American AAdvantage Eliminating Award Change & Redeposit Fees

Filed Under: American, Awards

Some fantastic changes have just been announced to the American AAdvantage program.

AAdvantage eliminating award redeposit fees

As of November 11, 2020, American AAdvantage is eliminating all change and redeposit fees for mileage awards. In other words, if you need to cancel an award ticket and want your miles put back into your account, or if you want to change your ticket, you’ll no longer pay a fee:

  • This applies to award tickets globally on American, as well as on partner airlines
  • If you redeposit award tickets online then miles will typically be put back instantly, while it can take a few days if done by phone
  • You can redeposit your ticket up to departure of your first flight; partially used tickets can’t be redeposited
  • There’s no end date for this policy, so this is as permanent as anything in the airline industry gets

This is an awesome change, and the third (positive) change we’re seeing to AAdvantage award fees this year:

Now we’re getting it all. There will be no change or redeposit fees of any kind on AAdvantage award tickets.

Now, arguably this takes away a perk from Executive Platinum status, in the sense that:

  • You no longer have to be Executive Platinum to get waived award redeposit fees
  • There may be more people speculatively booking award tickets since there’s no downside to doing so

This is no doubt a positive change, though I did at least want to acknowledge that Executive Platinum members don’t gain anything here (though those members do get a choice of new benefits starting in 2021).

AAdvantage is eliminating change & redeposit fees on all awards

AAdvantage eliminating phone ticketing fees

Historically American has charged a fee for booking AAdvantage award tickets by phone, which could be as much as $40. As of November 11, 2020, American will no longer charge a phone service fee for AAdvantage awards.

The reality is that there were few situations where this should have been charged anyway, since the fee wasn’t supposed to apply for partners where you couldn’t book online. However, it’s still nice to have this fully eliminated.

AAdvantage has eliminated phone ticketing fees for awards

AAdvantage miles don’t expire until June 2021

Ordinarily, AAdvantage miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. However, like many airlines, American has paused the expiration of miles. This feature has now been extended — AAdvantage miles won’t expire until June 30, 2021, at the earliest.

AAdvantage miles won’t expire until at least June 2021

Bottom line

American AAdvantage is becoming the first global loyalty program I can think of that has completely waived all award change and redeposit fees for a non-finite period of time (I hate the word “permanent,” but this is as close to that as it gets).

This is a great development for AAdvantage members, which should give travelers a lot more flexibility to lock in award tickets during these uncertain times.

What do you make of American’s newly waived AAdvantage award fees?

Comments
  1. @ Ben – Do you see this potentially being an issue as you mentioned that people might speculatively book award flights and thus lowering the available award space?

  2. @ Ben — Let’s see, SWU’s are never confirmable, I don’t ever buy an economy ticket that I cannot upgrade immediately, award redeposits are free, and I am already LT Platinum. Why would I bother to pursue higher AA status? Oh right, I wouldn’t. Ditto for United. Ditto for Delta. Ditto for all of them. It’s all one big joke now. It feels good to a) be a free agent and b) stay at home more (although it would be nice to travel right now).

  3. I actually would prefer a small fee, to help with the speculative booking. Will be interesting to see what happens.

  4. It was my favorite perk as an Exec Plat (along with upgrades) … makes me reconsider getting status every year….

  5. Ben-Do you know if the new no fees policy applies to future bookings only, or is applicable award tix already booked?

  6. Yea so for better or worse, better grab any award you might use the first moment you see it, before someone else does. I guess as an upside more seats may re-open closer to travel as people’s plans change and they need to cancel speculative bookings.

  7. @Ben L. – I canceled a web special ticket (intercontinental) and the miles were back in my account within an hour. I have no AA status.

    Excited to see if DL or UA match the change.

  8. Does this include AA Web special awards? The flight I’m Looking at shows 20K miles for web special first but still says a fee will be charged for reinstating miles.

  9. @GoAmtrak You may have not been charged a fee due to the current COVID waiver. I also would like to know if web-special awards can be redeposited without a fee, post-COVID.

  10. I agree devaluation coming – it may already be here. International rewards will be so high that not many people will have enough miles to book. Domestic flights is not an issue.

    I debated whether to make it from PP to EXP this year – just 2K miles short and $2.7K low, but now no reason to.

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