A rant on AA award options

Old Aug 31, 18, 3:18 pm
  #91  
 
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Originally Posted by avatexrs
Writing this from Venice. Traveling on four AA Saver tickets booked in March for travel Aug 30 - Sept 10. DFW-ORD-VCE outbound and VCE-PHL-DFW return.

Have also traveled to Sydney, Glasgow, London, Tokyo, Costa Rica, Grand Cayman and Curacao, all on AA Saver tickets, mostly non-stops (where available), in the past two years.
Good for you, but in J or Y? It sorta matters.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 3:42 pm
  #92  
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Originally Posted by kapooncha
Good point. Most people are probably just hoping to use miles to go visit Grandma in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They could give a damn about Barcelona or Tokyo or Maldives.
Just curious as to whether there are any data to back this hypothesis up...
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Old Aug 31, 18, 3:52 pm
  #93  
 
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Originally Posted by LondonElite


Just curious as to whether there are any data to back this hypothesis up...
That data is probably proprietary but certainly the vast majority of people I talk to don't even know that you can redeem AA miles for CX J, for example. And I'm talking about people who fly at least a few times a year, not people that are totally unfamiliar with FFPs. I'd imagine (without any data of course) that a lot of people just go to aa.com and redeem miles however they can online without even bothering to find out about other options. The best was when a friend burned 50k on a domestic aanytime award when the cash price was around $400. Her justification was she'd just returned from backpacking in Asia and needed to save money!
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Old Aug 31, 18, 8:04 pm
  #94  
 
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero
AA miles have a lot of value to some destinations. You just need to pick and choose wisely. Partner awards to Asia using AA miles on JL or CX are fairly decent.
You should really be racking up AS miles if this is what you're going for.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 8:48 pm
  #95  
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Originally Posted by no1cub17
That data is probably proprietary but certainly the vast majority of people I talk to don't even know that you can redeem AA miles for CX J, for example. And I'm talking about people who fly at least a few times a year, not people that are totally unfamiliar with FFPs. I'd imagine (without any data of course) that a lot of people just go to aa.com and redeem miles however they can online without even bothering to find out about other options. The best was when a friend burned 50k on a domestic aanytime award when the cash price was around $400. Her justification was she'd just returned from backpacking in Asia and needed to save money!
Agreed. Your average mom and pop flyers log into their account. They have 90k miles and they see they can get 2 roundtrip tickets to visit Grandma in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, for 90,000 miles. They high five each other and celebrate they were able to save $500 which they can use for little joey's braces.

Originally Posted by AZbba
You should really be racking up AS miles if this is what you're going for.
AS miles really aren't easy to accumulate since BoA put in the restrictions on CC apps. Best way to get AS miles was through CC's and Marriott Travel Packages. And both options have been severely cut back.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 9:41 pm
  #96  
 
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The other factor here, besides the economy, is that for the past couple years there have been fantastic TATL J sales coupled with AAVacations offering solid discounts on J tickets US-EU. I somewhat cannot fault AA for not releasing heaps of J saver space and in many cases, especially when you are flexible and booking well in advance for 7+ days the cost of buying J almost makes using miles not a great value compared to other redemption options (ie JL, CX to asia). For the OP who started looking a year ago, at that time they probably could have found some quite reasonable J fares either directly or via AAVacations.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 9:51 pm
  #97  
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Originally Posted by ryan182
The other factor here, besides the economy, is that for the past couple years there have been fantastic TATL J sales coupled with AAVacations offering solid discounts on J tickets US-EU. I somewhat cannot fault AA for not releasing heaps of J saver space and in many cases, especially when you are flexible and booking well in advance for 7+ days the cost of buying J almost makes using miles not a great value compared to other redemption options (ie JL, CX to asia). For the OP who started looking a year ago, at that time they probably could have found some quite reasonable J fares either directly or via AAVacations.
Yes but the flip side to that is not everyone has the inclination to go to Asia. In a perfect world, people would be able to use their miles to destinations that actually interest them.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 10:13 pm
  #98  
 
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Originally Posted by kapooncha
Yes but the flip side to that is not everyone has the inclination to go to Asia. In a perfect world, people would be able to use their miles to destinations that actually interest them.
A "perfect world" is perfectly subjective and impossible to achieve for all and if you want to use your miles to Europe you can very much do so, but at a higher cost (AAnytime) or with BA and their YQ charges. My point was I don't see US-EU J redemptions as a good value due to how cheap advance booking J tickets have been recently to EU and from AAs perspective it seems they are selling most of the seats on these flights so what incentive would they have to release more saver seats? As someone mentioned way up thread should the economy take a crap (not something I'd personally be rooting for) or if airlines decided they'd rather not have reasonably priced J fares to the EU (also not a fan of this happening) then there would likely be more award space. Personally given those two options as events that would likely lead to more saver TATL seats being available I'd rather the current situation, YMMV.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 10:22 pm
  #99  
 
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Originally Posted by kapooncha
AS miles really aren't easy to accumulate since BoA put in the restrictions on CC apps. Best way to get AS miles was through CC's and Marriott Travel Packages. And both options have been severely cut back.
Yup. I looked into switching to AS (back when AA and AS were still friends), and decided against it rather quickly. Unlike AA, AS doesn't let you put awards on hold. AS has a much more limited domestic footprint. AS doesn't seem to have access to all CX awards (at least according to their forum). AS doesn't let you combine airlines on awards i.e. you can't book a CX J award into LAX then book a connection on AA (or even AS) on the same award. And lastly AS has all of one flight a day to our home city, which severely limits their utility for us anyway. As much as AA sucks, AS is in many ways even worse, despite the (in theory) better redemption rates.
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Old Sep 1, 18, 6:26 am
  #100  
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Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly
If so, you have no excuse for ranting (your term) because you couldn't find awards for the specific trip you wanted. It is well known that there is absolutely no guarantee of finding awards for a specific destination, date(s) and class; but your original post clearly indicates that this is news to you.

