American Adds Improved Change Fee Waiver As Well

Filed Under: American

Update: For passengers entitled to a refund due to a schedule change or cancellation, American is now anecdotally offering a 20% bonus voucher if you choose that over a cash refund.

Delta Air Lines was the first airline to do the right thing. I wrote about how United Airlines followed their lead, and it looks like American Airlines has also introduced a similar policy now.

American waiving change fees on previously booked tickets

American has just announced that they’re waiving change fees for all tickets issued before March 1, 2020, for travel between March 10 and April 30, 2020.

Customers who will benefit from this policy can rebook for travel through December 31, 2020, or within 12 months of the original date of ticket issue, whichever is earlier.

How American’s previous waived change fee policy worked

Prior to this announcement, US carriers have been using waived change fees as a sales technique. They’ve only applied this on newly booked tickets as a way of boosting bookings, rather than applying it to those with previously issued tickets.

Arguably those with previously booked tickets need the help most, given that many of them are traveling right now, and dealing with a lot of uncertainty. But of course being kind to those who already purchased tickets doesn’t do much for airlines, as they see it…

In the case of American, they’ve previously been waiving change fees for all tickets booked between March 1 and March 31, 2020. This has applied to all fare types, and has allowed customers to rebook on other flights within 12 months.

With this new policy even tickets booked before March 1 are covered, assuming you travel by April 30, 2020 (though I imagine that date has the potential to be extended, assuming Delta extends it).

Bottom line

At this point American, Delta, and United, are all waiving change fees on tickets booked prior to March, assuming travel is scheduled through the end of April. I imagine that has the potential to be extended. Beyond that, tickets booked in March are eligible for free changes, even if you’re traveling after April.

Now the policy is what it should have been all along, in my opinion…

I imagine we will see even more waivers soon, given the new US travel ban on Europe.

  1. Is anybody waiving miles reinstatement fees on award tickets within the same date ranges covered by tickets purchased with cash? I can’t get an answer out of AA via social media and the information that hit their website last night isn’t clear on where award tickets stand. To be honest, I’m going to fly soon no matter what – I’m just fishing for a more favorable itinerary and/or a better deal.

  2. I just got fees waived for award tickets booked last year to go to Japan.They waived award redeposit fees with no issues.

  3. Why AA and United need a leadership team? Just add an intern to copy and paste whatever Delta does. No need for a CEO, COO, Board and all those highly paid people that do absolutely nothing other than wait for Delta to make a decision and then follow them.

  4. This leaves Alaska and JetBlue as the remaining holdouts. Let’s see how long it lasts as I personally have ticket with Alaska this weekend that I have purchased but don’t plan to fly anymore due to event cancellation in Seattle.

  5. I booked some flights for April with AA through AMEX Travel prior to March 1st. Would AMEX Travel levy a change fee if I choose to rebook those AA flights due to this waiver?

  6. @Lucky don’t be like the Points Guy and never link off your site. I’d really like to read through this new policy but now have to go google it or search for it on the American site. It might help your time on site but I’d be willing to guess you already have a low bounce rate.

    Just some food for thought to make your site a better experience for your readers.

  7. “How United’s previous waived change fee policy worked”

    Not trying to be one of those nitpicky readers, but is this a mistake or am I tired from Daylight Savings Time?

  8. @ Lucky I have a one-way segment SYD – HND at the end of March on ANA booked with Lifemiles; I’ll be connecting onto the final leg of an ANA RTW HND – JFK (both in J). I want to change the dates to avoid overnighting in Tokyo, but Avianca won’t waive the change fee (RTW changes are free). I’ve called multiple times and no one seems to be able to manual override. Any hope for an expanded change waivers for a non-US based airline? Any advice on getting this approved (and saving $150)? Thanks

  9. @Lucky – Any idea if the travel has to be completed by April 30? My friend leaves at the end of April and doesn’t return til early May. Would this scenario be covered for an AA refund? (Ticket was booked a while back)

  10. I have an award flight March 17 to cancel. The “new” change / cancellation policy is clear as much. I will call in a few days to cancel and see if the the $150 fee is or isn’t collected. I have another domestic flight in mid June to book. Depending on the situation I may or may not travel. The flexibility is good if it works as expected (not clear on the intention).

  11. Alaska losing out. I have to book a ticket today. Alaska schedule is best for route but given the uncertainty, and the lack of fee waivers on AS, I’ll look elsewhere.

  12. AA: all tickets booked no change fee
    Also AA: oh you have to pay mileage reinstatement and rebook, even if changing dates.

    Getting super frustrated as I am scheduled to leave for Rome 4/2.. so at this point just waiting for them to cancel my flights so that I can get the points back and get refunded the MCE seats I paid $250 for.

  13. I recently had to deal with canceling flights on Delta and Alaska and realized that not all change fee waivers are created equal. I don’t know how United and AA works, but with delta, if you cancel a flight now, they’ll issue you a travel credit that can only be used for the passengers on the original reservation, much like how Southwest works. While on Alaska, they issue you a credit that goes into your wallet and can be used on any flights you book for anyone you want. Pretty big distinction in my opinion.

  14. This is a very misleading and poorly written sentence: “With this new policy even tickets booked before March 1 are covered, assuming you travel by April 30, 2020”

    Makes it sound like you have to reschedule the ticket to travel by April 30, 2020. That’s not the case. The waiver is covering tickets that are for scheduled travel up to April 30, 2020.

