A rant on AA award options

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Old Sep 14, 18, 1:21 am
  #121  
 
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Pricing can vary on Anytime awards from flight to flight. Here's an example:

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Old Sep 14, 18, 9:16 am
  #122  
nrr
 
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I was looking for SAAVER y awards for JFK-LAS, there was lots of availability--BUT, I would depart JFK at 8:00 AM and arrive in LAS at 10 PM = an 8 hour stopover in PHX or CLT.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 6:06 pm
  #123  
 
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
I was looking for SAAVER y awards for JFK-LAS, there was lots of availability--BUT, I would depart JFK at 8:00 AM and arrive in LAS at 10 PM = an 8 hour stopover in PHX or CLT.
You could try redeeming JFK-LAX and drive to LAS. Might be worth looking at if you're getting a car. That route also has the A321.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 12:00 am
  #124  
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Originally Posted by krakendown View Post
You could try redeeming JFK-LAX and drive to LAS. Might be worth looking at if you're getting a car. That route also has the A321.
I normally don't rent a car, but if I did, driving overnight is as bad (or worse) as 8 hours in CLT.
Flying to PHX (@12.5) and driving to LAS is also a non-option.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 1:51 am
  #125  
 
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A few thoughts here: (1) AY had great AA miles redemption options for J and Y for its new LAX-HEL flight next Spring/Summer a couple of weeks ago, with connecting flight options on either end. Maybe there are still some options open. (2) I agree that ST has the poorest redemption options (J to Europe has been creeping up to 172,000 mi R/T, and Y is 74,000 miles R/T) but on the other hand I prefer an airline that is fairly flexible and actually takes care of you when there are IROPS (DL) rather than one that easily goes into meltdown mode and gets you home a day later than planned (UA, AA). I have been flying AA, UA, DL and WN a lot domestically lately, and I must say that UA and AA have not impressed me. So, the usable miles of ST and to some extent AA come at a considerable price of inconvenience for the flier earning the miles.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 7:30 am
  #126  
 
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I was about to give up on AA awards but got extremely lucky this week. I was just able to grab 2 milesavers CX JFK to HKG in J, and Etihad in the First Apartments, AA LHR to DFW in J, but cannot get DFW to TPA. I can fly around the world in J and F but not a 2 hour domestic flight. It was funny when I told the agent I want to avoid BA, she just laughed and said she understands.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 4:16 pm
  #127  
 
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Originally Posted by jm62 View Post
I was about to give up on AA awards but got extremely lucky this week. I was just able to grab 2 milesavers CX JFK to HKG in J, and Etihad in the First Apartments, AA LHR to DFW in J, but cannot get DFW to TPA. I can fly around the world in J and F but not a 2 hour domestic flight. It was funny when I told the agent I want to avoid BA, she just laughed and said she understands.
Are you flying solo to HKG? Is that 100k R/T? I'm looking to do something similar and need to know how much to save up. Also what dates.
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Old Sep 22, 18, 4:10 pm
  #128  
 
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Is that in business class? I can usually find economy awards to any destination, but there is so much more value in business class awards that those are the only ones I seek.
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Old Sep 22, 18, 6:16 pm
  #129  
 
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Just to add a data point and not defending AA or anything, as many of these "rants" are just one offs for the poster, as is my example. Just booked 2 J saver awards US-TLV including F on AA to ORD and J on QR and RJ. 70k one way. Could have had similar on the return but wanted a more direct routing coming home due to time constraints. This was about 30 days in advance. And putting it on hold was great as it let me keep checking for better routings (which I found before having to pay). Originally the QR was from IAH and was on the alternate day when there was old J and no Qsuite. And would have had to book a separate ticket to get to IAH as I hit the 4 segment limit. Booked it so as to have something then found the better routing via ORD and one less segment so able to add the domestic leg.

Granted I had some flexibility and have a couple of 6ish hour layovers, as well as a ~22 one in Doha, which I think is great as I get to experience that city as well. But overall very happy with what I got for 70k/ticket. Give or take about 7cents/point although can't seem to actually price the ticket with the exact flights I have. Either way I'm happy. And this comes after booking 5 saver awards via Avios for r/t tickets in Y to Hawaii during the summer about 3 weeks in advance. (Yes, all 5 on the same flights).

I know not everyone can wait till last minute so I'm not trying to disprove or discredit their experience, just sharing mine.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 7:24 am
  #130  
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Just following up as original poster. As indicated I thoroughly checked Bus C options for a year for our trip to Venice. As stated no viable options ever showed up.
The partner BA flight (typically only carrier that came up) availability was terrible (long layovers and going to diff airports) and when their fees are added it became ridiculous. So I initially booked a 30k saver coach nonstop and paid for "premium seats" two together in the back of the bus. Upon booking if BC became available they said I could upgrade for the extra points. Sure.

On the return all I could find was a non saver non stop AA coach for 65K points. I had to buy some points for my wife and mistakenly bought enough for 60k not 65k so had to pay the fee twice to add a few points. Obviously that is on me. I paid again for the 'premium' back of the bus seats (premium since there are only two in a row). Checking again on Saturday I saw our flight redemption was now available as a saver for 30K. Fantastic I thought- I was on hold for twenty minutes and the very professional agent said they were available and would make the change. Oh by the way that will be 150 bucks for the change and 25 for your wife. Geez they collect at every turn. I considered forgoing this but figured 70k miles (as bad as redemption availability are) had to be worth 175 bucks.

