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ARCHIVE: 2017 HELP DESK: MileSAAver / SAAver award questions, assistance

ARCHIVE: 2017 HELP DESK: MileSAAver / SAAver award questions, assistance

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Old Jan 6, 19, 6:31 am   -   Wikipost
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ARCHIVE: 2017 HELP DESK: MileSAAver / SAAver Award Availability - Help, Assistance & Discussion

The current thread can be read here.


Some of you might have found your thread merged into this "consolidated" thread. If your desire is to become thoroughly familiar with the knowledge that has been accumulated about the process for acquiring MileSAAver awards feel free to read this entire thread. If you only want the assistance from those who have the knowledge your request has been merged at the end. Feel free to wait for a forthcoming answer.

If you have reached this thread by using the search process you have the same choices as above. Read the thread and become knowledgeable or post at the end and wait for a forthcoming answer.

thanks
~magic111


NOTE: for more detailed fare rules, see AA oneworld & Other Airline Partner Award information, rules (master thd)

Awards can generally be held for five days; five day extensions require continued availability of your flights and generating a new award booking and five day hold.

Though AA can start releasing awards 331 days from the desired flight date (even though some other airlines might make award seats available to their members 355 days out), it’s very likely award seats may be released a few days after that. If seats aren’t sold and Revenue Management algorithms signify slow sales, more seats might be released going forward.


Airlines that can be booked for award travel on aa.com

oneworld alliance airline partners
  • AA - American Airlines
  • BA - British Airways (awards incur significant YQ surcharge)
  • AY - Finnair
  • IB - Iberia
  • QF - Qantas
  • QR - Qatar Airways
  • RJ - Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 - S7 Airlines
  • UL - Sri Lankan Airlines
other airline partners
  • 9K - Cape Air (but only certain cities)
  • TN - Air Tahiti Nui
  • AS - Alaska Airlines
  • EY - Etihad
  • HA - Hawaiian Airlines


All others must be requested by telephone; see Note below.

NOTE: To search for partner awards, go to advanced search from the awards search or home page and select all airlines.


Full list of oneworld airline partners (and their affiliates)
  • AA - American Airlines
  • BA - British Airways (Cityflyer, Comair, OpenSkies, Sun-Air of Scandinavia)
  • CX - Cathay Pacific (Dragonair)
  • AY -Finnair (Flybe)
  • IB - Iberia (Air Nostrum, Iberia Express)
  • JL - Japan Airlines (JAL Express, J-Air, Japan Transocean Air)
  • LA- LAN Airlines (LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador, LAN Express, LAN Colombia, LAN Peru only, merging with JJ to LATAM)
  • MH - Malaysia Airlines
  • QF - Qantas Airways (QantasLink, Jetconnect)
  • QR - Qatar Airways
  • RJ - Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 - S7 Airlines (Globus) (excludes Siberia / far eastern Russia awards)
  • UL - SriLankan Airlines
  • JJ - TAM Airlines (merging with LA to LATAM)

When you do call, you might want to search for award space on the flights you want and tell the agent about those flights; sometimes AA agents won't find award seats unless they search by segment.

When using other airline web sites or tools to search for award availability, it’s best to do so by segment rather than by trip. E. g. BA May show availability SAN-LHR and LHR-AMS, but not SAN-AMS. And in some instances (EY, FJ, etc.) AA US may not see availability that AA Australia or New Zealand might see.

Full list of additional airline partners offering award redemptions
  • TN - Air Tahiti Nui
  • AS - Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
  • 9K - Cape Air
  • EY - Etihad Airways
  • FJ - Fiji Airways
  • GF - Gulf Air
  • HA - Hawaiian Airlines


NOTE: Ticketing charge


Code:
oneworld Partners Award Fare Codes First-Business-Economy
 --------------------------------------------------------
 AA - American Airlines Z U T
 --------------------------------------------------------
 AY – Finnair U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 BA – British Airways Z U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 CX – Cathay Pacific Z U T
 KA - DragonAir
 --------------------------------------------------------
 IB – Iberia U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 JL – Japan Airlines (Intl) Z U T
 JL – Japan Airlines (Dom) Z D S
 --------------------------------------------------------
 LATAM Group
 JJ - TAM Airlines O I X
 LA – LAN Chile Z U T
 XL - LAN Ecuador
 LP - LAN Peru
 4M - LAN Argentina
 --------------------------------------------------------
 MH - Malaysia Airlines P U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 QF - QANTAS Airways P U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 QR - Qatar Airways Z U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 RJ – Royal Jordanian U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 S7 – S7 Airlines U E
 --------------------------------------------------------
 UL - SriLankan Airlines
 --------------------------------------------------------
 
