American Airlines Eliminates (Then Reinstates) Phone Award Booking Fees
Update 5/2/16 7:00pm: AA has reinstated the award ticketing fee, which was apparently removed in error during a site update today. Bummer! Here's the corrected fee structure (which also includes corrected amounts for "Travel Center" bookings:
This morning, American Airlines changed its fees for booking award tickets — eliminating some fees while increasing others.
Phone Booking Fees
First the great news: American Airlines has completely dropped the fees for booking award tickets in "reservations offices in the United States." We have confirmed with an American Airlines AAdvantage agent that this is indeed an elimination of the phone booking fee. Delta doesn't charge a phone booking fee (except when booking with some Europe-based agents) and United charges $25 to book award tickets over the phone (waived for Platinum and 1K).
However, the announcement doesn't seemed to have reached all agents, so you might have to point this change out to your agent in the short term, until the change is made clear to all agents.
The fees were previously $30 for travel within the US and $40 for travel outside the US. However, you could get these fees waived by an agent if the itinerary couldn't be booked online.
Meanwhile, American Airlines increased award ticketing fees for ticketing at a "travel center" — from $35 to $50. However, this will likely have a small impact, as American Airlines only lists four of these travel centers.
What Hasn't Changed
Everything else. It will still cost you $35/45 (travel inside/outside the US) to book award tickets at an airport ticket counter or Admirals Club.
Also, this change didn't affect the $75 fee for ticketing within 21 days of departure — which is waived for American Airlines status holders.