Good News: American Confirms No New Award Fees

by on August 28, 2013 · 40 comments

in American

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Last night there was a lot of panic in the frequent flyer world when One Mile at a Time reported that American Airlines was going to start imposing new, high fuel surcharges and fees on international revenue and award tickets both on its own flights and on its partners.

The A319 will begin flying from Dallas Fort Worth on September 16, 2013.

Good news – looks like American won’t be imposing surcharges on most international flights after all.

I held off posting on it because phone reps get this sort of thing wrong all the time and mistakes are made, so I wanted clear confirmation from American about whether they would indeed be charging frequent flyers new, higher fees or not, and after a series of Tweets with American as well as reaching out to my contacts at the airline, I was given the following official statement by American’s PR department (bolding is my own emphasis):

“Last night, in a routine effort to better align American to industry standards with other global carriers, American began collecting carrier-imposed surcharges on tickets for travel on other carrier’s metal.  This change was intended for revenue tickets only, but the surcharge was erroneously added to AAdvantage award redemptions on other airlines as well.  Except in the cases of British Airways and Iberia (where American currently collects these surcharges), no carrier-imposed surcharges will be applied when redeeming AAdvantage miles for award travel on other carriers.  Any customers who encountered this fee in error will be fully refunded.”

Turns out we can all breathe a big sigh of relief and that the only high carrier-imposed surcharges that will be imposed on award tickets are those already in place on American’s partners, British Airways and Iberia. If you did book a ticket and were slammed with high fees, call the airline and request your refund per the last line in the official statement.

It remains to be seen what the new “carrier-imposed surcharges for tickets for travel on other carriers’ metal” will be on revenue tickets, and I’m not optimistic, but stay tuned for more news on that front.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Goat Rodeo

    … dont worry, devaluations are still to come.

  • Andrew Meyer

    How do you get in that Facebook group?

  • Russ Hearn

    How do you get onto the EXP Facebook page?

  • thisname101

    I hope devaluations and high fees are not coming… this is the main reason why I fly AA, miles I collect and redeem.

  • Aaron Sugiura

    TPG, good on you for not rushing to hyperventilate on this one.

  • MorganaLeFay

    I’m sorry, but that seems just a tad smug of you. Firstly, AA had tweeted and posted on FB multiple times that it was indeed collecting “carrier-imposed surcharges.” Secondly, you weren’t “given” a statement – AA posted on FB in response to numerous posts that same thing. Sometimes you really do come off sounding like a pompous twat, which is a shame, because you really are a nice guy

  • DM

    Thanks for getting your facts straight before posting. I wish others had higher standards.

  • Member

    Please remove this post, it contains proprietary info to the private EXP facebook group and is a group violation.

  • thepointsguy

    The head of AA PR emailed me the statement directly. What is your point?

  • thepointsguy

    The American press release was sent to me directly. I removed the screenshot from the Fbook group- but that info is not proprietary in any shape way or form

  • thepointsguy

    It is an invite only group.. to be honest I forget how I even got in. I can look into the membership qualifications and get back

  • SuperKirby

    Why such the negativity!? Be nice, sheesh.

  • SuperKirby

    Thanks for the post, TPG. I am still appalled and curious on why bloggers receive the negativity sometimes…

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  • Mr. Cool

    just to be clear please:
    -does AA charge fuel surcharges for international award tickets?
    -what about domestic award tickets?
    -international revenue tix?
    -domestic revenue tickets?

  • Goat Rodeo

    exactly – why follow someone’s blog if you think they’re smug. I was happy TPG didnt jump all over the complete knee jerk reaction that happened all over the travel sector in the past 12-24 hours.

  • FB

    I was referring to the fact that you were showing a private, secret post from a secret FB group, and it included the name and picture of one of our members who works for AA. The image is still available online- please delete the original too.

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  • Goat Rodeo


  • AM

    Why did you post the screenshot in the first place? You knew very well that doing so is cause for dismissal from the private FB group. You may wish to consider leaving the private FB group if you don’t think you can abide its terms and conditions. You have the right to glean information and “savvy” from the group; you are expressly forbidden from revealing names and likenesses that appear in the group. You should take the extra step of refraining from mentioning the group at all.


