A rant on AA award options

Old Sep 1, 18, 2:10 pm
  #106  
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Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly
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.
Dropping a sector is permittd to be done without incurring fees, however the issue here seems to be married sector availability and in that situation is not going to work

If there is avaialbility A-C via B , but not B-C on its own, you cannot book A-C via B and then drop A-B
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Old Sep 1, 18, 2:28 pm
  #107  
 
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Originally Posted by MarkOK
And for the record, I am about to fly on a sAAVer award ticket, I found one that actually works for me, but , the routing/timing of the flight is less than ideal and the cash value for the points at time of booking was still a measly 1.2 cents/pt. I haven't found a better way yet to get my miles to get me anything better.
Yeouch. I often redeem for domestic Saaver tickets, but the minimum I'll redeem for is 2.5 cpm. I just got six economy saaver tickets (together, same reservation, same flights) over christmas to a ski resort destination where the cheapest cash ticket is >$1000. The family is thrilled.

Originally Posted by lwildernorva
I'd add to other posters that when Parker and the US gang took over AA, the FF program and awards reflected their approach at US: lots of sales of miles at discounted rates paired with almost impossible to find SAAver awards. The elimination of the 40K offseason RT coach rate to Europe hurt someone like you, for sure. I suspect UA will eventually adopt this approach as well, however, given that some of Parker's people are now helping to run the show there.
One thing the US program had was off-peak business awards. 60k roundtrip to europe in Envoy Suite was unbeatable, and we abused the hell out of them.
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Old Sep 1, 18, 3:01 pm
  #108  
 
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I just flew AMS - DFW - LGA in saver for two seats. I booked the flight about two months out. Initially, the DFW to LGA leg was in coach. I was able to switch the flights to first class about two days before departure as domestic saver space opened up.

With the new DFW and PHL to Europe flights, I wouldn’t be surprised if saver inventory opens up a bit closure to departure as a rule (a couple months out). With AA abandoning NYC, you will have to connect in Dallas, but this particular redemption was worth it (the 777 is nice in business). I used Flying Blue to get to Europe though, and it seems like Delta/Flying Blue or United will be better ways to get to Europe going forward.

If things keep going like this, someone is going to adopt the strategy of buying sale tickets in J to Europe/Asia (especially with people revenue based earning and class bonuses) and redeeming miles domestically.
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Old Sep 1, 18, 3:19 pm
  #109  
 
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Originally Posted by shoelessj
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).
In fairness you have to have flexibility with WN too. If you want to go to the other 85% of the world you are going to have to be flexible because it ain't going to happen on WN.
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Old Sep 1, 18, 5:58 pm
  #110  
 
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Originally Posted by oopsz

One thing the US program had was off-peak business awards. 60k roundtrip to europe in Envoy Suite was unbeatable, and we abused the hell out of them.
Although they were sometimes there, I found the US awards mostly vaporware with many biz awards normally priced higher in the dynamic fashion that US brought to AA; in contrast, it was fairly easy to get the 40K AA coach ticket on a number of routes.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 8:11 am
  #111  
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Originally Posted by justhere
In fairness you have to have flexibility with WN too. If you want to go to the other 85% of the world you are going to have to be flexible because it ain't going to happen on WN.
Agree they only fly to 15% of destinations but WN probably reaches 85% of where I want to typically go.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 8:45 am
  #112  
 
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Originally Posted by beyond

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.
Unless I missed what would be a VERY major AA change, this is NOT how AAnytime award pricing works. For a particular day, ALL AAnytime flights cost the same number of miles to redeem. They do NOT vary in mileage cost by flight or time of day. They DO vary by DATE. You're thinking of DELTA that does the "vary by flight" mileage redemption costs.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 1:45 pm
  #113  
 
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Originally Posted by Uncle Nonny
Enjoy that Southwest flight to Venice.
Venice is spectacular!
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Old Sep 2, 18, 4:29 pm
  #114  
 
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Even flying out of DFW have virtually never been offered a non-stop or even more or less direct one-stop domestic routing in years. So have used virtually no points in years. You would have to use more miles close-in but was not that way pre-merger.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 6:21 am
  #115  
 
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Variable Miles

Originally Posted by LovePrunes
Unless I missed what would be a VERY major AA change, this is NOT how AAnytime award pricing works. For a particular day, ALL AAnytime flights cost the same number of miles to redeem. They do NOT vary in mileage cost by flight or time of day. They DO vary by DATE. You're thinking of DELTA that does the "vary by flight" mileage redemption costs.
I've seen numerous times where the premium cabins on transcons would vary by the time of day and/or how many hours prior to the flight when all were deemed "anytime" awards. I wouldn't mind them goosing some if they would also reduce others - but of course they don't. Even when there is plenty of space left with hours to go, they won't release it.

And as for captive hubs - they do charge a lot more miles and/or reduce inventory to just anytime from hubs like CLT - so if you're flying CLT-SYR, you pay 20K, if you fly RDU-CLT-SYR you pay 12.5K, same flights. This also means that if you have the credit card discount, it only applies to "saver" awards, so you can never get the discount on anytime, regardless of how much inventory is left.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 7:52 am
  #116  
 
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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.
Thus making frequent flyer miles on any carrier as useful as an empty bag of chips. Its why I no longer use credit cards that offer miles. Having status is not yet quite that useless (give it time) but definitely to the point that my status earned is a simple by-product of me purchasing the seat I want, for the route I want on the plane I want. For me, my business relationships are like my private ones, you dont want me, no worries, but dont come crawling to me when you need me (aka the next downturn).

You have to view a plane plane ticket like any other NON service based product. Buy the the actual seat you are getting, and only buy what you exactly need with absolutely no regard for any additional intrinsic value above and beyond that seat.

Cheers,
TG
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Old Sep 3, 18, 6:05 pm
  #117  
 
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Originally Posted by CALlegacy
Then there are the threads over on DL about the 980,000 mile redemption offerings for J awards.
"Every seat is an award seat!"

Originally Posted by 3Cforme
I see your point but it gets to the heart of why Southwest's and JetBlue's FF plans are so (relatively) well-regarded: fare-based redemptions are transparent and market-price-based.
... with no option for arbitrage. The seats are cheap on points only when they are also cheap to buy with cash, and anytime they are expensive for cash (such as last minute bookings), they are also expensive for points. I suppose it is very transparent, but some of the best value I get from legacy airline miles is when I can get a Saver seat on a flight that otherwise would cost a lot of money to buy.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 7:16 pm
  #118  
 
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Aside from the poor availability, process of searching for awards on aa.com is lacking - why does selecting the mileage search option re-direct away from the normal booking pages and take you over to what looks like a remnant of aa.com circa 2005? On any other US major airline, mileage search is an option that you toggle on and off within the main travel booking pages, not a separate section of the website that looks like a time machine.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 9:16 pm
  #119  
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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.
Yep. and TONS more J and F availability.

I transfer all chase, citi, Amex points to SQ.

we are flying them in November to Thailand in First Class.
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Old Sep 13, 18, 6:29 pm
  #120  
 
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I no longer use miles for international travel on AA (or other majors, for that matter). The fees are outrageous, and there is limited availability. Therefore, I burn my miles on domestic travel (very low fees), and I've shifted my spending from AA and UA credit cards to AMEX, where I now accumulate points for my normal spending. For international travel, I now shop around for decent business class fares, and use my AMEX points or just buy the tickets. As a result, I no longer feel tied to AA and UA (I live in Chicago) and simply shop around for paid fares. It's really quite liberating. I wonder if the majors are seeing a bleed in loyalty from customers that are shifting their strategies as I have.
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