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The Spicy Vegetable Award Mileage Antics game
EDIT: The title of this post is utterly silly and nonsensical, for no reason whatsoever.
This is not a trip I am contemplating. I will explain.
I was perusing the “Tips and Tutorials” section of the “Start Here” section, and happened to notice that some of the mileage use tips had not been updated in a few years. This led me to wonder if an update of those pages is in the offing at some point as there have been multiple posts the past couple of years regarding changes to various FF programs. It also led me to examine a hypothetical trip using AA mileage to see what awards are currently being offered. Here is what I found.
(B) = Business class
(PE) = Premium Economy
(F) = First class
Hypothetical trip DFW-SYD, with dates of 14 DEC 21 returning 21 DEC 21.
Using AA’s award engine, I found –
DFW-SYD 500K(B)/121.85 tax via LAX
or 355K(PE)/121.85 tax via LAX
Pricing stayed the same when I chose the return
I thought this was quite expensive…at which point, I channeled my “inner Tiffany” (vaguely remembering years ago Tiffany had a meeting in NYC, got delayed, and used miles to get there via Africa or Europe) and tried to think outside the box. Here is what I found.
Instead of starting the journey to SYD in DFW, I started in LHR and added 13 DEC – 22 DEC legs DFW-LHR
DFW-LHR 105.5K(B)/328.65 tax with return via ORD
70K(PE)/328.65 tax with return via ORD
Both web specials, with mileage costs nearly doubling for “non” specials. Pricing stayed the same when I chose the return
LHR-SYD 170K(B)/646.60 tax via HND
or 140K(PE)/475.60 tax via AMS or HKG
or 200K(F)/407.30 tax via HND
When I added the return leg, flight cost totals changed to
200K(B)/407.30 tax return via KUL
or 200K(B)/659.70 tax return via HND
or 185K(PE)/446.20 tax return via HKG
None of these are web specials, and no First seats available for the return leg.
My question: what is happening with the way the awards are being calculated? I realize all of this is utter silliness – but it does bring up a question regarding how AA awards are calculated and why.
I don’t really know but my guess is that your DFW-SYD on AA is basically considered the most direct, shortest route and I assume on AA metal – making it the most desirable options for travelers originating in DFW. So that will always be priced higher.
Adding a leg to LHR makes it quite a huge trip with more segments, making that routing a lot less desirable and those are usually cheaper. I guess it is comparable to the hidden city process, where booking an extra leg makes the price drop considerably.
Now if you start in LHR going the other way through Asia, I guess that you would fly either BA, or JAL, so partner awards will also be priced differently based on availability etc.
Of course I could be completely off base 🙂 .
“Now if you start in LHR going the other way through Asia, I guess that you would fly either BA, or JAL…”
Yes. Awards out of LHR were JAL, BA, Malaysian (on the return), and Cathay. I was just struck by the difference in mileage requirements. All of the DFW flights send you via LAX. That was the same regardless if you started at DFW, ORD, or SFO. The legs DFW-LHR would allow a direct flight out, but the return was via ORD to get that pricepoint.
And that was the other thing – the “web special” fares seem like they are priced by a drunken darts player – throw the dart at the wall, and wherever it sticks, thats what we’ll charge. I am sure there is a method to the madness, but it is hard to decipher.
Trying to figure out how it all works with the current rules. Fun, but frustrating.