 Other Partners First Business Economy
 --------------------------------------------------------
 FJ – Fiji Airways U X
 --------------------------------------------------------
 TN – Air Tahiti Nui F for Business U for Economy
 --------------------------------------------------------
 AS – Alaska Airlines A W
 --------------------------------------------------------
 LY – El Al Israel P X E
 --------------------------------------------------------
 EY - Etihad O I N
 --------------------------------------------------------
 HA – Hawaiian Airlines D T
 --------------------------------------------------------
Effective February 16, 2015, a Reservations Ticketing Service Charge of $30.00 for domestic itineraries and $40.00 for international itineraries will be applied by AA Reservations when ticketing award reservations that can be booked on aa.com. The charge is waived for award reservations that cannot be booked on aa.com including reduced mileage awards, and for Executive Platinums. N.B. Executive Platinums booking award for non-EP will pay the service charges.
NOTE: Rather than release SAAver Awards at 330 days out, AA generally delays 48 hours after the 330 day time period has begun, at or about midnight Central time.

Other rules that may affect your awards:

Award Rules

American Airlines Awards are valid for travel on flights that are marketed and operated by AA (no codeshares). These awards can be booked online at AA.com.

oneworld and Other Airline awards are valid for travel on AA and any of its partner airlines, and can include travel on multiple partners. Many of these awards must be booked over the phone, and will not incur a Ticketing Service Charge (waived for EXPs in any case) if they cannot be booked online.
Up to four one-way awards can be booked on a single PNR. Codeshares are not bookable as Awards.

MPM or Maximum Permitted Miles: A Fare or award may not exceed the most direct routing by more than 25% (unless the fare routing includes a ticketed point deduction (essentially a miles allowance that extends MPM). See MPM / Maximum Permitted Mileage & Ticketed Point Deductions (merged threads).

Stopovers and Connections

Stopovers are no longer allowed on AA awards. Stopovers will require multiple awards.

Connections are limited to two connections / three flight segments for domestic awards, and three connections / four flight segments for international awards as of Aug 2017. Link

Domestic Connections must be under 4 hours for domestic flights, with some exceptions: "LIFO" (Last In - First Out connections are generally allowed.

Hawaii itinerary: Effective on 14 Jul 2014 on an all-AA-metal award itinerary, you now have up to 18 hours to connect when traveling to/from Hawaii. NOTE: Hawaii interisland connections must be separate awards and can not be included as part of a mainland-island award.

International Connections must generally not exceed 23:59 hours. Some leeway has occasionally been granted when connecting flights are not daily. If the itinerary includes an international flight, the rules for international connections apply. Link to these courtesy of JonNYC.

If there is a non-stop flight that departs after the 4h / 23h59m windows and arrives at the destination earlier than a connecting flight within the 4h / 23h59m window, the passenger may be booked on the non-stop flight. It may be difficult getting some agents to book this.

"Most Significant Carrier" rule: To price as a single award, AAdvantage requires the most significant carrier to publish a cash fare (non-constructed) between the origin and destination. Airline MSC (e.g. DFW-SFO-HKG-BKK, CX SFO-HKG is the prevailing or most significant carrier) would have to have a published fare from XXX to YYY that allows travel on all included airlines, and routing that you want. If the MSC only offers constructed fares between your desired origin and destination, AA will price this as two awards.

Constructed fares: Another rule disallows awards where the fare must be constructed (also referred to as "YY"): Using a partner, the trip will require two awards if the governing carrier (e,g. airline operating on the major route, such as transpacific carrier) doesn't publish a through fare that includes the award's proposed origin and destination that allows the carriers proposed.

See this thread about examples using TN.

Married Segment Logic - a prospective trip may be available when searching segment by segment, yet not be bookable through from origin to destination. When selling seats for through flights and the desired inventory is not available, you cannot opt to sell the flight point-to-point. If sold point-to-point, the error response MULTIPLE SEGMENTS FOR SAME FLIGHT - SELL AS ONE SEGMENT will be received, indicating this booking is not allowed. Overriding the error check by ending the PNR twice is not acceptable.

