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:
- A bunch of anticipated changes, including a reduction in the number of Systemwide Upgrades (SWUs) for Executive Platinum members and revenue-based earning.
- Addition of a 75,000 mile elite level (Platinum Pro). Good for those in that range, bad for EXPs who will now fight with more folks who get unlimited free domestic upgrades.
- With virtually no notice, they reduced partner earnings significantly.
- As they continue to get more aggressive selling upgrades to first and business class seats more cheaply, we’re expecting that the implementation of Premium Economy will be the transition to a system where SWUs and mileage upgrades will be to Premium Economy instead of Business Class on international flights.
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.
What I’m seeing on JFK-LAX sure looks an awful lot like dynamic pricing.
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:
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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