Updated on July 10, 2015
A couple evenings ago I was checking different award availabilities on AA.com for a trip that Katie and I have in the spring. As I always do, I was searching for the award segment by segment trying to find the best combination to get me to my destination. I had decided I wanted to see if there was a way to get to London with my American Airlines (AA) miles and connect from there to elsewhere (preferably not on British Airways from the US to Europe because of fuel surcharges). After seeing a few option for my AA miles on BA.com I decided to check out some different departure cities in the US. One of the cities I looked at was Los Angeles. To my surprise there was a first class award on AA metal from LAX-JFK and then JFK to London (LHR). Sweet!
But, I am in the Midwest so it might be easier to fly to New York (JFK) first instead of back tracking. So I checked out JFK-LHR by itself, but there was nothing, no AA flights and nothing at all direct to LHR. The flights it did provide were of course from other cities on BA. That seemed strange so I went back to check out the LAX award again. I thought, maybe AA had started using married segments (where certain segments can only be booked together) or something strange without giving notice.
However, as soon as I searched for it again I had a feeling this was a similar situation to what I run into on the Alaska Airlines award calender all the time, 2 different award classes!
As you can see from the image above, the flight from LAX to JFK is a Z class which is First class in this 3 cabin plane, while the JFK-LHR segment is a T class which is an economy award. Knowing that this 3 cabin A321 also flies from San Fransisco (SFO) to JFK I checked that route also and found the same problem.
Take home message is, always double and triple check your award flight before booking them! It does say economy on the little drop down when you click on details as I have above but you are paying the USA to Europe First Class award price so it could be easily missed. Make sure those class of service codes are correct before clicking purchase!