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American Airlines

Should This Award Ticket Error Have Been Refunded?

Should This Award Ticket Error Have Been Refunded?
Meg Butler

Here’s the story:

Passenger Andrea Hotaling, an AAdvantage Gold Member, wanted to buy round-trip tickets from Philadelphia to Italy with miles. But the AAdvantage Gold Service agent she spoke to told her that no seats were available for purchase with AAdvantage miles. So Hotaling paid cash.

Three days later, a relative of Hotaling booked the flight using miles. So Hotaling called the agent to ask why they weren’t able to find availability three days earlier.

The agent said that one award ticket was available. So Hotaling asked the agent to cancel the nonrefundable tickets she purchased and she used miles to buy the award ticket. She then e-mailed American Airlines to ask for a refund of $1140 for the canceled airfare.

But American Airlines refused to refund the nonrefundable ticket. They say, nonrefundable is nonrefundable and their contract of carriage clearly states that they don’t issue refunds for nonrefundable tickets except in specific circumstances which don’t include suddenly finding award availability. She’s also not eligible for travel credit for the ticket because she canceled the ticket completely.

Hotaling argues that “The American Airlines agent made the award ticket error and forced me to purchase the ticket.” Furthermore, she says, this wasn’t a case of a change in award availability, this was a mistake on the AAdvantage Gold Service Agent’s part.

Hotaling wrote to Elliott Advocacy, who argues that she doesn’t have much of a case:

At no time, either in verbal or written communication, did any AA personnel mention fluctuations in award ticket availability. During my original call to AAdvantage Gold Service, the agent told me no mileage awards were available from mid-September to the first week of November.

The AAdvantage Gold Service agent’s poor/mistaken/dubious service caused the problem. AA should take responsibility for this error.


But should American Airlines do something for this AAdvantage Gold Member? Let us know in the comments’ section.


[Image Source: American Airlines]

View Comments (8)


  1. milesandmoremiles

    July 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    She took a chance with purchasing tickets versus using miles and now she is having buyers remorse. It’s her own damn fault. How would she be able to prove that the current availabikity was there when she contacted the airline three days prior?

    this is no one’s fault but hers for making foolish decisions.

  2. rstruthe

    July 20, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Of course award availability can change. People cancel or change award tickets all the time due to the great flexibility, which can open seats. I don’t see how she would have a case for a refund. She should have either waited and watched for more availability or saved the points for later!
    And certainly she should not have cancelled the ticket until she confirmed that AA would provide a refund. She could have put the award ticket on hold for 7 days while she worked it out.

  3. flyerCO

    July 20, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    I’m confused cancelling the reservation doesn’t mean can’t use ticket for future booking. In fact one must cancel prior to scheduled departure to be able to do so.

  4. FlyingNone

    July 20, 2018 at 7:48 pm will answer this question thoroughly……No compensation due.

  5. makrom

    July 21, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    She should really have checked whether she will get a refund for her non-refundable tickets before cancelling them.

  6. robbo135

    July 21, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    People need to take perdonal responsibility sometimes, unfortunately courts are awarding frivilous claims these days which means people are always trying yo blame someone else

  7. WebTraveler

    July 22, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    This lady is wasting her time.

  8. Wunk

    July 23, 2018 at 6:49 am

    There was no award availability, so she booked a non-refundable ticket at the time, which has clear rules that it’s non-refundable.
    So not sure why this is even a question.

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