This is cool. American Airlines now offers frequent-flyer trips to U.S. elite members (those who fly more than 40,000 km per year) at demand-based costs. This means, instead of costing a flat 25,000 miles per round-trip, elite members will be able to book trips for less if the flights have lower demand—or more, if there's more demand:
Dynamic Air awards are an enhancement to our existing flight award offerings, providing AAdvantage® elite status members with a range of flight redemption options below the AAnytime® award level. The amount of miles required for a Dynamic Air award is based on published fares, so award levels will vary as fares vary. MileSAAver® and AAnytime® awards are still available at AA.com.
I poked around. The Dynamic Air awards go through a different Web application than their main reservations system, so it's hard to compare directly. And there are some annoyances. Well, one big annoyance: there doesn't seem to be any flights.
For Chicago to San Francisco the weekend of September 3rd, flying out Saturday and back on Tuesday, there were no flights with dynamic pricing. Nor for the next weekend. Nor the next. Chicago to Raleigh? Nope. Des Moines? Nope. LaGuardia? Uh-uh.
What about short-notice flights? LaGuardia, the weekend after next? Nada.
Using the main reservations system, which displays a grid of dates and award types, showed ordinary 25,000-mile awards for most of the options above—even for Chicago to LaGuardia leaving today.
I'll play with this new system a bit more, but at the moment it looks like it's in late Beta. Pity, it sounds like a really cool idea.