Update, 10/5: American has now blocked 10/18 from saver award redemption on all of the routes below as that date is now within 2 weeks. This confirms American’s 2 week award blocking pattern on many nonstop routes.
DDF member farmbochur posted yesterday, “Has AA started blacking out saver availability within 2 weeks? I’ve been monitoring PIT-NYC over the last couple weeks. There seems to consistently be plenty of availability for many dates, but it all disappears once I’m within 14 days.”
Delta eliminated close-in fees for booking award tickets within 3 weeks, but they simply charged more miles for flights within 3 weeks that more than offset that benefit. It was a devaluation in sheep’s clothing:
Some of the most valuable award redemptions are for last minute tickets when paid flights are expensive but award tickets are cheap. The value of Delta miles is low because they’re stingy with business class awards and last minute saver award space is abysmal.
I checked out farmbochur’s claims and American does indeed seem to be dipping their toes in saver award blocking, though it’s only on select nonstop routes for now.
Here are some examples routes of routes where nonstop space is wiped out for travel within the next 2 weeks. As farmbochur points out, with each passing day another travel date 2 weeks in advance is blocked out.
It’s worth noting that American is still willing to sell saver award flights from say, Cleveland to Boston via NYC during the 2 week blackout period as a married segment, but they won’t sell the CLE-LGA flight on it’s own (at least not without some advance hacking in marriage breaking and lots of time to kill)
Here are some other routes where I find the 2 week blackout shenanigans:
But you’ll find space during the blackout via NYC to BOS:
It’s not just to/from NYC either.
This is obviously a big devaluation for AA miles, though it’s only being implemented on select routes for now. Hopefully it’s just a test and will go away.
So far, United has yet to copy this devaluation, as their close-in award space remains excellent as always:
What others American routes have you noticed this close-in blackout period?