Most airlines charge a fee for close-in award tickets. (21 days or less).
My question is, would the below course of action work:
1) Pick the flights you want using miles
2) Booking those same flights but say a week further out (say 28 days out, assuming it was the same number of miles and availability exists)
3) Wait an hour
4) Change the award itinerary you just booked to the week you wanted all along. This way you avoid the close in booking fee since your first booking didn't have the fee since it was more than 21 days out, and also avoiding a cancel/rebook fee since you are making the changes within 24 hours.
Absolutely. I am AA Gold and the wife is AA Plat so we try to fly them but being so close to EWR and having a United CC, means we use it for award travel sometimes. The airlines aren't a charity they are running a business but the fees do seem pretty annoying at times. I am not old enough to know/have paid the cost of tickets in the late 70's and 80's but I do know since my father traveled extensively in the early 80's that they were significantly more expensive than they are today. I sincerely believe that If every US airline charged $500+ for a coach ticket like they used to, they would all make money and would not charge these fees. However the industry has changed during the past 20 years and especially since 9/11 that with such cheap fares you will get fees on top of fees so the airlines can be profitable. In 1985 a family of 4 couldn't fly from NY to Disney World for $150 a person round trip. Now they can. The problem is, now all they do is complain about fees when in reality they have no idea what those tickets used to cost and even though they don't like fees its still cheaper than it used to be. The masses for the most par are able to afford air travel now and part of me thinks that's great and part of me can't stand it. I do think that it's nice that people can see places outside their own town and can see the world we live in. The other part of me can't stand it because those same people are the ones who have no common courtesy while flying. They have no idea how to navigate security, no idea how to control their kids on a crowded plane, no idea how to put their bags in an overhead bin without backing up everyone trying to board. Those same people are also the ones who you see being interviewed on TV during the Christmas holiday when their flight gets cancelled because of snow and they have to sleep in the airport since they have no money for a taxi, food, or hotel. I am sorry your flight was delayed/cancelled but when you don't have the resources to handle unforseen circumstances, then perhaps you shouldn't be flying.
I enjoyed reading that little rant, rant on my friend. I am right there with ya and you hit the nail on the head, those without a courteous bone in their body are the very people who make me not want to leave home, they are everywhere. They bought that $150 round trip ticket and gripe at any fee.....yes airlines are in business to make money and yes it does make me sick to read all these fares they tack on. Soon it will be credit or debit card only for seat belts and use of the lavs.
I knew the length of my response would be considered a rant but at the same time I knew you would enjoy it so I went ahead and posted it, At the risk of really running on, I left out the fact that people also gripe about the service on the ground and in the air from GAs and FAs. These first line employees are almost certainly underpaid and have to deal with obnoxious, discourteous, entitled people all day long. If I were in their shoes I probably wouldn't be overly chipper and eager to help others either, even though it is my job. I honestly give kudos to those FAs, GAs,who are extroverted, smiling, and genuinely caring. They are a little hard to find but when you do it's great to see. I also take time out to recommend these folks. I recently had a very nice FA on an AA flight that was delayed due to a broken lav of all things and she handled the situation perfectly. I was quick to contact AA after the flight and inform them of her great work. I have also contact Marriott to commend employees who go above and beyond as well. Perhaps companies should do a better job of informing the public that they can nominate and inform them of a great job one of their employees is doing. .
Remember I did write "little rant".
Maybe some of those fees should go to the front line employees that have to deal with the unruly and basic unhappy people. Like you, we always get the employees name when we run across a happy employee and eager to provide a service as well as when we find the other type as well in order to give kudos when deserved and a spank when deserved. There is some truth to the "you get what you give" attitude because most of the time we end up with excellent service and sharing a good laugh or two during a flight.