American Airlines

6 Musings on American Airlines’ Dynamic Pricing – Awards from 5,000 to 480,000 One Way

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People are abuzz this morning after noticing that AA is now pricing one way business class awards (on AA metal) for as much as 480,000 miles. (Yes, one way).

American Airlines’ Dynamic Pricing Really Takes Hold

Here is an example of a NYC to Sydney Australia one-way flight pricing at 480,000 miles.

As well as the calendar showing how prevalent it is. 


So yes, this could result in a 980,000 round trip award ticket. Which yes, is crazy.

But to keep a bit of perspective here:

1) Delta charges up to 465,000 miles each way for a similar ticket. They have for quite some time now.

2) You can still book awards on partner metal like Qantas or Fiji, when available, at the standard rates. Here’s an award for the 80k partner/saver rate. (Hopefully partner availability at fixed prices sticks around for a long time if not forever).

3) The AA “Web Specials” now apply to premium cabin awards as well. You can get a big savings, admittedly on an absurd price, by giving up the ability to change your awards for free. (No, I wouldn’t book either of these).

4) This sure makes United’s pricing look pretty good by comparison. Look for United to increase the maximums they charge.

5) AA’s dynamic pricing can truly produce some deals. I recently booked a flight from NYC to Memphis for just 5,000 miles and $5.60 vs a cash price of $189. That’s over 3.5 cents a mile. Sure, I can’t change it, but it’s only 5,000 miles.

Here’s an example of a month of NYC-Memphis (one way):

6) The premium web specials can have some amazing deals. How about NYC-Hong Kong in Business Class for 90,000 miles round trip??

In summary

That you can now pay 480,000 miles for a one way business class is bad. Really bad. But there are many silver linings as well. It may just mean needing to be more selective with when and how you use the miles.

That said, I’d pay more attention to what I wrote last week: The Effect of Dynamic Airline Awards on Transferable Points / Partner Awards (Comparing Available Award Inventories)

The dynamic pricing will fluctuate but the effect on partner availability is real.

What are your thoughts?

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