American Airlines Adds Automatic Mileage Refunds on Certain Award Cancellations American Airlines Adds Automatic Mileage Refunds on Certain Award Cancellations

American Airlines Adds Automatic Mileage Refunds on Certain Award Cancellations

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Canceling an award trip is not something that anybody enjoys doing, especially when the process is challenging and complicated. With so many people forced to cancel flights recently, this has led to a lot of frustrating decisions and long hold times. Thankfully, American Airlines seems to have recognized this and has recently made the process of canceling (some) award trips much simpler.


Automatic Mileage Reinstatement

American Airlines recently announced that it would waive change and redeposit fees for certain award reservations in response to COVID-19. As expected, this was welcome news for a lot of people. However, getting your AA miles redeposited has always required a phone call. That's true even for top-tier elites that never have to pay an award redeposit fee.

On Friday afternoon, to simplify the process, AA updated its award travel cancelation policy to include automatic mileage reinstatement for certain cancelations. Simply put: once you've canceled your trip online, AA will redeposit your miles automatically—eliminating the need to call the AAdvantage reservations line.

For your booking to qualify, it must meet these requirements:

  • The reservation must be ticketed on or before May 31, 2020 for travel through September 30, 2020.
  • The reservation must be for a single passenger.
  • The traveler and the AAdvantage member whose miles were redeemed are the same.
  • Travel is on American Airlines flights only.
  • The ticket was purchased directly with American Airlines in the U.S. or via its U.S. website.
  • Travel for any portion of the trip has not begun.
  • No changes have been made to the trip since the ticket was issued.

The good news is even better for American Airlines Executive Platinum elites. Top-tier elites will continue to get automatic mileage reinstatement even outside the dates listed above. For all other members and for trips that don't meet the above criteria, members will still have to call AAdvantage.

Final Thoughts

Requiring a phone call to change or cancel an award reservation isn't unique to AAdvantage. But, as anyone who has recently called any kind of customer service can attest, hold times are hitting record lengths. Reduced hours and services have also made it harder and harder to reach an actual person. Eliminating the need call in the first place is an elegant solution.

After awarding 10x miles for donations to the Red Cross, extending elite status, and offering some incredible deals through web specials, this is yet another positive—if a little unexpected—development from American Airlines.

5 / 5 - (6 votes)
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  • The arrangement is excellent because no one wants to spend hours on the phone.

  • Talchinski says:

    Great! Except reservations for one passenger only? That doesn’t make much sense.

  • This is an area airlines really need to work on is getting their IT to apply the right rules and make things easy instead of having to call and thus they get inundated with calls. Need to be able to change it on the fly for times like this. Insert new rules and get it up and running fast.

  • I wish they’d allow free cancellation for all travel dates and not just till the end of Sept…

  • Great step by American Airlines. I assume that when the miles used for the reservation are credited back to the reward miles account, the taxes and fees will be credited back to the credit card that was used for the reservation? Also, how does one have this cancellation done if the reservation has more than one person on it; i.i. husband and wife, children? Will it accept the number of persons on the one reservation or not? A bit more information would be most helpful; especially when telephoning in these days can be a long wait for help.

    • The terms say that this automatic refunding is only for reservations with a single passenger who is the account holder, so those traveling with a spouse and/or children will still need to call to refund.

  • Did they announce this after they announced the increased baggage fees? Seems to me like they’re trying to do some damage control with PR.

    • That’s right. This did come a couple of days after the bag fee increase. Although, with a massive organization like AA, I’m figuring that these were being worked on in parallel without coordination.

  • Lillian Dikovitsky says:

    Good move. Wish it was for more than just one passenger.

  • Helpful, but AA could have gone further. Odd restrictions.

  • Yeah but they also increased the luggage fee in the meantime

  • I hope United follows and waives their rebooking fee.

  • This should be a standard for everyone.

    • Lots of things should be standard in life. 🙂 Glad this one is finally off that list, at least with American. Companies that put additional to do items on my plate that can easily be totally automated – and aren’t for questionable reasons – are not at all appreciated.

  • Nice change for the customers but also for the people working at the customer care of American.

  • But what is the likelihood the process will be smoothly automated? I anticipate snags and hiccups that still require a call in. At least that is how it has been with other ‘automatic’ features AA had rolled out in the past. It is certainly a welcome development but pardon the skepticism on optimal deployment.

  • Getting miles redeposited after cancelling should not require a phone call in the first place.

  • This should be a permanent change made by all airlines.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    This is an example of putting the customer first. We can all applaud their efforts in helping build trust at this time of colossal over reaction and panic. I’ll remember American’s support on this.

  • Nice to see, but it seems not having this was always some form of a Gotcha!

  • Felicity Lane says:

    This is a helpful decision by American Airlines especially as wait-times for calls are so long at present

  • I believe that this miles reimbursement program does not include the AA one world alliance, since I was canceled a LATAM flight where I had the frequent AA membership number.

  • I am very happy about this effort by American. It shows they appreciate their frequent fliers.

  • The gesture makes thing easier and more pleasant for everybody during the difficult times.

  • I applaud for the timely innovation. Bravo, American Airlines.

  • Sounds pretty restricted. Award tickets for one passenger in the name of the member. Not sure how many awards are just for one person vs. the whole family.

    But still it’s something…

  • Good news given the circumstances.

  • Juan Ignacio says:

    Great info!! Nice for the customers and very helpfull for the AA workers, it makes easier the job for them.

  • Why not make this a permanent change?

  • Good news, but still frustrating that this isn’t standard procedure across the board – eg, that there is a cut-off date.

  • All airlines should apply the automatic mileage reset policy. I welcome the American Airlines initiative.