American Airlines has a tiered system for redeeming miles: SAAver, the cheapest level, is often tens of thousands of miles cheaper than the next level, AAnytime, which costs, let’s say, too much. It is super easy to get saver award space on partner flights, as I did with my flight from LA to Hong Kong, which cost just 55,000 AAdvantage miles in business class. Cheap awards on partners are easy to get. The same can’t be said for flights operated by American Airlines.
American has a number of awesome flights to the South Pacific, including LAX-Sydney, operated by a new 777-300er and LAX-Auckland, operated by a 787. In theory, a one-way saver award to the South Pacific costs 62,500 miles in business class. I say in theory because, in practice, saver awards on American Airlines flight do not exist. While there have been some reports of seats being available through the end of February, I am unable to find them. Even if I am missing something, these supposedly cheap seats are only available through the end of February: that leaves the other ten months out of the year where is little to nothing available– I checked.
American’s new flights to the South Pacific look interesting, given the new aircraft, including 787’s. But the fact is that, unless you want to fork over an additional 80,000 miles, you can’t take these flights because American makes absolutely no saver award space available.
This doesn’t only apply to Australia and New Zealand. On almost all of its flights across the Pacific, i.e. flights to Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, as well as Auckland and Sydney, have no saver award space. There is limited saver award space to Europe and South America, but, in practice, if you want to fly across the transpacific for cheap, you are going to have to do it on a partner.
I find it kind of sleazy that American advertises this saver award level, though never makes it available. And that’s sad, because the flights to Asia are awesome: flights to Tokyo and Auckland are operated by Dreamliners, and flights to Sydney and Hong Kong are operated by 777-300er’s, both of those aircraft featuring business and first class products which, I think, massively outclass the competition. The fact that American says they have these cheap flights but never make them available is annoying. No, it’s downright sleAAzy.