A rant on AA award options

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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:48 am
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A rant on AA award options

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!
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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by shoelessj View Post
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 understand the frustration, but out of curiosity, which airline are you going to switch to that will reliably offer you their version of milesaver awards whenever it is you want to use them?
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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by shoelessj View Post
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.
I feel your pain, truly. When you find these unicorns, can you let me know? I want to ride one too.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 8:58 am
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"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.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
"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.
Extremely well said.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:06 am
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I have learned thru trail and error, booking AA saver awards is like panning for gold.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:08 am
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I fly the VCE routes regularly, three or four times a year, and I’ve noticed in the last two years that outbound is almost never available at Saver prices but there are a few inbound flights that show up mid week if you have flexibility. I started seeing VCE to ORD seats in May and reserved a saver seat in June (VCE-ORD) for a late October flight. I haven’t found saver availability on other airlines to be better.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
"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.
Well told! This should be in a Wiki. In the (good ole) days of excess capacity, pretty easy to find space. Now ..... not so much.

Safe Travels
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:33 am
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Most of us on FT know the rules of the game and how to make it work (barely) for us. However, there are always new entrants who are shocked---shocked---to find that miles are not cash equivalents, since AA advertising tells us that once you have miles, oh the places you will go.

Lotteries and FF programs relieve people of their money the same way, by selling a fantasy that is very occasionally reality. In both cases, if you don't play you don't win, but that does not mean that if you play you will win.

PS Saver availability IS slightly better with UA miles if you are going to Europe, with partners that don't charge scam fees, and more connections. So it is not entirely unreasonable for the OP to threaten to go elsewhere.
.
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Last edited by SeeBuyFly; Aug 30, 18 at 11:04 am
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:42 am
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AA Vacations to Europe was* giving 20,000 bonus miles (+ their regular 1,000 bonus) to select cities--so if you book these, the extra bonuses can help offset the SAVER-ANYTIME difference. [I've done 3 plus one more in November, 4 x 21,000 + RDMs, make ANYTIME more bearable.] BUT, nothing will soften the removal of n/s between JFK and Europe.
*this may still be in effect(?)
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:06 am
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Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. To everything that was said above. It is very difficult to find award flights that are priced (in miles) the way you expect them to be!
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by ACSBill View Post
I understand the frustration, but out of curiosity, which airline are you going to switch to that will reliably offer you their version of milesaver awards whenever it is you want to use them?
Staralliance is an option:
Quick search turns up Business Saver Awards on LH:
25 Sept ORD-FRA-VCE LH#432 or LH#433 / LH#328 or LH#330
3 Oct VCE-FRA-ORD LH#327 / LH # 432
Total fees $ 120.91 and 140K United miles.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:16 am
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I have several pieces of a set of legs to and within Australia booked as saver awards on AA, HA, and QF in J. It takes some looking, understanding that awards are more available some times than others, and working at constructing routings that work. Some of the legs just did not work, not on AA or using BA Avios either. Sometimes you have to pay money. But, all in all, international saver awards in J on this airline or any other are more of a holy grail than a routine transaction. Then there are the threads over on DL about the 980,000 mile redemption offerings for J awards.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by CALlegacy View Post
international saver awards in J on this airline or any other are more of a holy grail than a routine transaction.
Well said :-)
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Old Aug 30, 18, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly View Post
AA advertising tells us that once you have miles, oh the places you will go.
Hehehe...
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