  15. I had a situation this past Friday where (due to an AA error canceling a flight segment on Etihad), I was had to fork over another 75,000 points for my wife and I to fly back from South Africa to SFO. I’ve been dealing with AA Customer Relations and not getting anywhere.

  16. I was supposed to (and was still planning to) fly to Milan and drive up to the Mountains near Modena…
    What am I missing? Emirates and Alitalia still offering flights to Milan with no warnings and no explanation as to what happens if you were to land in Milan right now.
    I am following the Italian Gov’t’s recommended hold until April.

  17. Anyone have to deal with partner tickets yet. I have an Emirates ticket booked with AA miles for an event that was at the end of March, now postponed to December. Do I call AA, Emirates, or what?

  18. I have had a different experience with both AA and Delta. I contacted Delta for a ticket purchased 2/27/20 for travel 3/11/20 and Delta refused to waive the change fee. Their web site even says they will waive it (see below). And on AA, someone I was traveling with wanted to cancel a flight booked early February 2020 for travel 3/12/20 and they wouldn’t waive the change fee. It seems like airlines are applying the change fees VERY inconsistently.

    To ease customers who are uncertain about upcoming travel, we are now waiving change fees for:

    Customers traveling both international and domestic through April 30 if the ticket was issued on or before March 9. (updated March 9)
    Customers purchasing flights between March 1-31.

  19. Lucky, you should also cover how Emirates is being so difficult in getting refunds out for people affected due to the travel ban (Italy at the moment). They’re only allowing change fee waiver with fare difference need to be covered by the traveler. Very awful sigh

  20. @ Simon Schus:

    My own experience with Finnair via AMEX has been flawless, with AMEX confirming that they were waiving their $39 fee as long as Finnair waved their own fee. And they did exactly as they said.

    Long rebooking day(s), with Finnair being not only decent but extremely proactive, AA behaving better than usual and BA revealing themselves to be absolute S**T..

    While I do not see how BA can maintain their position in the face of more and more airlines waiving the change fees for bookings made before March, they haven’t moved by one inch and seem intent on being die-hards till the end. Time will tell.

  21. @Simon @Pierre:

    I just got a full credit for AA flight booked before March 1 through Amex Travel. In my experience, you can usually skip Amex Travel and just call AA directly for most things, and in this case, I called AA directly and was given credit good for use before Dec. 31 (for a flight booked before 3/1) and use within 1 year of original date (for flight booked after 3/1).

  22. I booked a 5k aa miles ticket lax to akl last October. I hope I’ll be able to change the date of the flight rather that redepositing the miles back into my account.

  23. On behalf of our 23,000 crewmembers at JetBlue, I want to thank you for flying with us. The fact that you trust JetBlue with your travel inspires us to deliver the signature JetBlue experience that has been our calling card for two decades.

    I want to personally let you know that safety—your safety—is, and always will be, job one at our airline. Not only is safety built into the DNA of everything we are as a company, but that priority bears repeating in the face of any challenge, including the concerns posed by coronavirus (COVID-19). At JetBlue, we have worked for years to ensure the safety of our crewmembers and customers. Since January, our pandemic response team has been activated to ensure we are working closely with government agencies, our own infectious disease medical staff, and in coordination across the entire JetBlue family to support our customers during their travels. To that end, I want to share some of the steps we are taking.
    We were the first U.S. airline to suspend our change/cancel fees across all fare types in all markets so that you, our valued customers, could book with confidence should your travel plans change. Currently, all change and cancel fees for travel through 4/30/20 are waived, regardless of when you purchased your ticket. And, there are no change or cancel fees on new flights booked through 3/31/20 for travel until 9/8/20. Our customer support team is ready to support you with adjustments if you need assistance.
    We know how important cleanliness is during these times. To offer you peace of mind, we have increased aircraft cleaning each night, including the walls, windows, window shades, galleys, lavatories and floors. We are applying disinfectant that is effective against coronavirus across aircraft interiors including the places customers touch most – the tray tables, seat covers, armrests and seatbelts.
    All of our aircraft are equipped with hospital-grade high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. All recirculated air is passed through these filters before re-entering the cabin or being mixed with fresh air. All of the air in the cabin is, on average, completely changed every three minutes.
    We have updated our inflight service standards. We’ve increased the availability of sanitizing wipes on board, temporarily suspended hot towel service, and you can expect to see our inflight crewmembers wearing medical-grade gloves during the service delivery to further limit contact points.
    In our airports, we are disinfecting common surfaces more frequently and we are making hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes widely available throughout our terminals. We are encouraging customers to self-scan boarding passes – you can download a mobile boarding pass on the JetBlue app.
    As of today, authorities have not announced travel restrictions to any destinations where we fly. Some countries, including the U.S., have restrictions in place for customers who have recently been to certain international destinations. Please monitor these closely.

    You can always find our latest coronavirus information on our blog. You can also learn more about the coronavirus and specific information for travelers on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

    Your confidence in JetBlue inspires us to deliver the safe JetBlue experience you’ve always known. We at JetBlue never take for granted your travel decisions and look forward to welcoming you on board soon.


    Joanna Geraghty

  24. I don’t see this new policy on AA website. I actually spoke to an agent yesterday (3/10) at around 5 pm about my upcoming trip and she did not mention anything about waived fees. As far as she was concerned the original terms applied: $400 fee for any changes, $500 cancellation. This is for the flight to KL with a few days stopover in Tokyo on 3/27.

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