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Forced to book an Avios RT with connections on AA as four single legs at 4x the tax!

Forced to book an Avios RT with connections on AA as four single legs at 4x the tax!

Old Nov 30, 19, 2:17 pm
  #1  
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Forced to book an Avios RT with connections on AA as four single legs at 4x the tax!

Earlier today I attempted to book an AA domestic itinerary (MSY-ORD-CLE-DFW-MSY) using Avios. All of the flights were available at a total cost of 33K Avios and $5.60 in tax, with one booking to cover all four flights. However, when I went to go through and pay for them, I received an error message (twice in two tries) saying that the available seats had vanished during the booking process. This was plainly wrong, since I immediately attempted the transaction a second time and there they were. I then called the Gold Desk to have an agent do the booking for me. She said there was some sort of issue that came up frequently with AA itineraries by which they could not get the flights to book all on one booking, and the only way to do it was to book all four legs separately. The amount of Avios was the same, but I was charged 4x the tax! During the course of this rather long phone call, the agent blamed the problem first on BA's systems, then on AA's systems, so I really have no idea what the issue is, but it's the first time I've had it come up (I book AA flights with Avios about 6-10x a year).

I do know there are some apparently legal connections that AA refuses to allow to book, but what I can say in this instance is that AA's own website also showed this very same itinerary as a possible booking. (I would have done it there, but my AA mileage balance was a few miles short of the total required.)

Anything I can do to get the tax back? (I did just submit a complaint on BA's website.) I'm also afraid now that any changes to AA flight times--which happens very frequently, particularly in cases like this when my trip is six months out--may result in serious problems with my connections, since AA will not see that I have other flights attached. What do people recommend?

Last edited by travelmad478; Nov 30, 19 at 2:25 pm
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Old Nov 30, 19, 2:53 pm
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When I look at itamatrix for one itinerary of MSY-ORD-CLE-DFW-MSY I get taxes/fees/charges in excess of $40 so I am not sure $5.60 total for all of that seems correct. If you price the same itinerary you wanted on aa.com as a revenue ticket what TFC does it show?
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Old Nov 30, 19, 3:13 pm
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The BA itinerary, when priced up as an Avios (single) booking, quotes 33K miles and $5.60 in tax for all four flights. This is the amount I pay for any AA domestic ticket that I book with Avios--it's always the same.
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Old Nov 30, 19, 3:13 pm
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Sounds like a married segments issue.
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Old Nov 30, 19, 3:43 pm
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what about if you miss a connection?
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Old Nov 30, 19, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
When I look at itamatrix for one itinerary of MSY-ORD-CLE-DFW-MSY I get taxes/fees/charges in excess of $40 so I am not sure $5.60 total for all of that seems correct. If you price the same itinerary you wanted on aa.com as a revenue ticket what TFC does it show?
You cannot rely on itamatrix to determine the proper taxes and fees on an award ticket on AA originating in the U.S. Since AA does not have a carrier surcharge for travel wholly within the Americas, award tickets for such travel are exempt from the Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) on each segment (typically $4.50/segment).

Last edited by guv1976; Nov 30, 19 at 4:19 pm
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Old Nov 30, 19, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
The BA itinerary, when priced up as an Avios (single) booking, quotes 33K miles and $5.60 in tax for all four flights. This is the amount I pay for any AA domestic ticket that I book with Avios--it's always the same.
Note that if you were able to book the same itinerary (as a round-trip) with Iberia Plus Avios, the cost would have been just 22,000 Avios -- but no changes or cancellations possible.
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Old Nov 30, 19, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by spanishflea View Post
Sounds like a married segments issue.
If that were the case, would AA show me the same itinerary on their website, as they did? I confess that I really don’t understand the whole married segments thing (I have never had it be an issue on any ticket I’ve booked before).
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Old Nov 30, 19, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Note that if you were able to book the same itinerary (as a round-trip) with Iberia Plus Avios, the cost would have been just 22,000 Avios -- but no changes or cancellations possible.
Can I still do this? I am within the 24-hour cancellation window. I have never attempted to book with Iberia using BA Avios (Iím still not sure if thatís what youíre advocating). I donít have a FF account with Iberia, in fact have never even flown them.

I could have booked it with AA for fewer AA miles too, same restrictions, but I was about 1500 AA miles short.
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Old Nov 30, 19, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
Can I still do this? I am within the 24-hour cancellation window. I have never attempted to book with Iberia using BA Avios (Iím still not sure if thatís what youíre advocating). I donít have a FF account with Iberia, in fact have never even flown them.

I could have booked it with AA for fewer AA miles too, same restrictions, but I was about 1500 AA miles short.
To book through Iberia Plus, you must have Avios in an Iberia Plus account. You can transfer Avios from BAEC to Iberia Plus, but only if you have had an Iberia Plus account open for at least 90 days, and have earned at least one Avios in the account. (I believe that transfers from Amex MR or Chase UR count.)

But if you almost have enough AAdvantage miles for the roundtrip, surely you have enough for a one-way; so you could book one way with AAdvantage miles, and the other way with BAEC Avios.

Better yet, if the travel is for December or January, and you have -- or get -- a qualifying Barclays or Citi AA credit card, CLE is on the list of "reduced-mileage-award" destinations for those two months. The roundtrip would cost just 17,500 AA miles.
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Old Nov 30, 19, 8:53 pm
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Thanks guv1976. I’ll see about booking half the trip with AA miles, which is not a bad idea. I can’t do the Iberia maneuver, and this trip in in May 2020 so no CC discounts available.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
Thanks guv1976. Iíll see about booking half the trip with AA miles, which is not a bad idea. I canít do the Iberia maneuver, and this trip in in May 2020 so no CC discounts available.
Do you really need to book this trip so far out? By early February, the list of reduced-mileage-award destinations for AA credit-card holders will be updated to include May. In addition, if you were to open an Iberia Plus account today and fund it with even one earned Avios -- perhaps by taking an online survey or having a qualifying hotel stay or car rental, or even crediting a paid AA flight to Iberia -- you would be able to transfer your BA Avios to your Iberia Plus account by early March.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 1:18 pm
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FYI, the $5.60 security fee is per direction, so even if you had been able to book it as one ticket, it would have been $11.20 for a round trip.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Gshumway View Post
FYI, the $5.60 security fee is per direction, so even if you had been able to book it as one ticket, it would have been $11.20 for a round trip.
Not according to the BA screen asking me to pay $5.60 + 33K miles.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Do you really need to book this trip so far out? By early February, the list of reduced-mileage-award destinations for AA credit-card holders will be updated to include May. In addition, if you were to open an Iberia Plus account today and fund it with even one earned Avios -- perhaps by taking an online survey or having a qualifying hotel stay or car rental, or even crediting a paid AA flight to Iberia -- you would be able to transfer your BA Avios to your Iberia Plus account by early March.
TBH Iím just not that energized to go through all this to save the few miles (while also risking the seats vanishing if I wait that long...there were only four seats left on one of the flights even now). I do thank you for your suggestions though
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