American Airlines Adds Features to Its New Award Booking Tool, With Disappointing Results

Jul 15, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In late January, American Airlines teased a “new desktop award booking tool” that the airline said would “give customers easier access, at-a-glance views of the lowest mileage days, availability.” The next day, AA launched this new award search engine as a way to search and book its premium economy awards.

Many points and miles award searchers were underwhelmed by the new tool. Sure, you could see a week’s worth of award prices on the new tool, but you could still see up to a month’s worth of pricing using the existing award searching tool. There was no way to filter the results and there was no way of seeing a bigger calendar view. Both of those features were listed as “coming soon.”

American Airlines new award booking tool results as captured on January 24, 2019.

We were optimistic that “soon” would mean in a few weeks. However, the new booking tool has remained the same for almost half a year.

Now, “soon” has finally arrived — at least for one of these features. Starting today, when you use the new AA award booking tool, you’ll now have the option of seeing a calendar of award availability.

This slight improvement brings the new tool closer to the functionality of the classic calendar search tool. However, there are some critical differences.

First, the classic calendar lets you filter the results to nonstop flights only. As AA has doubled down on its obnoxious “married segment logic” award restrictions, this nonstop filter can turn a wide-open seeming calendar…

… into one that’s much less exciting:

Without this nonstop filtering feature, the new award search calendar can make search results look much better than they actually are.

Also, the new award calendar only shows economy award prices without giving travelers any way of checking business or first class prices in a calendar view. On the classic tool, you can easily toggle the calendar between the different classes of service and even MileSAAer vs AAnytime awards.

The filter feature is still listed “coming soon.” Hopefully when it does, it will let you filter out results that require an overnight layover in order to get the lowest listed calendar price.

So, even with this new calendar feature, the new booking tool remains far inferior to AA’s legacy award booking tool. But, you can’t just ignore the new tool completely. Remember that American Airlines has confirmed that different award results can be returned for the two different award searching systems.

Sure enough, when you’re able to take a look at calendar results for the two different systems for the exact same search, you can see clearly that the prices don’t match.

Hint: Look at August 2 (71k vs 55k), August 10 (37.5k vs. 22.5k), August 11 (39.5k vs 36k), August 15 (38.5k vs. 37.5k), August 16 (30.5k vs. 27k), August 17 (27k vs. 22.5k), August 19 (35k vs. 34.5k), August 20 (25k vs. 24.5k), August 25 (20k vs. 22.5k), August 27 (20k vs. 22.5k) and August 28 (32k vs. 31k).

A close inspection of those pricing mismatches shows that the classic award searching tool is generally — but not always — better. There are some dates in this example where AA forgets to discount the off-peak dates to 20k on the classic tool, but this off-peak price correctly shows on the new tool.

Still, I’d recommend travelers ignore AA’s new award booking tool for most searches until additional functionality goes live. If you want to be sure you’re getting the best rates, you can always double-check the new tool right before you book.

Featured image by Alberto Riva/TPG

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.