On the surface this probably sounds like a good thing, though it might not actually be…
Close-in award ticketing fees & revenue based award charts
Delta SkyMiles has been offering revenue based award pricing for years. This means that the price of an award ticket is largely correlated to how much a ticket would cost if paying cash.
Historically we’ve seen airlines charge a $75 close-in ticketing fee for award tickets booked within 21 days of departure. This isn’t entirely rational, which is to say that you’d think airlines would actually want to encourage people to redeem last minute, since those seats are most likely to otherwise go out empty. Then again, airline fee structures have never been rational.
Delta SkyMiles, however, hasn’t charged that $75 close-in ticketing fee. That’s because Delta’s frequent flyer program is basically a revenue based program, and the intention is that award prices closely mirror revenue rates, with no additional fees needed.
We also know that United MileagePlus is eliminating close-in ticketing fees as of November 15, 2019.
American to eliminate close-in award fees
The always reliable @xJonNYC now notes that American is expected to eliminate close-in award ticketing fees soon. We don’t have an exact timeline yet, but apparently this is in the works.
AA will be removing the close in booking fee.
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) July 27, 2019
On the surface this good news, though:
- This certainly suggests that American AAdvantage will be moving even more closely towards a revenue based program, as this is likely to be part of larger changes
- This was one benefit of having any elite status (since that fee was waived), though that will be yet another thing that is eliminated as an elite perk
So while I’m a fan of eliminating close-in ticketing fees, I’m not a fan of the other changes that potentially accompany this.
For now we’ll have to just mark this as something to keep an eye on, though I’ll be curious how this progresses.
How do you feel about American eliminating close-in award ticketing fees?