage. From the United site, you can access almost all Star Alliance partners, and there is some reasonable predictability regarding the mileage requirements (unlike Sky Team). It used to be that if you could find Star Alliance award availability on individual legs, you could call them up and they would piece it together into a single itinerary for the one-way price. Unfortunately, they seem to be chasing AA into the abyss, to the extent that it is virtually impossible to find first class seats for the domestic portion of an international itinerary. If you do not live in a coastal gateway city, you can expect your domestic legs to be priced separately.
I can confirm that the above is true. Have seen it all the damn time!
kapooncha is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 7:52 am
  #70  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Wesley Chapel, FL
Programs: American Airlines
Posts: 28,009
Originally Posted by jrpallante
Unfortunately, they seem to be chasing AA into the abyss, to the extent that it is virtually impossible to find first class seats for the domestic portion of an international itinerary. If you do not live in a coastal gateway city, you can expect your domestic legs to be priced separately.
Absolutely. With Parker's former side kick running things over there now they are headed on the same dismal path.
enviroian is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 8:11 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Roswell, GA
Programs: AA EXP 2.8m,Lifetime PLT, Hilton Diamond, IHG PlLT, SPG Gold
Posts: 3,112
Originally Posted by Jason Tsongas
In your neighbors pool.
actually in my own pool, and currently am fishing for all the leaves
fotographer is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 8:31 am
  #72  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Gold
Posts: 2,371
Originally Posted by LondonElite
I feel your pain, truly. When you find these unicorns, can you let me know? I want to ride one too.
Uh ... United? They're a crap airline but their miles are literally 1 million times easier to use. Even at 90k miles for SE Asia as opposed to 70k AA. I'd rather be able to use 90k miles than not use 70k. Not that AA miles aren't ever useful - they can be - but it's just so much harder. Not that I didn't apply for another citi card because why not! I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.
beltway and GTITAN like this.
no1cub17 is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 8:37 am
  #73  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 590
Originally Posted by no1cub17
Uh ... United? They're a crap airline but their miles are literally 1 million times easier to use. Even at 90k miles for SE Asia as opposed to 70k AA. I'd rather be able to use 90k miles than not use 70k. Not that AA miles aren't ever useful - they can be - but it's just so much harder. Not that I didn't apply for another citi card because why not! I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.
Singapore Airlines is even easier to use and with a much, much, much, much better product than United. Plus it's less than 90k miles to get to SE Asia.
kapooncha is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 8:51 am
  #74  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: DCA
Programs: AA EXP 3MM, Bonvoy Titanium/LTP
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by jlsw7
I find that there is often TATL availability using AA miles, but the flights are on BA metal. That generally means an inferior product and a cash component. The cash component is often about the same as buying a coach ticket.
QFT. My experience as well!
beltway likes this.
rabbott is offline  
Old Aug 31, 18, 8:53 am
  #75  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Programs: AA PLT, SPG Gold
Posts: 2,371
Originally Posted by kapooncha
Singapore Airlines is even easier to use and with a much, much, much, much better product than United. Plus it's less than 90k miles to get to SE Asia.
Great point. Plus Chase and SPG (RIP) transfer partner!
no1cub17 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread