American AAdvantage has eliminated the option to make a request for award space to be released in certain circumstances. This was an option available when an AAdvantage member was looking for an award but was not quite able to find what was needed, such as to complete a party, when for example, you were able to find an award seat for one person but you needed two. Or, when you needed to complete an itinerary, you were able to find most of the flights you needed but might be missing one leg of the trip. You could make a request to an AA agent and they then would be able to ask to get the seat released for an award so that you could complete your award itinerary.
Gary Leff of View from the Wing confirmed the change in policy with American and was told, “Processes have been revamped to generate the correct availability of MileSAAver redemption seats automatically. As a result, the time-consuming manual workaround has been discontinued.”
Bottom line: Leff summed it up in this way: “The courtesy of opening up award space for valuable customers to finish off an award, sadly, appears to be gone. This was a fairly unique formal courtesy that American had in place and helped to set them apart. It’s not something that was done often by other programs … In some sense, it was a throwback to an earlier era and less useful in recent times. But I’m still sad to see it go.”