Beware of AA First Class Awards with Business Class Seats

I’m in the process of booking an award trip to Australia, complete with Qantas Business Class from JFK to Melbourne, and returning via Hawaiian Airlines from Sydney to Seattle, then on to Washington DC.

Right now, I don’t see any Qantas availability in either Business Class or First Class, though I was fortunate enough to place a Business Class seat on hold several days ago.

While on the phone with the American agent today to ticket, I did one last look on AA.com to see what would be available going down, and if anything in First had opened up.

I was shocked when I saw a 72,500 mile award in First Class just one-day earlier than my original departure. I mentioned this to the agent, and dug further into the booking online, only to discover something deceiving.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 3.10.12 PM

Look what’s odd about this flight. From JFK to LAX it is on American Airlines in First Class on their new A321T aircraft, however from LAX to Brisbane, the obvious longer segment of the two, it is only in Business Class. So, essentially, I’d be paying an additional 10,000 miles over the standard Business Class award, but only to upgrade the shorter of the two segments. While I’m not really sure it’s worth an extra 10,000 miles to sit in First on the A321T, as I’ve been perfectly happy with Business Class before, it’s deceiving to think that this award is First Class all the way through to Australia, which it isn’t.

I also found a similar issue looking for flights from Sydney to JFK, via HNL and SFO.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 3.17.35 PM

It’s a 62,500 mile Business Class award, where the two longest segments are in economy. So, to pay Business Class pricing, but to sit in the back of the bus is just not worth it.

It’s a word of advice to double check your award bookings to make sure you’re actually in the right cabin. If you’re hesitant, give AAdvantage Customer Service a call to confirm which cabin you’re actually seated in, and whether all of the flights are showing true Business or First availability.

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