Great news: You can now rebook your canceled American Airlines trip online — here’s how

Aug 25, 2020

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Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, American Airlines has allowed travelers to change or cancel new and existing flights without penalty. In June, the airline also made a positive change to its seat fee refund policy.

While that sounds great on the surface, the rebooking was a pain. Fortunately, that isn’t the case anymore.

TPG has discovered that flights voluntarily canceled can now be rebooked online. Previously, you needed to call and speak to an American Airlines reservations representative, which could be an extraordinarily long process.

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Types of AA travel credits

American now offers three types of travel credits: Flight Credit, Travel Vouchers (being discontinued) and Trip Credit. All of these sound similar so here’s a quick overview:

Flight Credit Travel Voucher Trip Credit
Issued for Flights canceled by you U.S. residents (typically compensation) Compensation by airline, or for remaining value from a Flight Credit exchange
Valid for Flights only Flights only Flights only
Who can use it Only the same passenger on the canceled ticket can book and travel using a Flight Credit

Can be used by the voucher holder to book travel for anyone

Can be used by the credit holder to book travel for anyone

Number that can be used per trip 1 per passenger Up to 8 per trip Up to 8 per trip
Expiration Travel must begin 1 year from the date of issue (credits issued for flights canceled due to COVID-19 can be used for travel through Dec. 31, 2021) 1 year from date issued 1 year from date issued
How to redeem Online (new feature) or over the phone Online or over the phone Over the phone

Related: How to change or cancel an American Airlines flight

Rebooking AA flights online

When you voluntarily cancel a non-refundable flight, you’ll get the value of your ticket back in the form of “flight credits.” These credits are valid for flights only (not extras like seats or bags) and can only be used to book flights for the passenger on the canceled ticket.

As first discovered by TPG, you can now check the value of flight credits on AA’s site. In the “Manage trips/Check-in” box on the site’s homepage, there’s now an option to look up canceled flights. You can search by record locator or ticket number.

You’ll then be taken to a page that shows your ticket number, the original date of issue and ticket value. There was no easy way to find this information online in the past.

Related: How to quickly reach an airline customer service agent

To book a trip using the credit simply search for a flight as you normally would. Then, on the checkout page, under the payment options, there’s an option to apply your flight credit. This feature is available both via the airline’s website and mobile app. Presently, you can only apply one flight credit per passenger per trip.

Travel typically must begin within one year of your original ticketing date. However, due to the coronavirus travel waiver, the value of your unused ticket can be used for travel through Dec. 31, 2021.

Unlike United, American will give you the residual value back in the form of a trip credit if you book a new flight with a lower fare.

A spokesperson for American explained to TPG that this feature is available for domestic single-passenger itineraries, though there are some instances where domestic multi-passenger itineraries are also eligible. The feature is not available for international itineraries or where the point-of-sale was international.

Related: American Airlines extends free change and cancellation policy

Bottom line

Being able to rebook flights online is a big step forward for American. It’s refreshing to see that the airline is making it easier for our customers to use travel credits while some competitors are doing the opposite.

This isn’t the airline’s only technological improvement in recent months. In June, American added a chat feature to its mobile app and then in August it introduced a tool to provide travelers with the latest travel and health restrictions.

All screenshots courtesy of American Airlines.

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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