See Award with available segments not bookable? (Married Segment issues)
Resources

NOTE: New award charts are posted on AA.com from time to time. See the American Airlines charts here and the oneworld and partner award charts here.
Some airlines or areas have different, extra or special characteristics for securing awards. See

aa.com Basic (front page) vs Advanced Award Search Results (abbreviated results for front page search vs. Advanced award search)

AAdvantage awards to / from Australia, New Zealand link

AAdvantage awards to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador link

AAdvantage awards on Air Tahiti Nui link

AAdvantage awards using British Airways incurring (avoiding) high fees link

AAdvantage award on Cathay Pacific (and Cathay Dragon) link

AAdvantage awards using Etihad Airways link

AAdvantage awards using Fiji Airways link

AAdvantage awards using Japan Airlines link

AAdvantage awards using Qantas Airways link

AAdvantage awards on S7 (Siberian) Airlines link
Awards assistance tools: Use at your own risk; may not be up to date. These are not recommendations.
  • Check this oneworld interactive map and timetable by Innosked to see potential routes.

  • British Airways Executive Club: You can sign up for British Airways Executive Club, Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank or Qantas Frequent Flyer to use their sites to find awards (look for the lowest level awards) you can't see on aa.com. BA in particular is prone to show "phantom" availability.

  • Award booking services - list and reviews (FT thread)

  • Award Nexus: It's easy to do your experiments for some free browsing (click "more signup options" under the green Purchase button to sign up with your FlyerTalk login info). You might want to run each segment rather than origin to destination.


    Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
    ...Award Nexus is free (up to a point) for FlyerTalk users. Click "more signup options" under the green Purchase button to sign up for free as a FlyerTalk member.


    What I like about Award Nexus is it has a much nicer user interface than BA and lets you choose whether to search through BA and/or QF, and as you can see each of those may give somewhat different results.


    The "cost" to do all these searches once was a total of 12 points, and you get 200 points free when you signup, and then every 90 days you can reload 100 more points for free (once you're below 10 points). So that gives an idea of how many searches could do free...


  • AwardAce: Compare Award Redemptions Across Airlines In Seconds

  • AwardHacker: "a tool we build to tell you how to travel with the least miles"

  • Award Nexus: which can search availability but can't determine cost, with FT member free limited use

  • Economical Excursionist's Tools: compare Frequent Flyer Mile Redemptions

  • ExpertFlyer is a common tool used on FT. There is a $99.99 annual fee, monthly fee and five day trial

  • Great Circle Mapper is useful for calculating distance and MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage)

  • You can try PEX+ (currently in beta), which will even tell you how many miles you'll need, though it draws data from aa.com and S7 so it can't reveal awards that can not be seen on those sites.

  • Travel Codex Award Maximiser commercial blog


Also see:

aa.com Basic (front page) vs Advanced Award Search Results

Phantom / false AA award availability with AA partners (consolidated)

oneworld and Other Airline (Partner) Awards info, rules 2014 on

Help with British Airways / BA surcharge / YQ (AA award on BA, consolidated) (Awards using BA incur significant "YQ" surcharges.)

UK APD / Air Passenger Duty charged for UK departures[/quote] (Flights originating in the UK other than INV or BFS - or connections 24:00 or over - incur UK Air Passenger Duty excise taxes.)

MileSAAver / SAAver award reduction / scarcity >= Aug 2011 onward (consolidated)

Older posts from 2017 have been archived to: this archive thread

Older posts from 2016 have been archived to: this archive thread

Older posts through 2015 have been archived to: this archive thread
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Old Jan 2, 17, 11:35 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 287
Arrow ARCHIVE: 2017 HELP DESK: MileSAAver / SAAver award questions, assistance

When looking on the AA website for biz MileSaaver seats to Australia, there is almost zero availability. And when seats do show they are sometimes only partly in biz. What is the best way to find and book AA award biz seats?

Does elite status give you more availability?

If you talk to Award desk can they find more availability (and is there a charge for talking to them)?

How do you book partner tickets with AA miles? Can you book with the partners? I'm guessing the answer is no.

Lastly, I thought I read about some website/service where they can find increased availability of Saaver awards for dates and flights you want--and charge a fee for it. Ring a bell with anyone?
EQDsSUCK is offline  
Old Jan 2, 17, 11:52 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 2
Redeeming Miles to SE Asia

Hi All,

New to posting on the forum but I've read plenty of great pieces of advice on here over the years! I'm currently trying to plan a trip from Boston to SE Asia, most likely Vietnam or Thailand for the spring of 2016, probably in May. I was hoping to book with AA miles, but am having trouble finding any flights to Thailand or Vietnam with miles. It seems like the closest I can get in Hong Kong, and then would have to purchase flights from there separately.

