July 2021 - I purchased tickets (reservation, itinerary, whatever buzzword you like) round trip from San Diego to Manila for December 2021 using my AA reward miles (booked on Japan Airlines).
October 2021 - I was notified by American Airlines that the entire route for 1 leg of my trip (connection flight from Tokyo to Manila) has been suspended. After several days of calling and checking with agents I was advised it might be better to cancel the entire ticket (reservation, itinerary, whatever buzzword you like) so that the agent could try to rebook it. Suddenly, after cancellation there were no flights available for purchase with miles. The cash price for tickets skyrocketed 300%. I was refunded my miles (big deal) but now the outbound flight has a mileage requirement that is 50% higher than when I originally booked. No change on the return flight.
November 2021 - Japan Airlines is pleased to announce that it is resuming its service to Manila. According to flightaware.com, between the time I purchased my ticket and when that announcement was made there has not been a single day that the "suspended" route did not have a flight.
Basically, Japan Airlines (and American too, by extension of the agent who advised me to cancel) falsely claimed that a route was suspended, cancelled my ticket (reservation, itinerary, whatever buzzword you like), and then was able to sell that booking to a cash customer at a 300% mark-up.
While there is no doubt in my mind that this is very underhanded I'm wondering....do I have any recourse?
And to think we were worried about price gouging of hand sanitizer due to COVID-19.
For clarification, my itinerary was as follows:
December 11 JL65 SAN to NRT (arriving December 12) December 12 JL475 NRT to MNL (this is the allegedly suspended flight) January 10 JL476 MNL to NRT January 10 JL66 NRT to SAN (arriving January 11)
There was a different flight code for Japan Airlines that shows as suspended however JL475 is a daily flight and has flown everyday between July 15, 2021 and November 10, 2021.