American Airlines is certainly already walking down the path to variable award pricing, but don’t expect a huge change in July, as some reported yesterday.
View from the Wing noted that American’s Senior Vice President of Revenue Management Don Casey spoke at the Bernstein’s 35th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference yesterday. In his speech, Casey said dynamic pricing of awards is a strategy AA is using to drive higher revenue from its loyalty program. That has already been in practice since AA added several tiers within so-called “AAnytime” awards in 2016 and we’ve seen even greater variance lately. That doesn’t mean, however that AA is planning on eliminating fixed-priced award or award charts.
But The Points Guy ran with a headline, “American Airlines Confirms That Dynamic Award Pricing Is Coming” hinting that draconian changes would be announced on July 31, 2019. The article has since been edited to remove that information, which came from trusted insider JonNYC.
I spoke to American Airlines spokesperson yesterday evening to discuss this issue and was assured, in no uncertain terms, that there are no specific plans at the moment to jettison fixed-price saver awards. Instead, the spokesperson explained that so-called “AAnytime” awards have already become more flexible in pricing, with cheaper variable-priced awards called web specials.
We’ve said publicly we’re adding dynamic awards called web specials. Because we’ve received positive customer feedback so far and we will continue to roll out web specials. Some of the coverage we’re seeing now is pure speculation – more web specials only mean more web specials for now. No decision has been made on anything beyond that.
These web specials only implicate American Airlines flights, not partner flights.
Keep Calm – Carry On
If you have miles to burn and want to make a strategic partner redemption now, by all means do so. But don’t feel compelled too. My hunch is that AA will indeed get rid of award charts and fixed-price awards at some future point. But not yet. For now, business will continue as usual…and I predict even if a change is announced this summer, it will not go into effect until late in 2019 or early in 2020.
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