Does anyone have any experience redeeming AA miles to this area of the world? Thanks in advance!
Brett Murray is offline  
Old Jan 2, 17, 11:54 am
  #3  
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Starting from what city? Which Australian destinations have you checked?

Business Class SAAver seats to/from Australia are notoriously hard to find. And award-seat availability on FJ -- which flies LAX-NAN and NAN-SYD -- will not be displayed on aa.com.

To book partner-award flights with AA miles, you must book through AA -- either at aa.com if possible, or by calling AA if not.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 11:55 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: AA EXP
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How are you searching for the flights? Any awards to Thailand or Vietnam will involve flights on AA partners (Cathay or JAL), which must be booked over the phone. Availability for those won't show up on AA.com.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 11:58 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 2
Thanks for getting back to me. So even when I specify "All Airlines" when I'm searching on aa.com that won't include their partners? I've booked BA flights on there with miles before. Is there anyway to see available award flights before calling?
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Old Jan 2, 17, 12:13 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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You can't check Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines award inventory on AA.com, so you'll need to call for this routing. You could fly BOS-HKG-BKK all on Cathay and you can book that with AA miles, but need to call (or check other sites (e.g., BA.com)) to check the award inventory.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 12:37 pm
  #7  
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Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Starting from what city? Which Australian destinations have you checked?

Business Class SAAver seats to/from Australia are notoriously hard to find. And award-seat availability on FJ -- which flies LAX-NAN and NAN-SYD -- will not be displayed on aa.com.

To book partner-award flights with AA miles, you must book through AA -- either at aa.com if possible, or by calling AA if not.
So to book Fiji to Sydney, you have to call AA and get them to check award availability on the phone? And then I'm guessing you would have to book separate awards for CONUS to Tahiti and for Tahiti to Australia?
EQDsSUCK is offline  
Old Jan 2, 17, 12:43 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by aves17 View Post
Searching via AA's website is the easiest way for Australia redemptions. Since the award routing rules require you to fly direct between the CONUS and Australia, all you're seeing is the normal crappy availability on the few routes operated by AA/QF between the two points.

No, not unless you're an EXP and then there is supposedly expanded sAAver space, though only for AA operated flights. On a highly popular route like CONUS-Australia, I highly doubt you'll see any added space.

No. They can see what you can see in this particular instance. In some cases with partners (i.e., CX, etc.) you can call the Australian line if the US line isn't able to see the space you're seeing and have them book it for you.
So, you're saying to call the Australian phone line for Cathay Pacific to find award seats available? But then don't I still have to book with AA? How does that work?

Originally Posted by aves17 View Post
If this is actually a service, I can all but guarantee there is some shadiness going on. AA and their OW partners control their inventory and no one else. If someone is promising you to open up additional sAAver award space for you, it's at best a scam and at worst, fraudulent.
Hmmmm....I'll try to find what I'm talking about.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 1:05 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by aves17 View Post

If this is actually a service, I can all but guarantee there is some shadiness going on. AA and their OW partners control their inventory and no one else. If someone is promising you to open up additional sAAver award space for you, it's at best a scam and at worst, fraudulent.
Okay, I guess what I was trying to recall isn't that suspicious. Its just expert flyer that finds seats for you.

This is what caught my ear:
"Normally, ExpertFlyer only displays fare buckets on the Flight Availability response screen that are revenue producing. However, most airlines have separate fare buckets for non-revenue inventory. These “hidden fares” are used to allocate available seats for upgrades and mileage-only awards. Presently, only a few airlines make their hidden fares available through ExpertFlyer. Refer to the Support section and the FAQ’s on ExpertFlyer to get the latest list."

Does anyone use this and found it valuable for finding award seats? Its $99.99 per year.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 1:38 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by EQDsSUCK View Post
So to book Fiji to Sydney, you have to call AA and get them to check award availability on the phone? And then I'm guessing you would have to book separate awards for CONUS to Tahiti and for Tahiti to Australia?
Yes, you have to call AA. No, you do not (necessarily) have to book two separate awards, as long as: 1) you do not spend more than 24 hours in Fiji (which is not Tahiti); and FJ has a published through-fare from your origination city to SYD that permits your particular routing.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 1:40 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Brett Murray View Post
Thanks for getting back to me. So even when I specify "All Airlines" when I'm searching on aa.com that won't include their partners? I've booked BA flights on there with miles before. Is there anyway to see available award flights before calling?
Only about half of AA's partner carriers will show up on award searches at aa.com; CX and JL are not among them.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 1:49 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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I have an 85K MileSaver award on hold until midnight tonight, SFO-PHI-LHR-FCO. SFO-PHI is about 5.5 hours, and PHI-LHR is about 6.5 hours. Despite redeeming for F, they have me in economy SFO-PHI because, "there are no award seats available."

