Successes Asking American Airlines to Release Domestic Award Seats Connecting to International Flights

Ridiculously Extraordinary writes about being inspired by my post about little white lies I tell airline agents when booking awards to get American Airlines to release a domestic flight in advance of an international award segment.

Now, the author originally wanted something that isn’t possible:

So while I was booking my flight to India a couple of months ago I settled on flying American Airlines / British Airways. I wanted to fly Cathay Pacific, but didn’t know how to get the person I was speaking to at AAdvantage to give me the CP ticket. She told me only the AA/BA flights were available. I knew that wasn’t true, but I didn’t know enough to get around it.

On an American Airlines partner award you need to route from the US to India via the Atlantic. It’s only on a oneworld award (which also requires two partners that aren’t American) that you can pick your own routing. So unless you book a oneworld award, I don’t believe Cathay Pacific is an option from the US to India.

But success came in cutting down a Chicago layover, asking American to open up seats on a flight that wasn’t showing standard awards as available.

And this reminds me of one of the nice things about American. I’m a lifetime AAdvantage Gold, but certainly not an Executive Platinum (sitting around 1.8 million miles earned lifetime, closing in on Platinum). So I don’t have real juice with the airline.

But a year or so back I booked an award where I wanted to fly DCA-JFK in order to connect to an international premium cabin segment departing JFK. The DCA-JFK flight was unavailable. The rep put me on hold for a little bit, and Inventory Management released the seats on the short domestic hop for me so I wouldn’t have to fly up to New York the night before.

And I was much appreciative.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Even though I am primarily a Delta flyer, I have only the BEST things to say about AAdvantage Oneworld award redemptions.

    I had 14 of the 15 segments figured out (and the 15th was “accidentally” illegally booked by an AAgent).

    When the supervisor called me to ticket the flight, she opened up F saver space on a full flight for my partner & I. I’m AA dirt so that was not only going above and beyond but a major decider in my FUTURE loyalty.

  2. I recently tried to book a NYC-SYD going through HKG on Cathay Pacific. The agent put all the flights together but then the computer and her supervisor said that is not a valid routing.
    Any ideas to get around this or if her report was accurate?

  3. @Mordy it is only a valid routing on a oneworld award I believe, the distance-based chart. If you fly HKG-SYD on Qantas you’ve got 2 airlines other than American on the itinerary which makes you qualify to use the oneworld award chart. At that point it’s valid, and price is based on distance flown…

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