American Airlines delays by a month the introduction of a new fee structure for award tickets

May 31, 2020

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American Airlines has changed the timeline on its new rules for fees on award bookings. The terms on the AA site have been quietly updated, showing that the airline has delayed the implementation of its new award-fee structure by a month.

Previously, American had announced that travelers could make free award-ticket changes and redeposits of their miles at least 60 days in advance, for award travel booked after June 1. That date now shifts forward by a month. For award travel ticketed on or after July 1, 2020, “we’ll waive change and reinstatement fees when the change is made at least 60 days before travel,” the AA site says.

The delay of the new award-fee structure corresponds to the airline’s temporary waiver of change and cancellation fees because of the coronavirus. This waiver was recently extended to June 30, and includes award tickets. So American has now delayed the new award-fee structure by a month.

For changes made within 60 days of departure, the change and cancellation-fee chart announced previously will go into effect on July 1, as detailed below. Fees still vary according to the elite status of the AAdvantage account holder whose miles are being used for the booking.

Elite status tier 60 days or more Between 7 and 59 days Less than 7 days
Executive Platinum $0 $0 $0
Platinum Pro $0 $50 $75
Platinum $0 $75 $100
Gold $0 $100 $125
Regular member $0 $125 $150

 

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We have covered previously how the changes to award-booking fees would be positive for some flyers, but amount to a stealthy devaluation of the value of AAdvantage miles for others.

For most people, the changes going into effect on July 1 are a net positive. The fee to change an award ticket or redeposit miles was previously $150, regardless of status, except for Executive Platinum members who could always make free changes and cancellations. Beginning July 1, no one will be charged a fee as long as any changes or cancellation of award itineraries happen at least 60 days before departure. This applies to all awards, including Web Special tickets which previously couldn’t be changed at all.

But the new structure introduces change and redeposit fees for award-ticket types that previously would not have any and were, therefore, extremely flexible.

American previously allowed MileSAAver awards to be changed without fee, as long as the origin, destination and airline(s) remained the same. Change fees were also waived for AAnytime (standard) awards, even when making a change to the origin and destination. These fee-free changes could be made anytime before scheduled departure. When it comes to reinstating miles for a canceled award, the fee was previously $150 for the first ticket and $25 for any other redeposits done at the same time into the same account.

But now, all AAdvantage award tickets booked on or after July 1 will be subject to the new fee structure, both for changes that would currently be allowed for free and for redeposits of two or more tickets that would currently be processed at a discount.

Featured photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

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