Cancel American AAdvantage Awards Online

Filed Under: American, Awards

The current pandemic has really highlighted how outdated technology is at many airlines, especially for those looking to cancel tickets.

Bad technology is a blessing and curse for airlines

At most airlines getting refunds for cancelled tickets requires a phone call, and getting through to an agent by phone has been a real challenge over the past few months.

For the most part I suspect airlines are happy about their outdated technology, because it greatly limits the refunds that passengers can request. During this pandemic, many airlines have told passengers to only call within a couple of days of their schedules flight, as a way of managing phone wait times.

With airlines like American issuing vouchers for those voluntarily cancelling tickets, I do have to wonder about the logistics of these actually being redeemed, and what hold times will be like when travel resumes. American generally doesn’t let you apply past ticket credits towards future reservations online.

Bad technology is limiting the pace at which tickets can be cancelled

Cancelling AAdvantage awards is now easier

American Airlines first launched this in late April, though only for a limited time. This has now been extended, and is a pretty cool development, if you ask me.

Up until recently you could cancel AAdvantage awards online, but that wouldn’t actually get you miles back — it would just cancel out the flights.

Now American has simplified the refund process for AAdvantage members holding award tickets. Now instead of having to call, miles will automatically be reinstated within 48 hours of cancelling your trip online.

In order to be eligible for this, there are some restrictions to be aware of:

  • The reservation qualifies for a free deposit
  • Travel is on American Airlines flights only
  • The ticket was purchased directly with American through the US version of aa.com
  • Travel for any portion of the trip has not begun
  • No changes have been made to the trip since the ticket was issued

If you don’t meet any of those requirements, you’ll still have to phone up American AAdvantage to deposit a ticket.

This policy only applies for travel on American Airlines

Bottom line

It’s great to see American AAdvantage expand award redeposits through aa.com. If you are looking to cancel an award that’s eligible for a free mileage redeposit, you can now do so on aa.com.

American still has a ways to go when it comes to aa.com technology, including the ability to upgrade online, showing standby and upgrade lists further in advance, fixing the same day change function, and more, but perhaps this isn’t the time to talk about those things.

(Tip of the hat to Zach Griff)

Comments
  1. Would it matter if AA had made a change a month ago and down graded me? I called and they moved me to another time with First class Lax to Jfk.

  2. @ Arthur — You’d have to call to cancel then, since this won’t work for reservations that have been changed since ticketing.

  3. Thanks! I had a trip one way with Delta and the other with AA, both with points. I already cancelled the Delta segment. The miles were immediately returned and the $5.60 fee was already credited. It’s nice to see AA has decided to catch up with Delta.

  4. I understand that if I want to cancel and have my miles reinstated for a reservation on Qatar using Advantage miles that I booked prior to May 31, I have to call. But will the redeposit be free of charge or do I have to pay?

  5. To AA’s credit, I have cancelled two award tickets in the last two weeks and for both calls I had wait times of less than five minutes. The agents were pleasant to work with and my miles we’re back in my account the next day. The best of a bad situation.

  6. Does we know if this works for Economy Web Special award tickets, assuming they meet the above listed eligibility criteria?

  7. does it work for web special fares? (I know the answer is yes for EXP, but how about other members?)

  8. And just like that, the miles have reappeared in my account less than an hour later. Thanks again for the heads up Lucky! Most of their online info still doesn’t mention an immediate points refund, so I wouldn’t have known to hit the cancel button to see the option.

  9. Delta offers cancellation online for awards tickets and appears to be waiving redeposit fees.

    Usually you have to be Platinum or Diamond to get redeposit fees waived. I’m not either of those, and had two flights booked on miles for December (one on Delta metal, one on China Eastern). I was able to cancel them both last week, get all the miles back and zero redeposit fees

  10. Seriously I don’t understand why they don’t make fixes to technology permanently. This would in theory save them lots of manual labor and let agents focus on higher value work.

