American Airlines (Re)Adds Free Award Changes for Certain AAdvantage Awards American Airlines (Re)Adds Free Award Changes for Certain AAdvantage Awards

American Airlines (Re)Adds Free Award Changes for Certain AAdvantage Awards

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As part of its switch to dynamic award pricing, American Airlines sunsetted a flyer-friendly policy: Free AAdvantage award changes. Going forward, all AAdvantage awards would be treated like the now-retired Web Special awards. This policy wasn't all bad though. AAdvantage members could still cancel awards and redeposit miles for free. But, travelers would have to book new awards each time they wanted to change or reprice an award.

Today, American Airlines is reversing course. On certain eligible AAdvantage awards, you'll now be able to change your award flights without having to cancel, refund, and rebook your flights. Here are the details of this policy change.

Who's Eligible To Make Free AAdvantage Award Changes

Not all AAdvantage awards are now eligible for changes. Instead, awards must meet all of the following criteria:

  • All flight segments must be on American Airlines.
  • Limited to domestic award flights only.
  • Only one passenger can be in the booking.
  • Awards must have been booked with a U.S. point of sale.
  • Only the AAdvantage account owner that originally booked the flight can make the change.

That's… a lot of restrictions. But, this is still better than before when no awards could be changed.

To be fair, American Airlines originally introduced similar restrictions when it originally added the ability for flyers to cancel and refund AAdvantage awards online. Then it expanded this ability over time. So, we can hope that American Airlines will similarly expand the ability to change AAdvantage awards online.

How To Change an AAdvantage Award

Assuming your award is eligible (see above section), here's how you can change your AAdvantage award. First, log into your AAdvantage account. Then, head to your My Trips page. Click “Select” for the award you want to change. Then, click the large blue “Change trip” button to start your change.

Screenshot of AAdvantage award booking before making a change

Next, check the box for “Yes, I want to change this flight” and confirm or change the route and departure date. Then click “Continue”.

Screenshot showing AAdvantage award change search options

For reference, American Airlines will show how many AAdvantage miles and how much you paid in taxes and fees for the original booking. Review the award search results and select the flight you'd rather take.

Screenshot showing AAdvantage award search results

On the next page, American Airlines will confirm your flight selection and show the price difference for the flight. In this case, American Airlines confirms it will refund 30,500 AAdvantage miles to my account after confirming this award change. Scroll down and click “Continue” to move to the next step.

Screenshot showing AAdvantage award change price change confirmation

The next page is pretty similar to the previous one — confirming your new flight details and the price difference. Presumably, this is where American Airlines would request payment if the taxes and fees increased on your new itinerary. Enter your email address for the receipt; agree to the terms and conditions, refund policy, and conditions of carriage; and then click “Submit change” to confirm your change.

Screenshot confirming new flight and price difference on an AAdvantage award change

If everything worked, you should receive a confirmation that your change is confirmed. For reference, American Airlines kept the same record locator but ticketed my new flight with a new ticket number.

Screenshot of AAdvantage award change confirmation page

Bottom Line

American Airlines just (re)added free award ticket changes for certain eligible awards. If your ticket is eligible, you'll be able to change and/or reprice awards online without having to go through the hassle of canceling and rebooking an award. That's a nice win for travelers as you won't have to check your credit card statement to make sure American Airlines refunds the taxes and fees on your canceled award.

The downside: Only certain awards are eligible for online changes. You'll need to be a solo passenger on a fully-domestic American Airlines award, purchased within the U.S., and have used your AAdvantage miles to book the award. Hopefully, American Airlines will quickly expand the ability to change more types of AAdvantage awards soon.

5 / 5 - (4 votes)
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Comments

  • mario branchesi says:

    buen dia
    consulto si hay alguna tarjeta de credito argentina que permita acumular millas en AA,?, lo ultimo que acumule fue por medio de compra de hoteleria.
    gracias

  • mario felipe branchesi says:

    buen dia

    hay alguna tarjeta de credito argentina para acumular millas de American A, como era Diner y luego Santander,
    gracias

  • Did AA really charge on award ticket change and cancellation recently? I don’t see any fee in any change and cancellation now either.

    Changing flight awards
    You can change an eligible trip online in just a few steps. While you may have to pay the difference, there are no change fees for award tickets.

    Canceling flight awards and reinstating miles
    If your plans change and you no longer wish to travel, you can cancel your trip anytime on aa.com. We’ll reinstate your miles and refund eligible taxes and fees up to 1 year after the ticket issue date, but you have to cancel your trip before the first flight departs. If you cancel your trip on aa.com, your miles will be reinstated and your refund will be requested automatically in most cases. There is no fee to reinstate your miles.

    • Ryan Smith says:

      Sam, AA was allowing people to cancel awards without fees but wasn’t permitting changes. Cancel/refund/make a new booking was the only path, which was quite complicated. That still exists for passengers whose tickets don’t meet the restrictions for this new policy allowing changes.