American Matches Ticket Change/Cancellation Fee Increase To $200

by on May 1, 2013 · 10 comments

in American

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Earlier this morning I wrote about how United, US Airways and Delta all increased their ticket change/cancellation fees on routes in North America from $150 to $200 in the past week and speculated that American Airlines would probably soon follow suit.

Well, I didn’t have long to wait to see whether my prediction would come true because American Airlines just announced that it would be matching the ticket change/cancellation increase to $200 for travel within the U.S., between the U.S. and Canada, and between both the U.S. and Canada and Mexico, Puerto Rico & the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean and Central America. International tickets won’t be affected.

While this change is bad for consumers, at least American offers Choice Fares which I personally think are a great deal for my needs since I often buy the cheapest fares, but my schedule changes constantly.

Another aspect of Choice Fares I love is that you can buy them per-leg for half price.

Buying Choice Essential or Plus fares means waived ticket change fees.

1. Choice Fares: These are basically the discounted economy fares as they are today – the least expensive way to get from point A to point B with no extras added on. You pay fees to make changes and you accrue miles normally.

2. Choice Essential: For an additional fee of $68 roundtrip, these fares will include 1 checked bag, Group 1 priority boarding and no change fees.

3. Choice Plus: These fares cost $20 above Choice Essential (so $88 above Choice/Regular Fares) and have the same three perks as Choice Essential plus a 50% AAdvantage mileage bonus (not Elite Qualifying Miles), waived same-day confirmed flight changes, same day standby and a premium beverage (including alcohol).

With both Choice Essential and Choice plus fares, the change fees are waived, but if the fare on the new ticket is higher, the customer will still have to pay the difference in fares. If the fare of the new ticket is lower, you will be issued a credit in the form of an airline voucher, meaning you can rebook and get a credit if the fare on your itinerary drops. If you purchase one of the Choice fares, you can change your ticket as many times as you want without a fee.

That change fee waiver is the main reason I buy American’s Choice Fares, and it has saved me hundreds of dollars already in the few months that these fares have been available. Even if you go with the more expensive Choice Plus fares and change your ticket once without any fare increase, you’re still saving $112.

All in all I’m not surprised that American matched its competitors’ fee hike, but I am disappointed. Although those Choice Fares make it easier to change your tickets without incurring huge fees, you’re still paying more for them, so the bottom line is, flyers will be paying more one way or another to fly American Airlines.

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  • Goat Rodeo

    Didnt take long…

  • Oldsmoboi

    How long till we can get an investigation for anti-trust violations?

  • joeypore

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they all had a meeting and just agreed that they could make more money if they all made this change…

  • Stewart

    This just makes the choice and choice plus options a better deal instead of saving $82 you now save $132

  • jason

    Some fares are so low that is impractical to change. You dont say 200.00 PLUS the fare difference. I always tell friends with large families to buy travel insurance. It should take care of the problem.

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  • Bevin

    Another reason to consider Southwest for shorter hauls — still no change fees and oh so easy to change online.

  • Schmenge Schmoe

    Wow, what next AA, charging extra for anything other than a middle seat? Oh, wait you do that now.

  • jj


  • Neal

    the new AA is a pig with lipstick. I tried to incorporate them into my
    travel but cancellation fees are punitive and to pay the extra for
    ‘choice fares’ your as high as the others without the ability to not
    show or cancel. Southwest is still king even after their unfortunate
    rewards program changes. AA and others have missed a huge opportunity
    but instead, decided to try to squeeze the consumer, bummer!

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