The Difference Between Saver and Standard Awards

The Difference Between Saver and Standard Awards

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Airlines release award seats at different levels, some of which are available to partners that allow you use your miles to book those award seats, and others which are not released and then restrict you from using your miles to redeem an award.

For example, you want to fly American Airlines from New York’s LaGaurdia to Chicago and see available space on American Airlines website, But then you go to British Airways to book that seat with Avios because it will require the least amount of mileage for that trip – and the seat isn’t available.

What gives?

The Difference in Saver and Standard Awards

Here is what an American Airlines Saver award looks like on their website…

AA saver
American Airlines Saver awards are called ‘MileSAAver’

If you notice the top key, there are several colors of awards available. The light green, or ‘Economy MileSAAver’ and the light blue ‘Business/First Mile SAAver’ are the Saver awards. These can be booked using partner miles, like on British Airways’ website.

Here’s what these same – and bookable – flights looks like on British Airways…

BA Saver
Book these American Airlines flights on partner British Airways for 7,500 Avios per direction, as opposed to 12,500 American Airlines miles

The flught numbers and flight times are the same.

Now here is what a non-Saver award seat looks like on American Airlines…

For this day of travel, there are no direct MileSAAver Awards available.

For this day of travel from New York to Chicago, there were no MileSAAver awards, only ‘Anytime’ awards. Anytime awards can be nearly double, or more in many cases, of the MileSAAver price.

Because these are not Saver awards, they will not show up on British Airways…

No space!
No space!

This principle holds true for booking other partner awards on other airlines.

So if you want to book a United ticket using Aeroplan miles the United space needs to show up in either of these two columns.

united standard vs saver
United flights need to show up in the ‘Saver Award’ columns in all classes of service.

We covered this with Delta, which has a more screwed up complicated award redemption scheme. (HINT: Look for the awards that are O and N class on Delta).

Bottom Line

Just because you see award space on a airline’s website, does not mean it will be available to partners. If you’re looking to book an award flight using partner miles, your best bet is to verify that the flight indeed has Saver space that the partner can pull up.

-The Miner

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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