Did American Airlines Implement Dynamic Award Pricing (And Forgot To Tell Us)?

It’s been a rough year or so as an AAdvantage elite member.  There have been a whole host of changes, mostly for the worse from a loyalty perspective:

Given all that, I feel once again like the cat in a room full of rocking chairs when I see an unconfirmed report of dynamic award pricing on AAnytime awards.

The report from user daveland on FlyerTalk essentially says that a user logged in to find dynamic pricing on the more expensive AAnytime Awards that American offers.  While there are different categories of AAnytime Awards now, it’s been my understanding that the dates for higher mileage are pre-determined and do not go up as demand increases throughout the year.  For example, if AA determined that flights on Columbus Day are an AAnytime Level 1 (20,000 miles one-way) when they load them into the system, I don’t think they would then change that to an AAnytime Level 2 (30,000 miles), though they might decide that flights on Columbus Day should be in the higher category for next year or the year after, etc.

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What I’m seeing on JFK-LAX sure looks an awful lot like dynamic pricing.

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Heck, I don’t even see a 97,500 mile one-way award anywhere on the domestic chart.  And, it’s not just the premium transcons.  On the decidedly less premium 737s American has on the IAD-LAX route, I’m seeing 45,000 and 55,000 mile one-way awards.  There is no 55,000 mile one-way domestic first class award I’m aware of right now:

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American may come out and say this is a mistake, or not intended.  But, policies change swiftly nowadays, as evidenced by their recent pivot in roughly a month on a more punitive baggage policy.

American does offer the following disclaimer on their website in regards to the AAnytime Awards:

AAnytime award levels vary by date and region. There are select dates that require a higher number of miles (in addition to Level 1 and 2 awards). When you search for awards while booking, you’ll see the applicable award level.

Is This Real?

So, yeah.  I’m hoping this isn’t true.  But, given the significance of some recent changes and the desire to copy what Delta and United are doing (combined with the lack of notice regarding some changes), it’s hard not to believe this is true.  Just a little.

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17 Comments

      1. I started seeing some things like this about 3 weeks ago. I never had really paid attention much to the Anytime awards before so wasn’t sure if it was an anomaly or reality for those awards.

  1. Like your tweet Ed, I am thinking of jumping at this point. I’m flying WN next week and have time to challenge gold on DL still this year. Wondering why I shouldn’t other than I’ve spent money this year to chase AA

  2. You do realize there are different award levels for Coach and Business right? You have the award chart for Y and the calendar for J.

    1. Brian, the difference is that under previous policies, each DAY was categorized as a different tier. Now, they’re pricing different flights on the same day in different tiers. That’s a new “feature”. It’s unfortunate in that the only time I’ve booked an AAnytime Award is during a true emergency. Now, at those times, I could be paying an absurd multiple. If the airline can command that price, good for them. But, it does make my miles less valuable.

  3. Above you say “there is no 55,000 mile one-way domestic first class award I’m aware of right now”… but the award chart does have 55K (see last column)….

    Business / First
    MileSAAver-Off Peak MileSAAver AAnytime-Level 1 AAnytime-Level 2
    Contiguous 48 U.S. states* – Not available 25,000 45,000 55,000

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