American Airlines Increasing Award Ticket Fees on August 25, 2011

Jul 14, 2011

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I’ve always thought that American Airlines is one of the more reasonable airlines when it comes to award ticket fees. Sure, they charge last minute booking fees, but they are flexible with changes to awards (free as long as the routing remains the same) and they never used to charge high fuel surcharges.

A lot of this is changing on August 25, 2011 when they increase the 20-7 day late booking fee from $50 to $75. They are bringing down the 6 day to 2 hour ticketing fee from $100 to $75, but they are also going to charge $75 per ticket no matter what – whereas in the past they’d charge only $25 for additional last minute tickets.

In total, this means more fees for American Airlines passengers who book within 21 days of flying (which is often me).

Per aa.com:

AAdvantage Award Processing Charges
Ticketing less than 21 days prior to departure
(Waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum® and
AAdvantage Gold® members using miles from their account)
Tickets issued prior to 8/25/11
Tickets issued 20 – 7 days prior to departure††
$50
Tickets issued 6 days to 2 hours prior to departure††
$100
Tickets issued on or after 8/25/11
Tickets issued 20 days to 2 hours prior to departureˆ
$75
Charges are non-refundable.
We recommend making award travel reservations as soon as you know your travel dates. Book via AA.com using the easy to read color-coded calendar. You may use your miles for yourself or for anyone you designate** at the time of ticketing. Keep in mind when booking via AA.com, the miles used will be from logged in member’s account.

††When multiple tickets are claimed at the same time from the same account, the AAdvantage award charge is $25 for each additional ticket.

ˆAs of 8/25/11, $75 will be charged per ticket regardless of the number of awards claimed from the same account.

Overall, these are negative changes and I hope other airlines don’t follow suit, though I’m skeptical because they love a good game of copycat.

As of now, Delta is the only domestic legacy carrier that does not charge last minute booking fees. Granted, they have their own issues, but I like to give credit where it is due.

Hat tip TPG reader Maru!

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