Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No advantage with AAdvantage: The hunt for an award seat

I had a poor experience today with American Airlines's AAdvantage frequent flier program. I tried to book two different flights three months out using frequent flier miles yet American told me there were no award seats at all available on those routes, on any of three different days.

I generally have had positive experiences with American Airlines. Last year, for example, my family flew American to Costa Rica, and I was pleased by the airline's service.

This time I asked about two one-way trips: From Long Beach, California, to Seattle on July 17 or 18, and from Seattle to Bozeman, Montana, on July 22. American doesn't fly those routes, but its partner, Alaska Airlines, has four flights a day from Long Beach to Seattle, and two a day from Seattle to Bozeman.

I thought that calling three months ahead would have given us a shot at an award seat, but American's phone representative's said there were no seats, for any number of miles, on any of the 10 flights on those days. What's the point of a frequent flier program if you can't use the miles?

I was also bothered that I couldn't do this search online. Yes, you can search online for award seats available on American flights, but to check for for AAdvantage availability on Alaska flights, the only option is to call, wait on hold and talk to someone. Certainly, there must be a way to remedy that.


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