First class seat on American Airlines transcon - JFK-LAX/SFO
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After posting my article earlier about Delta and United’s stealth devaluations, I got a reply on my Twitter about some shenanigans American Airlines is playing with their “Saver” (sAAver) award availability.

American Airlines AAdvantage Blocking Partners From Award Space Within 7 Days of Travel?

This is a bit different than the devaluations I wrote about earlier. Since American Airlines used revenue based awards on American-operated flights, it’s become pretty hard to use the AA website to even locate saver award space. And since the “Web Special” deals are generally better than saver, you wouldn’t notice.

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Unless, of course, you are trying to book an American Airlines flight using miles from a Oneworld partner like British Airways (or other partner like Etihad) – or soon, Alaska Airlines. That’s why this isn’t an AAdvantage devaluation. It’s a stealth devaluation for the frequent flyer programs of AAdvantage partner airlines.

In that case, you will seemingly be out of luck.

Since, again, you can’t check this on the AA website very easily, I fired up Expert Flyer.

Examples: No sAAver Availability Within 7 Days of Travel

Using a variety of AA-metal routes, looking for U class (Business) or T class (economy) sAAver availability in the next 7 days (using Oct 31 +/- 3 days as my criteria), I could not locate one single seat on the following routes:


Here’s the sea of zeros I see on each and every one of these flights.

aa blocking awards 7 days

In a great many cases, I see availability begin at Day 8.

MilesTalk Musings

This is very different from the Delta and United stealth devaluations of their programs to their own members. This American Airlines AAdvantage move affects partner program members like those that earn British Airways Avios – or that wish to transfer from transferable bank points to book these awards since you can’t earn AAdvantage miles via any transferable currency except for Marriott Bonvoy – and of course via AAdvantage credit cards. That said, there is an effect on AA’s own: This also effectively blocks using Citi Cardmember Reduced Mileage Awards as well as BusinessExtrAA awards within 7 days of travel.

It also makes it impossible for someone without an AAdvantage account to access award space at all within 7 days of travel.

What do you think about AAdvantage blocking sAAver space to partners? Or can you find an example where this isn’t the case?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


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