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Searching for American Airlines award availability can be irritating — especially now that AA is releasing award space based on married segments rather than individual flights. But, one would imagine that any award space that’s showing in one browser would appear if you performed the same search in another browser.

However, our friends over at Million Mile Secrets have discovered that this isn’t always the case. The award search results on a mobile browser can be noticeably different than what shows on a desktop browser. And, American Airlines has confirmed to TPG that this isn’t a bug.

The route that MMS’ Joseph Hostetler was searching was Cincinnati (CVG) to Cancun (CUN). While the example date that he used is no longer showing as available, we found the same situation on another date. If you perform a desktop browser search for business class saver awards on this route, three 2-stop itineraries are shown:

However, when I perform the same exact search at the same time on a mobile browser, AA displayed a 1-stop saver option:

But all of those itineraries have at least one leg in economy. Maybe that’s part of the issue: different search results include different mixed cabin results? Well, we checked another date. The desktop website search results show 4 single-stop itineraries, all of which have at least one leg in economy:

But when I perform the exact same search on the mobile website, there’s 7 single-stop itineraries. Plus, 2 of those don’t have the warning that “the class of service you searched may not be available on one or more flights”:

Digging deeper, there are more award options available through the mobile web search results. However, there’s an issue with the mobile web results: there’s no first/business class on the Embraer ERJ-145 that operates the morning flight from Cincinnati (CVG) to Miami (MIA). So, there should be a warning that not all legs are available in the cabin searched.

Curious if we’d stumbled onto a bug, I reached out to an American Airlines spokesperson about this situation. It turns out that this is part of the new American Airlines award searching system that was rolled out concurrent with the launch of premium economy awards.

The desktop browser uses the legacy award searching system. However, the mobile web browser and mobile AA app use the new award searching system. And, the spokesperson confirmed that different results can be returned for the two different systems.

However, you don’t have to whip out your cell phone to get these extra award results. You can find them right on your desktop by browsing to this page to start your search. Sure enough, when I started a desktop browser search on the same route for the same dates, all seven single-stop saver award options appeared:

If you’ve seen a similar layout of results when searching for awards from the AA homepage, you’re not alone. On some routes — especially on routes where AA operates a premium economy cabin — AA uses the new award search system by default. However, for many domestic and short international routes, the legacy award search tool will be used by default.

If you want to make sure that you’re seeing results from both award searching systems, you’ll want to perform an award search starting on each of these:

Featured image of American Airlines 777-200 business class by the author.

Know before you go.

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