Latest American Airlines promo gives redeeming credits a new lifeline

Sep 12, 2021

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If you have an unused credit with American Airlines, you’re going to want to bookmark this story.

That’s because the Fort Worth-based carrier is gearing up to launch a limited-time offer to make flight credits even more flexible than before. In an exclusive interview with TPG, Scott Chandler, vice president of revenue management, revealed that you’ll soon be able to use those credits for other travelers.

Historically, when you voluntarily cancel a flight, you’re issued a “Flight Credit” for the value of your unused trip. When it came time to rebook your travel, you could only use it for the originally ticketed passenger.

Say you booked a flight for your parents, but they decided to call off the trip. Previously, you couldn’t use your parents’ ticket for yourself or anyone else.

But, that’s about to change.

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For a limited time, American will offer a promotion that allows travelers to use their existing “Flight Credits” for others. The promo will launch within the next few weeks, and we’ll be sure to update this story once an official start date has been confirmed.

Once the promotion goes live, you’ll need to call AA’s reservation desk (800-433-7300) to use a credit for someone else. (Reservations agents are currently being briefed and trained about this limited-time program.)

The two major caveats to participating in this promotion are that both you and the traveler that you’re booking for must be members of AA’s AAdvantage loyalty program. If you aren’t yet a member, you can enroll online or while on the phone during the booking process.

Additionally, this is a “one-time” offer — you can’t gift someone your credit and then decide to give it to somebody else.

All existing “Flight Credits” will qualify for this promotion, including those booked through a travel agency or other third-party vendor. Any unused vouchers issued during the pandemic can be used for travel through March 31, 2022, but only those booked by Jan. 31, 2022, will qualify for this promotion.

Though this is a limited-time offer, there’s some more good news for those with existing credits: AA has embarked on a multi-step process for making it easier to redeem them.

The devil is in the details, but essentially American is converting existing “Flight Credit” into “Trip Credit.” Though it’s only a one-word difference on paper, the implications of this change are much more far-reaching — in a positive way.

“Trip Credits” are always transferrable — you don’t need to rely on a limited-time promo to use your voucher for someone else. Better yet, you can combine up to eight “Trip Credits” together towards the purchase of a new reservation.

There are several other notable reasons why “Trip Credits” are far more flexible than “Flight Credits.” For one, they can be used to purchase Oneworld and other airline partner itineraries through AA’s reservation team. You can also add multiple passengers onto a single reservation, which could help you share elite benefits, like upgrades, priority boarding and complimentary seat assignments, with your travel companions.

American is converting “Flight Credits” into “Trip Credits” in tranches — right now, only credits that belong to AAdvantage members and were booked on a single-passenger itinerary have been converted.

According to the airline, more conversions are coming in the months ahead, but in the meantime, there’ll soon be a limited-time promo that makes all existing credits more flexible than ever.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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