Anyway that is where thing sit. I know AA is not alone in the fee chase. I am still waiting to see whether I will be charged an exorbitant fee for baggage overseas as the policy on this does not seem clear. At the end of the day I was never close to getting some saver BC seats which was my goal and one at the outset I thought could be managed with some flexibility and determination. I did get two saver coach seats with some effort and fees.

Throughout this exercise I checked UA for fun (of course they do not fly non stop to VCE) and was almost always able to get a reasonable saver BC redemption. This experience reinforces in my mind the better value of the UA points.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 12:12 pm
  #131  
 
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Originally Posted by shoelessj View Post
Just following up as original poster. As indicated I thoroughly checked Bus C options for a year for our trip to Venice. As stated no viable options ever showed up.
The partner BA flight (typically only carrier that came up) availability was terrible (long layovers and going to diff airports) and when their fees are added it became ridiculous. So I initially booked a 30k saver coach nonstop and paid for "premium seats" two together in the back of the bus. Upon booking if BC became available they said I could upgrade for the extra points. Sure.

On the return all I could find was a non saver non stop AA coach for 65K points. I had to buy some points for my wife and mistakenly bought enough for 60k not 65k so had to pay the fee twice to add a few points. Obviously that is on me. I paid again for the 'premium' back of the bus seats (premium since there are only two in a row). Checking again on Saturday I saw our flight redemption was now available as a saver for 30K. Fantastic I thought- I was on hold for twenty minutes and the very professional agent said they were available and would make the change. Oh by the way that will be 150 bucks for the change and 25 for your wife. Geez they collect at every turn. I considered forgoing this but figured 70k miles (as bad as redemption availability are) had to be worth 175 bucks.

Anyway that is where thing sit. I know AA is not alone in the fee chase. I am still waiting to see whether I will be charged an exorbitant fee for baggage overseas as the policy on this does not seem clear. At the end of the day I was never close to getting some saver BC seats which was my goal and one at the outset I thought could be managed with some flexibility and determination. I did get two saver coach seats with some effort and fees.

Throughout this exercise I checked UA for fun (of course they do not fly non stop to VCE) and was almost always able to get a reasonable saver BC redemption. This experience reinforces in my mind the better value of the UA points.
Funnily enough my situation is exactly the opposite. Got what I wanted with AA miles and am using UA to come back but there are no J saver awards on UA and Y is 42.5k miles. So comparatively speaking, 42.5k for Y on UA vs. 70k J on AA isn't a very good value but I'm more concerned with shortest time to get home. If J opens on UA or AA I'll gladly pay a few hundred $$ to redeposit/change, etc. I'm not going to let $200 or $300 be the thing I remember about the trip.

In your situation did you check other airports? Intra europe flights on some of the LCC's can be very cheap. Also, high speed trains are a good option. Did you look at flying into Milan, or Rome, or Zurich, or (fill in the blank)?
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Old Sep 24, 18, 7:13 am
  #132  
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Originally Posted by justhere View Post
Funnily enough my situation is exactly the opposite. Got what I wanted with AA miles and am using UA to come back but there are no J saver awards on UA and Y is 42.5k miles. So comparatively speaking, 42.5k for Y on UA vs. 70k J on AA isn't a very good value but I'm more concerned with shortest time to get home. If J opens on UA or AA I'll gladly pay a few hundred $$ to redeposit/change, etc. I'm not going to let $200 or $300 be the thing I remember about the trip.

In your situation did you check other airports? Intra europe flights on some of the LCC's can be very cheap. Also, high speed trains are a good option. Did you look at flying into Milan, or Rome, or Zurich, or (fill in the blank)?
As stated I was pretty creative in looking for options. While the non stop ORD VCE was preferable I looked at direct flights to US cities frequently. The best I saw in one year leaving ORD was AA flight to PHL at 6 AM with connection at 7 to VCE. It disappeared quickly and I don't know if it was truly available and while I might enjoy BC there is no way I am getting up at 3 in the morning and sitting in PHL for 10 hours to enjoy this experience. Plus of course any change I make incurs the dreaded fees again.

So based on my conversation with many colleagues who are at the Plat Exec level and my anecdotal experience (over a one year period) I will vote with my feet to fly UA from ORD for point value to complement my 90% flying of WN. In fairness I did wind up with non stop coach tickets at a reduced level despite some extra
fees which was undermined to me by not being able to find any reasonable options in BC for a year. Additionally, after all of my complaining I did kind of rethink the

Sidebar comment, I don't know if hotels and airlines truly appreciate the point value, award availability importance to many travelers.. I dumped Hilton (Diamond) because their points became so diluted and will be doing the same with AA. I will usually suck it up on longer WN flights as I look at the value the points bring .
The only exception being when I can buy a FC ticket on alternative carrier for significantly less than WN Business Class which is not uncommon on some routes. JMHO
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