American Airlines Extends Award Change and Cancellation Fee Waiver

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Good news AAdvantage members! American Airlines just adjusted its award cancellation policy for the better. Now, members can cancel and refund award flights booked by June 30, 2020 without fees.

Fee Waivers on Award Tickets

Before today, American Airlines allowed free changes and cancellations for award reservations. However, this waiver was limited to flights ticketed by May 31, 2020 for travel through September 30, 2020. For awards ticketed on or after June 1, 2020, American Airlines would have waived change and reinstatement fees when the change was made at least 60 days before travel.

This left a gap for awards ticketed by May 31, 2020 for travel after September 30, 2020. That meant that if an AAdvantage member booked an award in late 2020 or early 2021—such as the incredible Flagship First Class deal we saw the other week—they weren't covered by either fee waiver.

Now, American Airlines has extended and simplified its policy:

  • For award reservations made anytime before June 30, 2020, American Airlines will waive the award reinstatement or change fees. This is regardless of the date of travel.
  • For awards ticketed on or after July 1, 2020, change and reinstatement fees will be waived for all members when the change is made at least 60 days before travel. After that, the change fee will depend on when the change is made and the elite status of the member:

Even better, you may be eligible for an automatic mileage refund if you need to cancel. There are several restrictions to this new policy, such as being limited to reservations with just one passenger. However, it should allow many members to get a refund without having to call American Airlines.

Fee Waivers for Cash Tickets

Today, May 31, 2020 is the last day that you can book cash tickets for any future date and get flexible changes. Under American Airlines' current policy, flights ticketed between March 1 and May 31, 2020 can be changed or canceled without change fees. The only requirement is that travel must be completed by December 31, 2021.

For flights booked in June 2020—or before March 1, 2020—travelers can rebook without change fees if the date of travel is before September 30, 2020. Policies can still change. But as it stands now, you won't get any change or cancellation flexibility on flights booked on or after June 1, 2020 for flights on or after October 1, 2020.

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Final Thoughts

While travel is starting to pick up, there are a lot of travelers that are still heeding CDC guidelines to stay home. So, it's encouraging to see American Airlines extend its flexible change and cancellation policy for award tickets. This lets us book award flights without having to worry about cancellation fees if we can't end up traveling.

Also, it's good that travelers previously stuck in the “gap” between the previous policies can now change or cancel awards booked beyond September 30, 2020.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  • This is a good deal. Has AA extended the expiration date for travel vouchers? I got one in November 2019, planned to use it in September 2020, but the CVD19 thing may limit my plans. Any help?

    • JT Genter says:

      I thought that I saw something about those being extended… but I can’t find anything now. I’d recommend calling AA to see if you can get a clear answer on that.

  • AA has made an excellent decision; the borders are still closed and the quarantine measures around the world are insane!


    Great info and updates! I found very useful knowing that for award reservations made anytime before June 30th 2020 American Airlines will waive the award reinstatement or change fees, regardless of the date of travel. Thanks!!

  • Jennifer says:

    This is a good thing that they have extended this. This is the only way that they can get people to book during this uncertain time.

  • Nobody will book with AA without an extension of fee waivers with all the uncertainty now.

  • I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to cancel my trip this summer with my daughter, but the convention just announced that they’re rescheduling for next summer and now I have to switch all my reservations over to next summer. It’s one less thing to worry about knowing that I won’t have to get slammed with fees, and that feels good. Thanks for keeping on top of these updates; it’s easier to find the information I need here as opposed to the carrier/hotel/car rental websites.

  • all airlines should be doing this!

  • Florencia says:

    They are good benefits, but insufficient to decide to buy a ticket in this uncertain context.

  • Carlos9424 says:

    Todas las aerolineas deberian pensar en hacerlo

  • How many more extensions will we eventually need? It is depressing!!!

    • Feels even more drawn out when they do one month at a time. Almost want them to do 3 months at a time so we don’t hear about it so often.

  • It’s nice that they extended this. Even better would be to hold miles expiration given that people are not able to travel the full of spring and potentially even in the fall…

  • la verdad es necesario que todos los vuelo se puedan reeprogramar para 2021 ,no se sabe como seguira esto y que pasara si las aerolineas vuelan pero los lugares de destino te exijan cuarentena

  • D Anderson says:

    The airlines have been decent and humane in many little ways, like this. I’m interested to see the long-term effects of this pandemic on airlines. Do policies stay more flexible, or revert to the previous state?

  • It is nice to see this change but it will be short-lived. Once the travel activity goes back and people travel more, I guess they will be back to where they were before February 2020. Let’s see how long these good rules last.

    • For some time going forward, the customer should be in the driver’s seat to a degree with airlines, simply because the carriers are in for a long struggle against reduced demand.

  • R FRIEDMAN says:

    These changes in policies help the airlines win PR points with consumers. The cost of the changes are out wayed by the good will they generate.

  • Vikram Upadhyay says:

    Wow, what a wonderful news! I’ve been an American Airlines customer for over 7 years now, and always appreciated their customer-focused offers. Thanks a lot 🙂

  • AA was really helpful with us, as we had flights booked from Australia to Singapore, Cathay first class to NY and then on to SFO, Chicago to Geneva in business class and then back in Etihad apartments, but for January. Australia won’t be open so AA let us cancel with full refund of taxes and points without charge. Very kind indeed

  • es una muy buena noticia. AA pone como prioridad el foco en el cliente!!

  • The policy for automatic refund applies only to itineraries with one passenger and the person on the AA account travelling. However, does the no reinstatement fee apply to ALL tickets canceled at least 60 days in advance, you just have to request the miles to be reinstated otherwise?

    • JT Genter says:

      That’s correct. Historically, all AAdvantage members needed to call AA to request that miles were reinstated after cancelling an award. Now AA is trying to save us some time by automating some of these refunds. I’m not quite sure why they can’t automatically refund the miles in the case where there are multiple passengers, but that’s not included (yet). So, yes, there is no fee if you cancel or change 60 days out (for awards ticketed starting July 1), but you will need to call to request a refund of the miles.

  • mmortal03 says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if they extend it again, past July 1st, given the upswing in cases in many states. Fortunately, AwardWallet is keeping tabs on all of this.

  • I wonder if they’ll keep extending it. Also would they consider refunding tickets? What if we get to the 1 year mark and this is still going on?

    Also we were supposed to take a flight in March for spring break, but we cancelled it proactively. I found out that they actually cancelled our return leg. I wonder if I left the flight open would we have received a refund? The only thing is we wouldn’t have flown the outbound flight.

  • Does it apply to one world partner airlines using aa miles on “Fee Waivers on Award Tickets”? or it only applies to american airline flights?

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