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American Changes Reinstatement Fees on Award Tickets, Mileage Expiration for Minors

American Changes Reinstatement Fees on Award Tickets, Mileage Expiration for Minors
Joe Cortez

Depending on how far ahead flyers change or cancel award flights on American, they may not have to pay mileage reinstatement fees. The carrier quietly made the change to the AAdvantage program on July 1, 2020, ending redeposit fees for reservations changed 60 days or more before travel, while also changing mileage expiration dates for minors. 

American AAdvantage is ending the practice of charging flight award change or mileage reinstatement fees, if flyers make changes well in advance. In a set of website updates, the Fort Worth-based airline quietly implemented the new policy, while changing the expiration date on miles collected by minors.

$0 Flight Award Change or Mileage Reinstatement Fees for Changes 60 days or More Before Travel

The change affects all AAdvantage mileage bookings after July 1, 2020. When flyers cancel or change an eligible award trip, miles will be deposited back into their AAdvantage account within 48 hours.

In order to qualify, the flyer must meet certain criteria. First, the flights must be on American aircraft only – travel with partners including Alaska Airlines or British Airways don’t count for the new policy. The ticket must be booked with American in the Untied States, or using the United States version of the website.

Flyers must not begin any portion of their award ticket travels, and no other changes must be made since the original booking. Refunds for anything else, including seat choices, luggage or priority boarding must be requested separately.

If flyers qualify and make changes or cancellations at least 60 days before their scheduled trip, they will pay $0 flight award reinstatement fees, even if they don’t have elite status. But for changes made within 60 days of their flight, the price could change based on their status level:

The new American AAdvantage flight award change / reinstatement fee table. Courtesy: American Airlines

The new American AAdvantage flight award change / reinstatement fee table. Courtesy: American Airlines

In addition, flight award changes and reinstatement fees are also being waived if flyers decide to spend more miles to upgrade to a higher cabin. Executive Platinum members will also qualify for $0 award change or reinstatement fees when using miles from their account, including Web Special awards.

Although the changes apply to mileage reinstatement, fees may apply to each award ticket changed through the website. The fees may vary based on the flyer’s elite status and how far ahead they request the change.

Mileage Expiration Dates Waived for Flyers Under 21

In addition to the changes, American is also waiving expiration dates for flyers under 21. With their new policy, the 18-month account activity requirement will not apply until after their 21st birthday. Any underage flyers who had their miles expire may request a reinstatement from the airline. Because this is a new policy, some FlyerTalkers have not had their children’s accounts updated to the new expiration dates.

The changes come as American potentially looks to raise money from their frequent flyer program. In a June 2020 statement, the airline claims AAdvantage could be worth upwards of $30 billion.

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. avatexrs

    July 3, 2020 at 11:54 am

    An award with a portion on a partner airline is not eligible for automatic restatement of miles, but is it still be eligible for a no charge reinstatement of miles via the phone, etc?

  2. javabytes

    July 3, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Wow. Talk about 1) old news and 2) a flawed interpretation of the policy that leads this article to the edge of misinformation.

    This was announced months ago, at the same time AA rolled out its COVID-19 response including elite status extension.

    Also, awards involving partner flights are still governed by the same schedule of fees – they’re just not eligible for automatic reinstatement of miles after you cancel online, you have to call.

  3. mrkymark

    July 5, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Agree, this is a poorly written article that introduces confusion and misinterpretation of rules. JavaBytes clarified what the article should say. I’m encouraging the author to please amend the article with better information.

  4. irishguy28

    July 6, 2020 at 2:13 am

    The ticket must be booked with American in the Untied States. Says it all, really!

  5. Krysia

    July 7, 2020 at 8:11 am

    For the most part this is AA once again taking things away. The beauty of the program was the ability to make last minute flight changes, date changes etc for free as long as origin and destination remain the same. The ability to change from a bad connecting flight to a non stop that became available at the last minute…does AA care to keep any loyal members?

  6. Jostgarden

    July 7, 2020 at 11:27 am

    And herein lies the rub: “But for changes made within 60 days of their flight, the price could change based on their status level:”
    In other words, old news.

  7. David S Parker

    July 7, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t understand the impact of this change on a common use of my Advantage Ticket. The ability to change the date if there is NO charge if the flight departure and arrival cities. I don’t understand from this article whether a simple date change will require this 90-day rule. Does anyone know?
    Thanks

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