This isn’t an exact science but my theory says that AA plays games with award space to keep it’s loyal customers from booking the best non-stop routes with miles. So say you want to book an award flight from the USA to Europe. We’ll pick DFW to Madrid for an example. So I’m searching 11 months out for my example:
I’m thrilled because I found an actual non-BA flight with awards space for 2 passengers!
Now this is not bad but I don’t actually live in DFW so I’m willing to stage from my non-hub to other hubs like say Chicago ORD. Since I’d rather not have an extra leg I just want the ORD-MAD flight. It’s available as part of this booking, right?
Think again here is the ORD-MAD non-BA selections for this same date:
Gosh that’s weird. Why isn’t that same non-stop Iberia flight available? Oh well it looks like I can just stage to JFK and pick one of the TWO Iberia flights for that date. Not as close for me and I’ll likely need to trek from LGA to JFK but it should work OK. At least I can save that extra leg from ORD, right?
Well think again. I’d have to fly to Boston I guess. Boston is not an easy connection for me but hey at least that one is available. Maybe I managed to corner AA enough into Boston? To me this is silly. It’s either a poor system that doesn’t work well OR….done intentionally to keep you from booking the best flights on awards for some odd reason.