I'm not sure I want to redeem 85K miles for F when for almost half the trip I'd be in Y. EF shows F5 SFO-PHI, but they are not letting me take one of them. I'm thinking of confirming the award and expecting that a seat in F will become available to me. My question is, if there is only one F seat available will I get first priority for it since I am redeeming miles for F, or will an EXP using an SWU on paid Y be ahead of me?

The other option is to purchase a Y ticket, which they said is around $770, and use a SWU. They said they can confirm me in F with a SWU on the same route SFO-PHI, but not PHI-LHR. I don't want to think about sitting in coach PHI-LHR. EF is showing J7 for the TATL, and the seat map is more than half empty. However, if I purchase the ticket today, just 3 days in advance, even as an EXP I might be stuck in coach PHI-LHR, which would really stink on that plane, and would result in burning an SWU for just a domestic flight, which I don't like to do.

Does anyone know if someone redeeming miles for F is ahead of EXP's using an SWU? Should I buy the ticket at the cheap Y price and gamble on an SWU getting me to business? Am I missing something?
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Old Jan 2, 17, 3:43 pm
  #13  
 
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OP, there are multiple existing threads addressing exactly the questions you've asked, often with lengthy wikis which already have the answers you're looking for. Would suggest browsing through the "oneworld and partner awards", "using AA miles to Australia", as well as "Cathay Pacific awards" threads. The more knowledge you arm yourself with the more we can help you!
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Old Jan 2, 17, 3:56 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by EQDsSUCK View Post
When looking on the AA website for biz MileSaaver seats to Australia, there is almost zero availability. And when seats do show they are sometimes only partly in biz. What is the best way to find and book AA award biz seats?

Does elite status give you more availability?

If you talk to Award desk can they find more availability (and is there a charge for talking to them)?

How do you book partner tickets with AA miles? Can you book with the partners? I'm guessing the answer is no.

Lastly, I thought I read about some website/service where they can find increased availability of Saaver awards for dates and flights you want--and charge a fee for it. Ring a bell with anyone?
Please read the Wikipost at the top of the page in the lengthy existing thread on MileSAAver availability.

Thank you, Moderator
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Old Jan 2, 17, 4:02 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Perche View Post
I have an 85K MileSaver award on hold until midnight tonight, SFO-PHI-LHR-FCO. SFO-PHI is about 5.5 hours, and PHI-LHR is about 6.5 hours. Despite redeeming for F, they have me in economy SFO-PHI because, "there are no award seats available."

I'm not sure I want to redeem 85K miles for F when for almost half the trip I'd be in Y. EF shows F5 SFO-PHI, but they are not letting me take one of them. I'm thinking of confirming the award and expecting that a seat in F will become available to me. My question is, if there is only one F seat available will I get first priority for it since I am redeeming miles for F, or will an EXP using an SWU on paid Y be ahead of me?

The other option is to purchase a Y ticket, which they said is around $770, and use a SWU. They said they can confirm me in F with a SWU on the same route SFO-PHI, but not PHI-LHR. I don't want to think about sitting in coach PHI-LHR. EF is showing J7 for the TATL, and the seat map is more than half empty. However, if I purchase the ticket today, just 3 days in advance, even as an EXP I might be stuck in coach PHI-LHR, which would really stink on that plane, and would result in burning an SWU for just a domestic flight, which I don't like to do.

Does anyone know if someone redeeming miles for F is ahead of EXP's using an SWU? Should I buy the ticket at the cheap Y price and gamble on an SWU getting me to business? Am I missing something?
I suspect you mean PHL, not Pinheiro, Brazil, right?

SFO-PHL is likely on a two class LUS A320-321, so no Business class. And if an award seat becomes available you could get it - though if good availability continues to show a day prior to departure you can call and request AA release a seatbto you (I'd try for an exit seat if available). It it's all a gamble, including the SWU.
JDiver is offline  

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