American Airlines Extends Award Change and Cancellation Fee Waiver

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Update 11/10/2020: American Airlines eliminated all award ticketing and redeposit fees. That supersedes the policy noted in the post below.
Update 9/3/2020: American Airlines extended the waiver of change fees on awards to all awards ticketed by December 31, 2020 for any future travel date. This post has been updated to reflect these changes.

American Airlines just adjusted its award cancellation policy for the better. Now, members can cancel and refund award flights booked by December 31, 2020 without fees. After that, award flights within North America won't be subject to change/cancellation fees.

Fee Waivers on AAdvantage Award Tickets

Here's American Airlines' extended policy:

  • For award reservations made anytime before December 31, 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 January 1, 2021, change and reinstatement fees will be waived if you’re traveling within the U.S. or between the U.S. and
    • Canada
    • Mexico
    • Caribbean
    • Puerto Rico
    • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • For long-haul international awards ticketed on or after January 1, 2021, 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 were initially several restrictions to this new policy. But now, most members should be able to get a refund without having to call American Airlines.

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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 well into 2021 without having to worry about cancellation fees if we can't end up traveling.

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Comments

  • Avatar

    Given that the situation is still ongoing, is there any chance of this being extended again beyond December 31, 2020?

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    question about INTERNATIONAL AWARD bookings…..

    YOU STATED that for American Air…….. FF award reservations made anytime before September 8, 2020, American Airlines will waive the award reinstatement or change fees. This is regardless of the date of travel.

    Does this WAIVE RULE APPLY to BOTH US domestic and INTERNATIONAL award tickets booked before Sept. 8th? I see nothing on the Amer Air website that excludes international award tickets.
    Thanks. Richard

  • Avatar

    I think we are needing more flexibility. Covid 19 all around the world and country restrictions are a big issue . We don’t really know when will be safe to travel again for leisure porpoise. Plus many countries are forcing a 14 days quarantine

  • Avatar

    the details of the waiver state the ticket can be changed multiple times (saleslink.aa.com) and with no fare difference if only date/time changes. Has anyone changed multiple times or changed to a different date without being charged the fare difference?

  • Avatar

    Well done. Thank you AA! in my opinion the best miles program on market.

  • Avatar

    These changes are positive, but i wish they weren’t temporary.

  • Avatar

    Very good news.
    I hope to remember to book for some destination using AAdvantage miles.
    I would buy cash ticket for almost immediate departures.

  • Avatar

    This is tempting me to make a speculative booking way out into 2021. I wonder what proportion of such trips are taking advantage (no pun intended) of the flexibility and making changes/cancellations.

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    K.Antahades says:

    Will AA extend miles expiration as well?

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    This is really good news I just had to cancel my August 1 trip. The event went on however I felt unsafe in going. It’s just one less thing I have to worry about it as far as fees. I wish other Businesses would adopt this policy. Everything is so uncertain right now.

  • Avatar

    If AA can be free to extend my miles would be best, the UA was not expire for them miles.

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    It’s truly Awesome. BTW it’s a good way to extend your miles expire time. Haha, before it’s very hard to call my miles back except you call AA service center.

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    Customer focus, I hope this move remains after pandemic.

  • Avatar

    Oh! That would be great. I had asked AA a couple of months ago if there was a chance of mile expiry being extended since we could not fly to the US from the UK but they said no it would not. So glad they have changed their mind.

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    Thank you AA for making it so flexible to book the tickets in these uncertain times

  • Avatar

    This is good news! I wonder why not extend this policy until the end of the year?

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    That’s great news! Now if only they would extend the expiration dates on points since we can’t use the points during this pandemic.

    • Avatar

      Good news! They are! After originally letting miles start expiring on July 1, AA backtracked and has paused mileage expiration through 12/31/2020.

  • Avatar

    Better late than never is the slogan I am thinking of here.

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    It is good that they are allowing flexibility because otherwise, very few people would book in these uncertain times. However, it’s always important to check the cash price of the tickets first. There might be some very inexpensive tickets and it might be worth buying the ticket cash and using points for the rental car or something like that.

  • Avatar

    For the most part, travel companies have got the extensions right. Some have been more reluctant and difficult than others, but again, they largely have done decent.

  • Avatar

    I’m hoping they’ll extend this to the end of the year given the uncertainty of the times. I’ll be more apt to book if I know change fees are waived.

  • Avatar
    Juan Ignacio says:

    The vast majority of airlines have had very empathetic attitudes when it comes to reroute flights and refunds … the big question is, after the pandemic will they follow the same way?

  • Avatar

    Great news. Gives me more confidence in booking a ticket. Hopefully the US will open up soon for UK travellers.

  • Avatar

    This is what needed to be done. My belief is that many still will face issues. The date is still far too early. Another extension, until at least next year, will be warrented.

  • Avatar

    Given the current state of the pandemic this is good news, although there is no seeing the end anytime soon, and a real vaccine might come out not before Spring 2021. We miss traveling!

  • Avatar

    Cool. That’ll save me a $100. I’m holding an award ticket to South Africa on Qatar and they haven’t canceled the flight yet even though the country is closed to travelers, especially US residents. Thanks for the update!

  • Avatar

    Thank you AA for making life easier for us.
    Now to wait for normality to be able to fly.

  • Avatar

    it’s a good measure, but September 8 is too early. they should maintain conditions throughout 2020.

  • Avatar
    Boris Shkolnik says:

    This is very good deal for Flights ticketed and can be changed or canceled without change fees.
    I received Voucher for 1 year when I returned my ticket.

  • Avatar

    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?

  • Avatar

    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.

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    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.

  • Avatar

    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?

    • Avatar
      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.

  • Avatar

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

  • Avatar

    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

  • Avatar
    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 🙂

  • Avatar
    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.

  • Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      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.

  • Avatar
    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?

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    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

  • Avatar

    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…

  • Avatar

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

    • Avatar

      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.

  • Avatar
    Carlos9424 says:

    Todas las aerolineas deberian pensar en hacerlo

  • Avatar
    Florencia says:

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

  • Avatar

    all airlines should be doing this!

  • Avatar

    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.

  • Avatar

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

  • Avatar
    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.

  • Avatar
    MASSIMILIANA ROSSI says:

    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!!

  • Avatar

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

  • Avatar

    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?

    • Avatar
      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.