When American Airlines launched their ‘web specials’ they were discounted awards, for less than the cost of a saver award. These awards allow no changes versus traditional awards which permit date changes free of charge and routing changes for a fee.
Now though these non-changeable web specials appear to be offering fully dynamic pricing. They aren’t just discounted awards compared to traditional saver, costing as little as 5000 miles one way when fares are cheap.
Instead they are priced all over the map — and more expensive than saver awards — but less than traditional ‘AAnytime’ awards which offer last seat availability and greater flexibility.
Here’s a look at New York – Vancouver awards in economy in June. There are very few dates with traditional saver space available, but where it’s offered it’s 12,500 miles one way.
Now here’s traditional AAnytime award availability. Prices vary because American has 5 different price levels for AAnytime awards.
Now let’s take a look at web specials. They are never offered at less than 12,500 miles (a discount to saver pricing, as we had been seeing in the past). Instead they’re offered at a discount to whatever the AAnytime price may be, available on most days. The low ‘web special’ price for each day ranges from 20,000 to 46,000 miles.
Now let’s drill down into one particular day, June 26. Instead of having a single price for the day matching what you see on the award calendar, you’ll see that each itinerary has a different price. In other words it’s being priced dynamically.
What’s interesting is that they’re doing this with web specials, which had previously been cheap awards, and therefore they’re doing it in the ‘old’ award calendar (since the new one doesn’t support web specials) rather than the new one which is where many have expected dynamic pricing to appear as a replacement for traditional saver space.
(HT: Charles S.)