American Airlines just removed one of its most beloved award tools

May 20, 2020

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When American Airlines introduced the ability to redeem miles for premium economy awards, it also debuted a new online award search tool.

It took some time for customers to get familiar with the new search interface, and AA made some welcome updates along the way, like adding a calendar view and filter feature. This tool sometimes also displayed different award pricing than the beloved legacy search interface, which is why we always recommended checking both the old tool along with the new one.

Well, as of today, you’ll no longer need to search both, since AA pulled its legacy award search interface without warning.

Previously you could access the old calendar award search feature by making an advanced search on AA.com or by using the award map feature. Now, TPG’s the first to report that both of those search methods bring up American’s more modern interface.

American’s legacy award tool

Many AA frequent flyers preferred using the old calendar search tool, since it often worked better and was easier to navigate than the new tool. Though it’s certainly sad to see the old interface removed, I at least appreciate that the new tool has added some features that make it more robust than before. For instance, the calendar and filter feature weren’t initially ready when AA launched the new tool. That’s now changed, and you can filter by stops and cabin in the new calendar view.

American’s new award search tool

Plus, the old didn’t display premium cabin web special awards, which are now popping up with more frequency through the new tool.

In explaining these changes to TPG, an American Airlines spokesperson offered:

“To create a more consistent experience for customers using aa.com, we’ve updated how flight results display when using the Advanced Search function or Award Map. Customers will now be directed to the new award booking path, which shows all available award options.”

This indeed creates a more consistent experience, as customers will see the same price and availability displayed no matter where they search.

However, abandoning the old tool is definitely a move in the direction to offering more dynamic pricing. The new search tool doesn’t differentiate when you’re booking a saver award, nor does it disclose whether you’re booking a web special award on the first search results page.

The removal of the legacy award search tool is just one of the latest updates AA’s made to the AAdvantage programme. It all started when the Fort Worth-based carrier extended elite status and reduced the qualifying thresholds. As part of that announcement, it also outlined a new award fee structure that could be bad news depending on how you redeem your miles. And earlier today, the carrier announced that it’s letting customers use miles to pay for seats.

These moves, together with the transition to offering more and more Web Special awards, mean that the days of AA’s award charts are most likely coming to an end.

All photos by the author. 

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