Wow: American Airlines Eliminates International Change Fees

Filed Under: American

I’m very impressed — American Airlines is continuing to lead the way when it comes to eliminating fees among US airlines (well, at least if you take Southwest out of the equation).

American eliminates international change fees

While airlines have introduced change fee waivers temporarily due to the pandemic, American Airlines is taking it a step further.

Effective immediately, American Airlines is eliminating change fees for first class, business class, premium economy, and economy class tickets for all long haul international itineraries originating in North and South America. The one exception is basic economy tickets, where this policy doesn’t apply.

With this new policy, American no longer has change fees for any tickets originating in North America, whether paying cash or redeeming miles. That’s incredible.

When passengers take advantage of the no change fee policy, they’ll be able to keep the full value of eligible tickets if they change their travel plans prior to their scheduled travel. Any fare differences will still apply if the flight you change to is more expensive (meanwhile if the flight you change to is less expensive, you’ll get a credit for the difference).

As American’s Chief Revenue Officer, Vasu Raja, describes this move:

“We are committed to making travel easier for our customers who fly on American. By eliminating change fees, we’re giving customers more flexibility no matter when or where they plan to travel.”

American is leading the industry with eliminating fees

American really is leading the industry when it comes to eliminating fees, especially in comparison to Delta and United:

Anyway, for years American wasn’t leading US airlines in anything other than seat density on reconfigured planes, so it’s exciting to see this.

Bottom line

American has now eliminated change fees on long haul international tickets originating in the Americas, with the exception of basic economy tickets. Not only that, but American also recently eliminated all award change and redeposit fees.

This move also makes sense — it’ll likely be many years before borders are just freely open across the board, and if anything it seemed backwards to eliminate change fees on domestic itineraries but not international ones, where there’s even more long-term uncertainty.

I’m thrilled to see this, and here’s to hoping that we continue to see positive changes from the airline.

Are you surprised to see American eliminating change fees on long haul international itineraries?

Comments
  1. I had to change an AA flight a few weeks ago and it was so simple and easy to do. It was a $60 ticket from A to B, and I needed to change it from A to C, I did it all online, it took like 5 minutes, and the $60 was applied towards the cost of my new ticket so all I paid was the difference. This is how easy airfare should be, and it makes me very much inclined to give my business to any airline that allows this.

  2. This seems good until people will speculatively book award tickets, then realize they don’t need it anymore and cancel. We all know that airlines often don’t put inventory back online or at least not for the same (saver) prices.

  3. This is great news. As somebody that is about to become an AA hub hostage (due to relocation), I appreciate any improvements in policies. I would like to see international basic economy discontinued completely though. I don’t have a problem with it for shorter domestic flights, but it just feels like such a gouge for international flights.

  4. Effective immediately, American Airlines is eliminating change fees for first class, business class, premium economy, and economy class tickets for all long haul international itineraries originating in North and South America. The one exception is basic economy tickets, where this policy doesn’t apply.

    With this new policy, American no longer has change fees for any tickets originating in North America, whether paying cash or redeeming miles. That’s incredible.

    these 2 sentences are in complete contrast to one another. i do not understand can someone please clarify for me

    thank you.

  5. Does this apply to tickets already purchased for future dates? I recently purchased a ticket for next summer to Europe… If I have to change it, will the fee still be applied?

  6. @john I think lucky is saying excuding basic fare all other tickets originating in north America are free from change fee application..

  7. Meanwhile Air Canada will not only cancel your flight with a week’s notice – but will also steal your money.

  8. Lucky: remember the YYZ-DPS “mistake” fares you posted earlier this year? ( https://onemileatatime.com/amazing-business-class-fares-bali/ )

    Purchased a pair for February 2021. HKG-DPS has been indefinitely cancelled due to COVID.

    If I simply change the dates, say to September 2021, will this trigger re-pricing? What’s the better strategy, to wait till February then ask them to change the dates till September to avoid the price change to the “normal” fare?

  9. This really devaluates aa.airpass.com.
    The only reason to purchase this product is the lack of penalty for not for changing fares.

  10. hopefully some other airlines implement this policy also, this move from AA is a step-forward. I do hope to see positive changes also but they should be also looking on a possible backdrops on this move.

  11. I’m assuming AA wants to get people to think about International travel for 2021 but have the piece of mind that if border restrictions persist or are re-introduced they won’t be subject to change fees. It will be interesting to see if change fees become a thing of the past. They had to be a huge driver in profit margins for the legacy airlines.

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