Availability of milesaaver awards - do they show up again?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by lukegilmour, May 29, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. lukegilmour

    lukegilmour New Member

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    i planned a trip yesterday with a friend, seeing a ticket on offer on july 9th for 30k miles, but as we went through the details i came back today to book it and its gone.

    my question is, do these show up again over time? or if theres no more 30k flights on july right now i might as well cancel the trip?
     
  2. PosauneGuy

    PosauneGuy Silver Member

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    Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no. It all depends on inventory control and whether or not AA thinks it can sell the seats. Before you write off the trip, check every day for the next week. AA lets you hold award itineraries for 5 days. It could be that someone is holding the award but may not purchase. If that's the case, there's a chance that it will go back into award inventory when the hold expires. (Though, I have seen cases where you let a hold expire and it doesn't come back into award inventory.) That said, I would say that award inventory is dynamic. Keep checking. And next time, if you think you found something that might work, hold the ticket! You'll have 5 days to complete the transaction.
     
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  3. Mrlasssen

    Mrlasssen Silver Member

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    May be your itenerary and route may be gone today but your trip could still be available. Sounds like you are trying to find a 30K one way to Europe ticket. Have you tried to find seats on a partner carrier? You must be flexible with dates and routes, when your are there is usually seats available. PM me and I may be able to help.
     
  4. lukegilmour

    lukegilmour New Member

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    sent you a pm
     
  5. zphelj

    zphelj Gold Member

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    An Expert Flyer subscription can be very useful in this situation; fare/award alerts.
     
  6. zshanlon

    zshanlon Silver Member

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    Without having an Expert Flyer subscription I am having a heck of a time finding much milesAAver space in J. Have you guys seen any trends between certain city pairs? Trying to avoid BA.
     
  7. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    Do you have an origin and destination in mind or shall we name cities at random until we strike gold? :p

    Sometimes that is actually fun - I am trying to plan a trip for the bf's birthday week (Between July 3-12) out of LAX and it's really a matter of where the deal is rather than having a destination in mind. Haven't found anything appealing yet.
     
  8. PosauneGuy

    PosauneGuy Silver Member

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    For those who are looking to use miles for a trips with no particular destination in mind, AA has a neat tool that lets you select your departure city and then see what cities are available for certain dates and miles:

    http://www.aa.com/awardMap/home.do

    Under "More Options" you can select one-way trips and/or business/first availability.
     
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  9. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Unfortunately mileSAAver space on AA has become very tight over the past few months. :( I don't know why they're not releasing more inventory; because on many of the routes the planes are not flying full.

    Very cool tool! Thanks for posting the link!
     
  10. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Lets strive for bit of accuracy here. 1) its crazy to expect in mid June to find award space to anywhere in mid July ( the middle of the Summer vacation period, mind you)
    2) The OP mentioned 30k awards not sure if domestic or International (one way) but hes obviously talking coach awards..
    3) A quick check on EF shows a lot of coach International awards on July 7-12 to LHR, BCN, MAD, FRA among other places in some cases as much as T7
    Now he might have to connect through JFK or MIA but so do many of us who do not reside in a gateway city.

    Not sure how much more inventory you want/need. :)
     
  11. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Yes, let's. It's been a topic of conversation both on FlyerTalk and on many of the major blogs like VFTW that for at least the past year, availability of MileSAAver awards on many US domestic routes has declined drastically (especially in coach class). In some markets (such as mine, OMA) it's all but impossible to find availability at the MileSAAver level. It's NOT simply a high travel season issue; either; the problem persists during low travel times as well. It's a big issue of you're trying to redeem non-AA miles (such as BA Avios or Alaska miles), since those can only be redeemed on AA at the SAAver level. It's also a big deal if you're trying to put together a multi-flight itinerary and either can't or won't fly the problem domestic leg on a separate ticket.

    I've been burned by this problem twice in the last year and a half: Once while trying to get to Athens, and once while trying to get to Rome; both trips were in mid-October, which is hardly a peak travel season on domestic routes. In both cases, finding SAAver award availability the TATL and intra-European legs was no problem; what I couldn't get was SAAver availability on the OMA-ORD or OMA-DFW routes, in either Coach or First Class. In the first case, the TATL leg wasn't on American, and I didn't have enough layover time to safely book a second ticket to get to ORD, so rather than book an AAnytime award I ended up flying to Greece on a paid ticket. In the second case, I wound up using a saver-level award ticket on United to get to Rome.

    I do think that since US and AA formally merged their programs, the situation has improved, because there's much more availability on US metal. But it's an issue anyone considering booking SAAver awards should be aware of (especially if they're collecting BA Avios miles to use domestically, as many do). It does no good to collect miles you're not going to be able to use!

