Most of the time when talking about the need to diversify points earning the focus is having points in programs which are not generally associated with each other. Maybe a Star Alliance partner has a seat where a SkyTeam member doesn’t or vice versa. This week, however, I found myself perplexed by the variations in availability within an alliance. Three different searches from three different programs for the same route and date showing bizarrely different results. I have no idea what is going on here.
The route in question is JFK to Mexico City. I really want to fly the Aeromexico 787 on this trip so I’ve been stalking award space on it a bit. And I never saw a business class seat open up so I eventually caved in and used Flying Blue points to redeem for a window seat in economy. I’ll survive the flight just fine, of course, but every now and then I peek back at the Air France site just to see if an award seat up front becomes available. Maybe I’d pay to switch to that. The good news, I suppose, is that I have not needed to make such a choice. The award seat never showed up. So I was rather surprised when I was talking with a friend going on the same trip and he noted that there was space showing as available. I had just checked earlier that night and saw nothing of the sort.
And so I checked again and still saw nothing available on that flight (AM409):
I even checked the Aeromexico site directly and it did not have the award seat available, though it did show different flights than FlyingBlue had on offer.
And then I checked the Delta SkyMiles site. It showed the same flight on Delta metal as FlyingBlue but also shows the Aeromexico flight as an option.
Just for grins I checked Alaska Airlines, too. They also show the Aeromexico flight as available:
What the heck is going on here?!?
Sadly, I have no idea what the answer actually is to that question. Clearly there are some award seats available on some flights at some times on that date. And depending on which points you’re willing to redeem it seems that it is possible to confirm a seat on one of them. But this award availability situation is most confusing. Typically if there is a discrepancy it is that the “home” carrier has more award space for its own members. But in this instance that’s not what I’m seeing. Only Delta has the Aeromexico seat while both Delta and FlyingBlue have the Delta flights available. And Aeromexico is doing something completely different.
Added bonus: Calling FlyingBlue DOES show the seat as available. Turns out that their website just doesn’t like me or something.
And now I need to decide if the upgrade is worth the $70 change fee plus 18k more AmEx MR points.
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