Dear American Airlines, let’s compromise. If you agree to keep award charts for partner flights, I’ll stop complaining about the elimination of award charts for AA flights.
I’ve long argued that award charts promote accountability, transparency, and predictability. Sadly, that is precisely what drives airlines to eliminate award charts: so that prices can rise with impunity. There cannot be a “devaluation” when there is no basis upon which to measure pricing.
American Airlines already has a separate award chart for its own flights and partner flights. With the introduction of “web special awards” and “anytime awards” it is understandable why a fixed price award chart for AA flights no longer makes sense. In reality, the chart is virtually meaningless already. But not so with partners airlines.
Savvy ravelers, of course, note that at Delta and United partner awards still follow a standard pricing model, even though it has become much more complex with additional mileage surcharges for booking close-in and higher award pricing on some partners versus others.
Still, unless you find some diabolical way to tie partner award pricing to revenue fares, you’re likely going to keep charging a set amount for a partner flight based upon distance or region.
So why not just keep award charts in place for partner airlines? Wouldn’t that go a long way in showing respect for AAdvantage members, some of which save for years in order to be able to redeem their miles for dream vacations?
I’m well aware that miles are a liability on your book and that millions of people around the world have increased their balances during the pandemic. Thus, I will not deny that it makes financial sense, by some measures, to make raising prices easier by eliminating transparency.
Still, I consider that a penny wise-pound foolish approach because it will alienate those passengers on the margins who you greatly undervalue. Business travel will return and with it, lucrative corporate contracts. But those flyers are stuck flying American Airlines…and those passengers do not fill airplanes. Focusing on those discretionary passengers by offering a solid loyalty program built upon integrity and value is a smart and strategic move, especially considering what a profit center AAdvantage is for American Airlines.
Instead of virtue signaling, why not actually practice the virtue of honesty by maintaining transparency in pricing? Please continue to publish partner award charts.
Is keeping award charts for partners a compromise you could accept at American Airlines?
image: Qatar Airways