  11. @Lucky

    “For that matter, it would be nice if they added the ability to …..”

    LOL. You are asking for IT improvements from an airline that just less than a year ago is still issuing paper vouchers that you have to mail in to redeem.

  12. I just cancelled my Cathay Pacific flights LAX – HKG – HYD booked on AA miles for travel date 07/02. Got back 70K miles instantly and got email that the taxes of around $35 will be credited to my CSP card.

  13. Regarding web special, the AA website states:

    You may not make changes to origin, destination or airline for an itinerary that includes a Web Special award. While you can cancel and reinstate your miles, fees may apply

  14. I was looking to take advantage of their flexible miles booking policy for an award booking in July but it looks like if the booking is not for a single traveler, a redeposit fee of $150++ will apply. This is ridiculous…

  15. If I use an e-voucher (from a refund on a previously canceled trip in March) & apply it towards a trip to fly by 9/20 can I then cancel it & get a refund again?

  16. No mention of this amazing development applying to partner awards, yet @Ram Mudunuri claims to have had success with CX. Ditto for fees and taxes refund.

  17. I will give AA credit… had flights SYD to LAX in January 2021 (beyond the present free redeposit time), and I was able to cancel online easily, but miles didn’t redeposit nor fees refunded, but the next day I sent a question to AA through their contact form and requested a redeposit and refund of the fees/taxes, and they did it politely and promptly. Much appreciated.

  18. Thanks for the heads up. I was able to cancel a domestic itinerary booked via a web special award yesterday. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get all the miles reinstated since the return flight was on 10-1. Just checked my account and miles from both segments were reinstated. I did not incur any fees (currently a platinum pro).

  19. Closing the loop from my question yesterday morning – I decided to call AAdvantage Reservations as I wanted to get my seat purchase refunded as well as the miles and taxes I paid on my Economy Web Special award flights. The agent was very helpful and didn’t give me any trouble with the cancellation and refund of the miles and taxes.

    The seat purchase was a slightly different story. At first, the agent told me that these purchases were non-refundable, but I was able to refute that by explaining that AA had changed the schedule of the trip and I no longer had nonstop flights to/from my destination. In this case, the seat purchases are refundable and I was given a document number to enter into prefunds.aa.com for them to process the seat purchase refund. Hope this is helpful to others who may be in a similar situation.

  20. I just cancelled 2 awards online that were scheduled for next month – one a Web Special entirely on AA and one mixed carrier award (AA, Alaska, and JAL). Thought I would have to call in for the second one but to my surprise the miles were automatically reinstated, even though the flight didn’t meet the automatic reinstatement guidelines on their website. Tax refunds also went through automatically for both.

  21. @ Ben — AA still fails at this. Why should it take “up to 48 hours”? Delta redeposits are instantaneous.

  22. Insane that AA hasn’t offered this functionality. I’ve been able to instantly cancel and have miles credited back to my account for years on UA, DL, and KLM. I suppose airlines would prefer to prioritize tech investments that drive revenue rather than cut it, to be this far behind the times really reveals their true character.

  23. The reservation qualifies for a free deposit? What does this mean? Partner awards? Flights dated?

  24. I was on the understanding that one can only cancel award tickets online (with points being redeposited) if the ticket was for 1 passenger only. If there were others flying on the same itinerary, canceling online was not permitted. Has that changed?

  25. I’m no UA defender but instant mileage refunds have long been the norm

    More insane is that you still can’t apply AA SWUs online as far as I can remember (right?)

  26. Lately refunds have become very annoying. With the claim that they are having difficulties with COVID most companies are taking FOREVER to refund purchases that have been returned or reservations that have been canceled. Why can they charge you instantly (as verified by email alerts within seconds) but need 3+ weeks to refund? Not acceptable. In the last couple of months I have had to charge back ca. 10 things (and I have probably only done this 3-6 times in 20 years before). Do they really think they will get away with it? I’ve won every single dispute…

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