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American Airlines

American Airlines Quietly Ends Award Close-In Fees

American Airlines Quietly Ends Award Close-In Fees
Joe Cortez

While American Airlines has made some questionable decisions about their cabins, one of their more recent customer-friendly decisions comes to us from the booking process. In an unannounced change, the carrier put an end to close-in award fees on tickets booked less than 21 days prior to departure.

American Airlines’ “Project Kodiak” has fallen flat with FlyerTalkers and the frequent flying community. However, an unannounced change could bring those flyers back to the Fort Worth-based airline. From their website, American announced the $75 “close-in” fee would not be charged on award tickets starting for those booked after Jan. 15, 2020.

The Quiet Change That Affects Lots of Flyers

Previous to the change, American – like their legacy counterparts – would charge a $75 “close-in” fee for all tickets booked 21 days or less in advance from departure. The fee was charged per ticket, not per itinerary. For a family of four on an award ticket, this meant the flight price would increase by $300.

But as of now, the change means less fees on all award flights, regardless of when they are booked. Other fees, including taxes and fuel surcharges, will still apply to all award tickets.

The Changes Aren’t Retroactive

Although the change is a positive move for American flyers, many are finding out that the changes are not retroactive – even if they booked an award ticket within 21 days of the change. When we reached out to American about the change, their Twitter team responded they would only consider a change if the award tickets were booked around Jan. 15, 2020.

Of course, we weren’t the only ones who were denied the fee change. Many other flyers reaching out to American were told the same thing we were – resulting in a little sadness from what is otherwise good news.

What Comes Up Must Come Down?

While this is a good thing, anyone who follows the major carriers closely can be forgiven for being a little suspicious.  After all, as one FlyerTalker pointed out, good news is sometimes followed by bad. “United Airlines, in a similar move a few months ago, promptly added 3500 miles to each ticket price (after repeatedly reassuring everyone that prices would not change). Elites who had fee waiver in the past now have to pay more and face more competition for award space from general members.”

Another Idea

What would be better than waiving award close-in fees? One idea from the form: “Maybe it’s time for American to have an elite status mileage ticket discount, where Golds get X% off the mileage price, Plats get Y% off and so on. But American seems too cheap to go down that route. Especially in an environment of 5k mile tickets at times.”

 

Still, it can’t hurt to hope. What are your takes on the changes? Let us know your thoughts in the thread with the FlyerTalk on the topic.

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. mikee555

    January 22, 2020 at 5:25 am

    Wow, I actually have lots of miles which I could not use because of the fee. That might change. The AA miles card sounds better now, but I wonder what AA will do to change that. Thanks.

  2. chavala

    January 26, 2020 at 7:05 am

    “the change means less fees”

    Do you mean FEWER fees?

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