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Proper Compensation for Award ticket downgrade

Proper Compensation for Award ticket downgrade

Old Mar 7, 2023, 2:54 pm
  #1  
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Proper Compensation for Award ticket downgrade

I just spent 50+ minutes on the phone with an incredibly unhelpful Aadvantage customer service agent, and before I escalate this to the moon, I wanted some FTers input as to what they think is the appropriate resolution (to the issue not the agent's attitude, that's a whole different issue.)

Several months ago I booked a domestic round trip award in coach for 30,000 (17.5K and 12.5K) miles hoping for comp upgrades. As a month or so went by it was becoming increasing clear that the upgrades on the return were not going to be available. I really wanted 1st on the return (widebody.) So I go online and price the same itinerary with the return in First and it prices out at 96K (21K and 75K). While that's not a value, I put that on hold, cancel the1st trip, and then ticket the second.

Travel day comes and one of the ovens on a 3 month old aircraft goes out and the flight is delayed 2+ hours. As that will cause me to miss my connection for the last flight home of the day. the gate agents do a wonderful job finding me a non-stop to my home airport, only problem is I'm now in a middle seat in coach on a 321. I figured that I would have to eat the 6K miles on the outbound, but I'm being told that my reinstatement will only be 25K miles as that is the difference between the Aanytime coach vs. Aanytine First award, because at the time "I called in" and bought my award, I would have had to pay 50K for the coach award. I tried to explain to the agent that wasn't the case as for a coach award, alI I would have had to do was "hang up" (and I wouldn't have been in a middle seat or on a narrow-body jet.. but that's beside the point). What's the fair compensation here?

Last edited by ptsailor; Mar 7, 2023 at 3:37 pm
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:00 pm
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Did you by any chance screen shot what the all coach ticket would have been on the day you booked the new one? Otherwise, I'm not sure you'll get anywhere escalating this. Those of us who buy F have similar troubles on downgrades. AA uses the full Y fare to compute the fare differential, which these days is often more than the first tickets we're buying, in lieu of the lowest priced economy fare that was otherwise available. It's very frustrating.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:07 pm
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What was your route? Does 25K actually match to the AAnytime award differences?

It is going to be an uphill battle from what AA offered you unfortunately unless you have a screenshot of the actual prices at purchase. I don't think you can expect to revert back to your original flight cost - that reservation is cancelled/gone - although the chain of events is undoubtedly frustrating.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:13 pm
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Originally Posted by ptsailor
I tried to explain to the agent that wasn't the case as for a coach award, alI I would have had to do was "hang up" (and I wouldn't have been in a middle seat or on a narrow-body jet.. but that's beside the point). What's the fair compensation here?
I missed this point. The amount of miles you used for the original ticket is irrelevant. That ticket was gone the second you cancelled it. What matters is what the coach fare would have been the day you booked the first ticket.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS
Did you by any chance screen shot what the all coach ticket would have been on the day you booked the new one? Otherwise, I'm not sure you'll get anywhere escalating this. Those of us who buy F have similar troubles on downgrades. AA uses the full Y fare to compute the fare differential, which these days is often more than the first tickets we're buying, in lieu of the lowest priced economy fare that was otherwise available. It's very frustrating.
Originally Posted by lrdpenn
What was your route? Does 25K actually match to the AAnytime award differences?

It is going to be an uphill battle from what AA offered you unfortunately unless you have a screenshot of the actual prices at purchase. I don't think you can expect to revert back to your original flight cost - that reservation is cancelled/gone - although the chain of events is undoubtedly frustrating.
I feel that the cost of the coach ticket (at the time of the purchase of the 1st class ticket) was... "hang up the phone" (or really "close the web browser") as I already had the coach ticket.

What's most frustrating is that she seemed to indicate that if I had called in and just had them modify the original itin, this would be a no-brainer... but since it's now a different record locator all she'll say is, "I know what you're saying, but it doesn't work that way."

