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AAdvantage MileSAAver: “Through Award Fares”, a New (March 2019)

AAdvantage MileSAAver: “Through Award Fares”, a New (March 2019)

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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:10 pm
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AAdvantage MileSAAver: “Through Award Fares”, a New (March 2019)

Most everyone on this board is now well aware of American's new "Married Segment" MileSAAver award restrictions, where award availability is made available only when two segments are stitched together as married segments that must be booked together.

There is now a new draconian change in place: Through Award Fares

Here's the gist of it:

We (AAdvantage members/customers) are no longer able to find nonstop award availability for two separate segments and then put those together to make a valid connecting award flight. Essentially, it is the reverse of Married Segments -- American will allow AAdvantage members to book each nonstop flight at the MileSAAver award cost, but it is now impossible to book the two segments together at the same MileSAAver rate, even though it is a completely valid connection, and even though both nonstop flights independently show seats available for award bookings. It's even worse -- It's not even physically possible to book both segments together under a multi-segment award, paying the mileSAAver rate for each segment separately. If we attempt this method, once both flight segments are selected, an error will appear indicating that "The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request." Don't bother trying the call centers either. Their system places the same restrictions on the flights as well. The only way to book it as a MileSAAver award is to do so on two completely different tickets (with different record locators) and to pay with the applicable number of miles for each separate ticket, or to book an AAnytime award and pay the going AAnytime award cost (which can be much, much higher than the two separate MileSAAver award rates).

Here is a sample of the restriction -- Friday, September 6th:
----- Flight# 858 STL-CLT is available at the milesAAver level (12,500 miles)
----- Flight# 5602 CLT-CAE is also available at the milesAAver level (7,500 miles)
----- However, it is not possible to book a milesAAver award that included both of these segments (STL-CLT-CAE, flights 858 + 5602).
----- The only options are to book two separate tickets, or to book an AAnytime award.

The agent on the phone, after consulting with a supervisor, told me this is called a "Through Award Fare" restriction. Revenue Management now has the ability to make nonstop flights available for award travel, but restricted from connecting award inventory. If revenue management does not set up both segments with a "through award fare", they cannot be combined together in a single milesAAver award. Period. No Exceptions.

The AAdvantage program reaches a new low in the mileage redemption arena!
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:12 pm
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How is this anything other than a different name for married segment availability?

If A-B is available and B-C is available but A-C via B is not available, then indeed cannot book a through journey but need to book as 2 separate itineraies. This is just married segment availability at work
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:13 pm
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Been true ever since they introduced married segments. It’s the same application just the opposite scenario.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by bruinfan90 View Post
Most everyone on this board is now well aware of American's new "Married Segment" MileSAAver award restrictions, where award availability is made available only when two segments are stitched together as married segments that must be booked together.

There is now a new draconian change in place: Through Award Fares

Here's the gist of it:

We (AAdvantage members/customers) are no longer able to find nonstop award availability for two separate segments and then put those together to make a valid connecting award flight. Essentially, it is the reverse of Married Segments -- American will allow AAdvantage members to book each nonstop flight at the MileSAAver award cost, but it is now impossible to book the two segments together at the same MileSAAver rate, even though it is a completely valid connection, and even though both nonstop flights independently show seats available for award bookings. It's even worse -- It's not even physically possible to book both segments together under a multi-segment award, paying the mileSAAver rate for each segment separately. If we attempt this method, once both flight segments are selected, an error will appear indicating that "The flight you selected is no longer available. Please modify your request." Don't bother trying the call centers either. Their system places the same restrictions on the flights as well. The only way to book it as a MileSAAver award is to do so on two completely different tickets (with different record locators) and to pay with the applicable number of miles for each separate ticket, or to book an AAnytime award and pay the going AAnytime award cost (which can be much, much higher than the two separate MileSAAver award rates).

Here is a sample of the restriction -- Friday, September 6th:
----- Flight# 858 STL-CLT is available at the milesAAver level (12,500 miles)
----- Flight# 5602 CLT-CAE is also available at the milesAAver level (7,500 miles)
----- However, it is not possible to book a milesAAver award that included both of these segments (STL-CLT-CAE, flights 858 + 5602).
----- The only options are to book two separate tickets, or to book an AAnytime award.

The agent on the phone, after consulting with a supervisor, told me this is called a "Through Award Fare" restriction. Revenue Management now has the ability to make nonstop flights available for award travel, but restricted from connecting award inventory. If revenue management does not set up both segments with a "through award fare", they cannot be combined together in a single milesAAver award. Period. No Exceptions.

The AAdvantage program reaches a new low in the mileage redemption arena!
What’s the purpose of this restriction?!
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:16 pm
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: American Airlines is a garbage airline.

This is just further proof. Even UA doesn't do this.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:19 pm
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Married Segment is different:

If A-B-C (married segment) is available, it is no longer possible to book A-B or B-C separately. They must be booked together as a group. A-B-C

Through Award Fare Restrictions means:

If A-B is available and if B-C is also available, it is no longer possible to book A-B-C unless a "through award fare" has been published by revenue mgmt.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:21 pm
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In essence, AA has institutionalized married segment awards by requiring two awards and calling the result a “Through Award Fare”. They’re saying “buy AAnytime, or buy the Through Award Fare if you want to fly convenient award flights you want”.