    In this case, though, the OP made a newbie mistake. He was able to find SAAver awards on the dates he wanted, but he didn't know how fast they can disappear, and he probably didn't know that AA allows a 5 day hold on award tickets. So instead of putting the awards on hold first and then talking to his friends to confirm things, he did it the other way around and lost the seats. I'm sure it's a mistake he won't make twice!
     
  12. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Its a bit hard to guess at what the OP was getting since he didn't really specify a route and we are all left guessing. I would go out on limb and say its unlikely at this late stage inventory will reappear.

    The problem with domestic awards which people seems to ignore is that they are very much subject to local events which are not readily evident to those in different locations doing the booking. Getting awards for the weekend of the Indianapolis 500 to Indianapolis or the Michigan/MSU game might make awards to Ann Arbor on that week just about impossible. BTW October is after the start of football season:).

    We wont even go into the fact that there are plain just way more miles chasing a limited number of awards. Everybody and his dog now knows you "must book 330 days out" and you would be surprised at some of the domestic routes people will use their miles for.

    As far as BA and Alaska go surely you are not blaming AA if you cant use your Avios. Apart from the milessaver restriction BA has had continuing (even right now) problems seeing AA ( and LAN for that matter) inventory this has been going on for years. Added to that BA seems to be unable to see flights operated by AA subsidiaries operating domestically and even finding awards which are clearly showing up on aa.com on some "lessor known" routes.

    Has AA tightened up on awards? .. perhaps...but I wouldn't be using what posted on FT or even worse a blog (some of the stuff I have seen posted on even the more "reputable ones" make me just shake my head in disbelief) as any indication of anything besides one persons skewed opinion.:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  13. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    And I'll crawl out on that limb with you. Of course, we ARE talking about award seats, and the only thing predictable about them is their utter unpredictability. Having said that the OP probably won't get lucky, a dozen seats will open up on his route tomorrow and we'll both be eating crow. :D

    Very true, but in the two cases I mentioned football didn't seem to be a factor. (And since I live in OMA and my parents live in the Chicago area, I am usually well aware of what's going on in both cities that may affect travel plans. No, I am NOT going to help a newbie try to book hotel rooms or airfare to/from OMA on points during the College World Series or the Berkshire Hathaway weekend. I doubt even Warren Buffett would succeed with that! :))

    That's no doubt the major factor - well that and the fact that airlines have discovered that if they price their flights right and schedule their frequency appropriately, they can actually SELL most of their seats.

    None of which matters at all to the end user. If I have Avios miles and can't use them to go where I need to go, those miles are effectively useless to me. Who cares what the precise reason for their uselessness is?

    Which is why I don't collect Avios. I collect Chase Ultimate Rewards and AmEx Membership Rewards points instead. That way I can search for award availability first on the BA website, and then do an instant points transfer to BA and book the award if there's availability showing. BA Avios have saved me some money over the years, but given where I live I'm not foolish enough to spend time, energy, and money to deliberately collect miles that are very hit-and-miss in their usability for me. Of course, the folks who tout the Chase BA VISA card never mention this not-so-small issue...

    But this gets I think to the heart of the problem: most newbies just don't realize how hard points and miles can be to use effectively, and they don't realize just how much they may need to alter their usual travel planning habits to make effective use of the miles they have collected. The typical traveler who must travel during vacation season, who starts trip planning only a few weeks before the start of the trip, and who always travels with family or friends and only to popular destinations is the one who will find the programs the least useful. Too bad they often don't find that out until AFTER they've signed up for several credit cards to earn airline miles they simply won't be able to use for their vacations.
     
  14. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I agree with most what you've said above with the exception about value in the use of Avios. Its quite obvious to me that their use domestically is somewhat dependent on where you are based.

    Just 2 weeks ago I used a total 18k for two short notice R/T award tickets on US TPA/PHL for relatives ( they were booked about 1030 am Sat am and the travelers flew out 730pm that same night)
    when the cheapest seats even on LUV were about $600 each.
    Had I wanted I could have used both AA or US miles and it would have cost 50K miles, PLUS added to that it would have incurred $75.00 per ticket for booking within 21 days if I decided to use miles from my wife's account.
    The fact that there are about 10 flights daily PHL/TPA increases the ability to use those miles on any given day.
     
  15. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    I know these things are a YMMV scenario, but I have 3 award flights for our family this year on AA, all with no issues booking. Two international and one domestic. 4 tickets on 2, 3 on the other. Sure, there's less saver inventory than a few years ago. Planes are much more full. But, there's still awards to be had.
     

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