    “I held off posting on it …”
    Until I posted this on the American Airlines Facebook wall.

    Brian Kelly
    I heard that American will begin charging steep fees/fuel surcharges on international award tickets- is this true?

  • jammanxc

    its members only

  • LarryInNYC

    If Brian is, indeed, being a bit smug he’s fully entitled. Everything about this pointed to some kind of SNAFU inside AA; Brian held off on speculating until there was a definitive answer. In terms of getting the story correct, he made the right call.

  • Goat Rodeo

    bit of discussion along with contact information in this thread (hopefully postin its OK on your blog.):

  • FB

    its invite only for EXP and CK’s with proof of status

  • thepointsguy

    The screenshot was originally included because it was the only official statement from AA that I had. Within minutes I got the same statement from AA PR so the Fbook source became moot and thus was deleted.

  • thepointsguy

    That was me as a consumer/Exec Plat posting on my personal Facebook to let AA know that I didn’t stand behind the changes. Much different than TPG posting to 500k readers my opinion.

  • Goat Rodeo

    There are several posts on various other places (FT, TB, etc) talking about this group – including participation of some of the mods. While cute that there is a private group, the whole entitlement secrecy thing is a bit Elks Lodge.

  • AM

    Your use of the word “official” could be misleading, and may be the source of some of the blowback against you.

    At the time you made your original post, you did not have an “official” statement from AA; you had a communique from an AA employee that had been sent to you and to One Mile at a Time. It had not yet been posted to AA’s public FB page, nor had it been posted to AA’s website, nor had it been sent to any writers in the traditional media.

    It seems clear from the tone of the communique that it was intended for public consumption (and AA no doubt expedted you to disseminate it), but it is, again, clearly a violation of the private groups T&Cs to copy and paste any name or likeness without said person’s permission.

  • thepointsguy

    You are wrong. As stated, I got the official press release with the same language minutes after I read the Facebook post. I meant to delete the image from the post but in the rush of getting the info out it wasn’t deleted. I immediately deleted it when I noticed because it was pointless to have in the post since I had an official statement.

    Clearly the Fbook post was official communication and not only meant for the “secret” group. I’ve since left the group out of respect and frankly because I don’t even remember being added to begin with.

  • Tim

    Um they always collected these surcharges, this is clearly a pullback on their part due to the backlash but kudos to them to listening to customers and reacting so quickly. They didn’t have to lie about it though the latter messaging prob would have sounded better anyways.

  • AM

    There is nothing “cute” about the presence of our (or any other) private FB group. Membership in the group entails responsibilities in addition to rights in order to ensure greater accountability (and less snark) than can be found in such communities as FlyerTalk.

    The privacy of the group enables and encourages its members to speak candidly and openly about their experiences with AA in particular and travel in general. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know well about privacy issues and FB, so the lure of privacy is anything but cute.

    It would be one thing if we were plotting to take over the airline (or the government), but we’re not, so you needn’t worry.

  • RBG

    The FB EXP group is a great group. Some very cool and smart people. It is more about people’s experiences traveling and they have a built up a great social network and friendship. AA participates — from events to hanging out with some of the DFW members. The issue is that they have allot of lurkers, and of course, bloggers who had no value to the group.

  • Newt

    Seriously? Bahahaa

  • Newt

    First rule about fight club…

  • John K

    It’s FLIGHT club…get it right =p

  • Pingback: The American Airlines Award Surcharges Mistake Is A Good Reminder Why Transferable Points Are Best | The Points Guy()

  • Goat Rodeo

    the issue I have with it is a publicly traded company is sharing information there well in advance of sharing it elsewhere (from the timelines.)

    As for the “cute” – Ive heard about the group prior – and been invited before. Always seemed a little better than thou.


    wow. someone takes this ‘secret’ FB group, that just about every single aviation enthusiast knows about and nearly every EXP has been invited to, waaaaayyyy to seriously. And by someone I mean AM here.

  • Ed Carney

    An idea, DON’T COME TO THIS BLOG! More deals for rest of us!

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