Some will excoriate AA for doing this, AA will merely hope this becomes the “new normal” so nobody notices and they can raise the apparent availability of award tickets. You’ll be able to book A-B-C awards, you’ll just have to pay for (A to B)+(B to C) when, as is more frequent, A-B-C is not available but A+B and B+C are only available as separate awards.

Last edited by JDiver; Mar 20, 19 at 4:52 pm
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
How is this anything other than a different name for married segment availability?

If A-B is available and B-C is available but A-C via B is not available, then indeed cannot book a through journey but need to book as 2 separate itineraies. This is just married segment availability at work
That's my opinion as well-- it's exactly that as far as I can see vs. some new layer.

Originally Posted by bruinfan90 View Post
Married Segment is different:

If A-B-C (married segment) is available, it is no longer possible to book A-B or B-C separately. They must be booked together as a group. A-B-C

Through Award Fare Restrictions means:

If A-B is available and if B-C is also available, it is no longer possible to book A-B-C unless a "through award fare" has been published by revenue mgmt.
Same thing far as I can see.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by donotblink View Post
What’s the purpose of this restriction?!
My Guess: Current management believes that award redemptions sabotage revenue capture -- people are cashing in miles instead of purchasing cash fares. That's why they won't even open up award inventory in the final days for flights that have wide open availability. They think a member will pay for the cash seat if the award seat is not made available. They knew that their prior effort to drastically reduce award availability was beginning to materially affect the viability of the overall mileage program, but they didn't want to just open up inventory. Instead, they came up with married segment and through fare restrictions to make award travel materially less desirable compared to cash fare options, forcing award tickets to go through unnecessary connections, long (even overnight) layovers, and now ... paying double award costs for connections to/from low-volume/high-revenue locations. The current management is convinced that the redemption side of their own AAdvantage award program directly competes with their core airline ticket sales process. They no longer see award redemption as a low cost way to incentivize loyalty by giving away inventory (open seats) that will otherwise spoil.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by VXforever View Post
Even UA doesn't do this.
Doesn't Delta do this?

Of course, married segment logic (going both ways) has been around forever on cash fares on all airlines (and IIRC AA was the pioneer back in the 80s). My understanding is that Delta has largely gone to pricing award tickets essentially like cash tickets, with variable pricing and all the varying segment restrictions on fares that cash fares have. AAdvantage hasn't gone that far, but the fact that there is still only one MileSAAver price makes it much more obvious when married segment logic is at play with AA than it is with DL, simply because on DL the price of an award is, as far as I can tell, some random number pulled out of Deltamatic. (That's why I stopped accruing any Skypesos a few years before I stopped accruing AAdvantage miles, though I now accrue neither except in unusual circumstances.)
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:44 pm
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Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
That's my opinion as well-- it's exactly that as far as I can see vs. some new layer.



Same thing far as I can see.
It is the same, but it's contrary to the "spirit" of the married segment availability for awards (at least as I recall from the bloggers). The purpose of starting the married segments was allegedly to increase availability on spoke routes for connections (which it is doing). I don't recall them also saying, "But that means we're going to enforce 'divorced' segments" and not allow you to take inventory that is clearly available by segment. Your tweets I believe are the only documentation of this "enhancement."

Does it matter that they never really announced it? No, but it is an annoying unannounced devaluation for those it impacts.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat View Post
It is the same, but it's contrary to the "spirit" of the married segment availability for awards (at least as I recall from the bloggers). The purpose of starting the married segments was allegedly to increase availability on spoke routes for connections (which it is doing). I don't recall them also saying, "But that means we're going to enforce 'divorced' segments" and not allow you to take inventory that is clearly available by segment. Your tweets I believe are the only documentation of this "enhancement."
The bloggers fell for that line from AA's PR folk hook, line and sinker, you're most certainly right about that! They all now know they were duped by AA, I'm sure.

But the reported thing here is at LEAST as old as my tweet on the subject and actually a lot older than that for sure:


I'm sure there must be examples in the thread on the subject:
More award availability restricted by married segments / connections

Maybe I'm missing something-- always possible.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat View Post
I don't recall them also saying, "But that means we're going to enforce 'divorced' segments" and not allow you to take inventory that is clearly available by segment.
I vote to rename this as "divorced segment availability".
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Old Mar 20, 19, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by bruinfan90 View Post
----- Flight# 858 STL-CLT is available at the milesAAver level (12,500 miles)
----- Flight# 5602 CLT-CAE is also available at the milesAAver level (7,500 miles)
----- However, it is not possible to book a milesAAver award that included both of these segments (STL-CLT-CAE, flights 858 + 5602).
Amongst examples from the other thread:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30569196-post1512.html

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30602873-post306.html

Moral of the story, as I've reported and from examples in the other thread, the only way the agent is allowed to search, for your example, is STL-CAE and query award availability that way (and only that way), married-segment logic.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
...simply because on DL the price of an award is, as far as I can tell, some random number pulled out of Deltamatic.
It isn't. See the frequent and thorough posts by LBJ on Delta award fare rules. search, for example, on 'CSVR640'.

IMHO, this is just an implementation of married segment availability. A-B and B-C are available but A-B-C isn't available unless we want it to be.

The days of searching for AA or DL awards segment by segment are done done done.
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