Of course, if you have a time machine, you can go back to the original AAdvantage program. Guaranteed availability, and car/hotel coupons too. Only problem, no partners, no way to get to Venice---and no seatback video.
No not news to me. AA must be appreciative of you as a customer since you obviously feel any scheme they work to restrict award travel is OK. As stated I looked a year in advance, had some flexibility on dates and was willing to take a reasonable connection (BA to London and 14 hour layover with transfer to a different airport and 1000 in fees wasn't appealing).

Many of my colleagues are Executive Platinum and they share stories of their frustration using AA miles and there appears support to this in many posts.

I initially did (as suggested by one poster) thought to fly to MXP as an option and did find a reasonable BC on United immediately. We ultimately decided it wasn't worth the hassle of adding another leg to our journey.

So my 'rant' and reason for leaving AA was that their miles IMHO are harder to use for my travel than other airlines I can patronize (particularly UA and SA), understanding fully that flexibility and creativity need to be used for all mileage award use (except for class leading WN).
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Old Sep 1, 18, 7:03 am
  #101  
 
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I love this thread because I thought I was just not understanding how to use the AA search function.

BNA to AGP: I can find a great flight out of ORD on Iberia to MAD. But it requires a 10 hour layover in ORD. So, I wonder, what if I start the trip from ORD? Suddenly, no saver inventory on that Iberia flight.

BNA to SCL: Saver award from BNA to DFW (overnight) to MIA to SCL. So, what if I try MIA to SCL? Suddenly, the seat on MIA-SCL evaporates and the only flight is back through DFW.

So I thought I was crazy. But, as you guys are telling me, I am not crazy. The search engine just makes it more difficult. Inventory exists on ORD to MAD, but only if you originate somewhere else. Inventory exists on MIA- SCL, but only if you go to DFW first. ETC.

Knowing that its not just my ignorance in searching actually helps diminish my expectations.

I've got the time to jump through the hoops, and if I have to sit in ORD for 10 hours to get a 'free' TATL in J, I will do it.
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Old Sep 1, 18, 8:22 am
  #102  
 
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There is nothing wrong with using miles at not very high values if that suits where you are going and more ambitious travel is not in the picture. Once you have redeemed that 90,000 miles to get to Europe the rest of the trip is not necessarily cheap. In fact hotel and airline redemptions may only be a small part of total travel budgets, excepting perhaps that tiny fraction of miles earners who have so many millions of miles they can't figure out how to dump them all. The people who visited Grandma may well have covered 100% of the cost of the trip. Granted with clever planning they might have parlayed the benefit into two trips.,
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Old Sep 1, 18, 9:45 am
  #103  
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Originally Posted by LondonElite


Just curious as to whether there are any data to back this hypothesis up...
Delta published the percentage of awards that were for domestic coach a couple years ago and it was something like 90%. I suspect most airlines are in the same ballpark. This really shouldn't be that shocking as the vast majority of FF program members don't actually fly all that frequently nor engage in MS or card-churning games and thus rarely have the points required international J redemptions.
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Old Sep 1, 18, 10:55 am
  #104  
 
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The reason for award availability is to keep the credit card end of the business going. Most people I know who fly economy have just opted for 2% cash back cards and dropped their citi cards as the frustration with them is through the roof. Most people don't want 2 connections and/or 2 hour layovers. When the alliance has a couple of members making awards available, and the others don't (or at least don't without sick YQ), that might be ok for know for those that want to go to Asia, but that availability mismatch isn't sustainable in the long run (as we have seen CX premium award availability for 2 people in the same cabin disappear; won't take long for JAL to follow).
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Old Sep 1, 18, 11:02 am
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit
I love this thread because I thought I was just not understanding how to use the AA search function.

BNA to AGP: I can find a great flight out of ORD on Iberia to MAD. But it requires a 10 hour layover in ORD. So, I wonder, what if I start the trip from ORD? Suddenly, no saver inventory on that Iberia flight.

BNA to SCL: Saver award from BNA to DFW (overnight) to MIA to SCL. So, what if I try MIA to SCL? Suddenly, the seat on MIA-SCL evaporates and the only flight is back through DFW...
As far as I know, you can book and then drop a domestic leg connecting to/from an international leg. No charge. Agents aren't always aware of the rule, but chapter and verse are available on other FT threads, and I have done it (dropped Indian domestic 9W leg ahead of flight back to US).

HOWEVER, a common reason for what you are reporting may be that you are searching for J, and only the US domestic leg is J while IB is Y. aa.com regrettably lists such mixed class itineraries in J searches.
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