I recently wrote about American’s two different award search tools, and how to access the old one for the better ‘calendar view’ that will also tell you whether you’re getting a saver award or more expensive AAnytime award.
I mentioned that the new award search tool won’t show ‘web special’ awards. That actually isn’t true. They’re just not well-disclosed on the new award search tool.
Old award search has a tab for web specials, and everything shown on the calendar under that tab is a web special. It clearly discloses the restriction up front that they are completely unchangeable. If you want to change your travel dates or change one segment of an award you have to cancel and rebook your award from scratch.
If you’re using the new award search you see award prices for coach and first class. There’s no column for web specials (the way there’s a column for ‘basic economy’ when buying a paid ticket).
Even when you click the details it’s not obvious that the coach price comes with ‘web special / non-changeable’ restrictions. You see ‘web special’ and also ‘main cabin’ for coach, and both even have the same booking class (T) in this case. Which is it? You probably wouldn’t even know you care, since the ‘details’ don’t say anything about what the restrictions of a web special are.
It’s only when you click on the 5000 mile one way award that you see you’re getting a web special. It’s highlighted, and you’re offered the higher buy up price as well.
Looking at this I think most people would say “Cool! I got a web special, and it’s only 5000 miles instead of 12,500, isn’t that great!” And they’d miss the smaller print I underlined in red “cannot be changed.”
In addition to the the new search tool not yet having a filter or calendar function, it simply doesn’t do a good job helping AAdvantage members understand their award options. The old calendar search was super clear. Certainly the decision not to continue investing in the old calendar search, not showing premium economy awards through that tool, is intentional. Fortunately though it can still be accessed (for now).