BTW, there's no way her suggestion would work as the initial ticket was a web special and wouldn't have allowed for changes.. but she wasn't going to be told she was wrong about anything, so...
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by ptsailor
I feel that the cost of the coach ticket (at the time of the purchase of the 1st class ticket) was... "hang up the phone" (or really "close the web browser") as I already had the coach ticket.
It's not. This isn't a realistic expectation on your part.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS
I missed this point. The amount of miles you used for the original ticket is irrelevant. That ticket was gone the second you cancelled it. What matters is what the coach fare would have been the day you booked the first ticket.
when you say "original ticket" and 'first ticket', are you referring to the same thing?
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:19 pm
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This is a tough one, my guess is the agent is right about the difference on the day you booked first. You want the difference between your original Cancelled coach ticket and your first ticket purchased in a new transaction but in the eyes of american these are two different transaction . I know this isn’t the answer you want but I think the agent is right on what you are actually owed I think the best you will get is miles for the inconvenience you suffered.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:21 pm
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Just because you feel doesn't make it so. Your 2nd ticket was completely separate from your first ticket that you cancelled. The agent can only rely on the ticket in front of her. So the only question then becomes what the real difference between a first class award and a coach award was on the day you booked the 2nd ticket. Without screen shots of what coach was going for that day for the same flights, you'll have a tough time arguing with AA on this one.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:22 pm
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Originally Posted by ptsailor
when you say "original ticket" and 'first ticket', are you referring to the same thing?
No, "first ticket" = first class (second) ticket, not the original ticket. All that matters is what the economy fare was on the day the second ticket was booked. The original ticket was gone the second you cancelled it. It's a non-factor in this analysis.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by lrdpenn
What was your route? Does 25K actually match to the AAnytime award differences?

It is going to be an uphill battle from what AA offered you unfortunately unless you have a screenshot of the actual prices at purchase. I don't think you can expect to revert back to your original flight cost - that reservation is cancelled/gone - although the chain of events is undoubtedly frustrating.
the route was CLT-LAX-LAS then returning LAS-PHL-CLT... I did not screenshot the cost of coach when swapping reservations... I will in the future, though I'mnot sure that will do any good, she went through a laboriously paternalistic hypothetical where two people could be on the phone at the same time getting different quoted prices - I guess thinking that's the issue I was trying to raise... she was just looking at a chart and saying aanytime award to aaanytime award yields this delta... Now that I type that, maybe it should yield delta.

Last edited by ptsailor; Mar 7, 2023 at 3:36 pm
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS
It's not. This isn't a realistic expectation on your part.
This seems to be the consensus, and I'm working to wrap my head around that... but it's absolutely consistent with the decision I made... trade in a coach ticket and 78,500 miles for a 1st class ticket and a 12.5k mile refund. When they can't deliver on the first class part of the deal, why is just backing out that transaction not a reasonable ask?

Last edited by ptsailor; Mar 7, 2023 at 3:37 pm
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:31 pm
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So the Anytime delta is indeed 25K. Assuming "AAnytime Level 2" it is 30K vs 55K. Maybe you can argue the reimbursement should be 45K, which is 75K what you actually paid - 30K Anytime coach, since the 55K seems irrelevant since that is not what you paid.

I would give that a shot
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by ptsailor
This seems to be the consensus, and I'm working to wrap my head around that... but it's absolutely consistent with the decision I made... trade in a coach ticket and 75,000 miles for a 1st class ticket and a 15k mile refund. When they can't deliver on the first class part of the deal, why is just backing out that transaction not a reasonable ask?

Imagine you go to the store and you bought TV #1 for $200. You really wanted something better so you returned TV #1 for a new TV #2 that is better on paper for $300. Turns out the $300 TV #2 broke on day 1 and you didn't want to wait for a warranty repair, so you went back to the store to exchange it. The store no longer has other $300 TV #2s in stock, but they can offer you the original TV #1 you returned. Unfortunately TV #1 is now $250 (darn, inflation!) Would you expect the store to sell TV #1 to you for $200? I wouldn't.
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Old Mar 7, 2023, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by ptsailor
This seems to be the consensus, and I'm working to wrap my head around that... but it's absolutely consistent with the decision I made... trade in a coach ticket and 75,000 miles for a 1st class ticket and a 15k mile refund. When they can't deliver on the first class part of the deal, why is just backing out that transaction not a reasonable ask?
It's not. Perhaps if you had "upfare'd" the original ticket under the same PNR, but that's not what happened here. You cancelled the original ticket and got a refund. Then, you booked a wholly new ticket under a new PNR. AA issues 100K+ tickets each day. There's no way AA, or any airline, could go back through other PNRs, including cancelled PNRs, to sort through what you're asking AA to do. It's not realistic -- and has never worked that way and likely never will.
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