Have I Lost My Mind, Or Is It The Airlines?


There’s been a general creep to more expensive award redemptions by the Big 3 US airlines.  Delta has gone furthest by eliminating award charts, while American and United have added much more expensive “AAnytime or “Standard” awards.

I was trying to help a friend with a flight home to see her father earlier today.  Admittedly, I really thought what I was looking at was a glitch.  Given recent search results I’m not so sure.  Here’s the one-way flight I found from Philadelphia to Orlando in coach.

I took the screenshot of the connecting flights to illustrate this isn’t a one-off for nonstop flights or just a couple of flights that day.  It must just be a really busy day with expensive paid flights, right?  Uh, no.

The Final Two Pennies

I sure hope this is just a system glitch.  That being said, the other “AAnytime” pricing on this route for other days that week are 30,000 miles for a one-way economy class award.  Those are just really horrible. I’m working on some research for similar patterns on United that I need to finish up for you guys.  Not pretty.

The post Have I Lost My Mind, Or Is It The Airlines? was published first on Pizza in Motion


  1. Only explanation I can struggle with is that July 8th is theoretically coming out of holiday weekend and Orlando is VERY popular on said holiday.
    I especially love the 50K miles for a connection in MIA(beyond the actual destination). Yeah, it’s AA’s hub but come on…Who would choose that on a mileage redemption? A mileage run? Maybe….
    Delta might not publish awards chart(s) but they also don’t often suggest these ridiculous routings that AA seems to conjure.

      1. My point was that AA charges over-the-top mileage redemptions for simple routings. In fact, it looks even dumber based on their cash prices.
        I think they just fling routings and mileage requirements against the wall hoping they’ll stick.
        Oh, and to your point, I am ALWAYS confused by AA. Hence, why I stick with Delta.

        1. Geoff, we definitely agree that there doesn’t appear to be a strong method to the madness that is the current award pricing. Hoping unsuspecting customers plunk down 50K miles and burn down AA’s liability?

  2. There’s probably an influx of getawayers flying that route on the 4th July weekend.
    Most people probably capitalize of the additional day offs prior to 7/8. And 7/8 is the day they NEED to fly home to work on Monday morning.

    But yea, as many of you guys had mentioned, it’s an upward trend that the travel industry is making money.
    They don’t see the point in encouraging travels with their rewards systems anymore, or even bother trying to cultivate their rewards business.

    1. B, the cash fares really don’t bear that out. Try buying a ticket now for CES in Vegas in January. You won’t find too many rock-bottom prices because the airlines know they’ll fill the seats.

  3. I’m stationed in PHL and routinely make the flight to MIA, FLL, SJU, and MCO, I typically use the award saver and get first class for 25-27.5K, but the regular going rate is typically 15K one way 30K round trip …. 50K is down right criminal

    1. But the cash fares aren’t expensive. What the author is pointing out is tickets that don’t cost much cash but would be a ton of miles. The move towards revenue-based miles earning has got us thinking that there should be a relationship when redeeming miles too, but it’s not the case .

      1. Ed- where have you been? AA has been charging obscene amount of miles ever since they moved over to a revenue-based award program following suit like Delta and United. United is the best one so far, Delta in the middle, and AA by far the worst. I’ve seen some domestic routes that sell for $400-500 max last minute and cost 100k+ for a one-way! This has been going on for way over a year now surprised you hadn’t seen. Delta at least is the only legacy carrier that doesn’t charge you the close-in fee like AA and United if booked under 21 says. It’s absurd and it’s defijitely the airlines. If they are going to charge obscene amount of miles for routes that cost nothing (and even hotel chains like Marriott with Spg and Hilton) They risk devaluing their programs as a whole. That said the smart ones like us that know better to not redeem 50k miles for a flight that costs $200-300 are very few while the majority of their customers that sign up for air/hotel credit cards and don’t know any better would spend this amount of miles because they do not know any better. Read this:

        This is the new “normal” for air and hotel programs going revenue-based and I really think in a few years it won’t be worth being loyal to any airline or hotel chain and it’s bprovably going to be in our best interest to stick with a 2% cash back card that can be used at any travel merchant. With all these frequent devaluations it’s going to render most air miles and hotel points almost worthless and certainly not worth going out of our way to earn them.

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