Advertiser Disclosure

american international change fees

American Eliminates Close-In Booking Fees on AAdvantage Awards

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. For more information check out our Advertising Disclosure.

American Airlines has eliminated the $75 fee on award tickets booked within 21 days of departure, the last of the major U.S. carriers to do so.

American has long levied this surcharge on close-in tickets booked with American AAdvantage miles, calling it an “award processing fee.” Whether you book a domestic American flight or a flight on Japan Airlines, it was an unavoidable part of last-minute bookings unless you had top-tier status with the airline.

Until now. The Points Guy reports that American has removed this additional surcharge for late award bookings, leaving just the standard award taxes and fees you pay on any ticket booked with miles.


american airlines award pricing
Before removing these fees, even these simple domestic flights would have cost $86.20 in fees


American confirmed the change, saying the airline is “always looking for ways to make AAdvantage award redemption easier for our customers, and this update offers more flexibility when booking award travel and requesting mileage upgrades.”

But is this the whole story? That remains to be seen. And recent history with United may suggest another shoe could drop.

United proudly announced that it would get rid of these same fees last year as it transitioned to a dynamic award pricing model. In truth, United's new pricing model meant those fees just took a different format – rather than tacking on a cash fee, United charges more miles for last-minute bookings. United even adds a mileage penalty to late bookings on partner airlines.

Delta also eliminated these fees years ago. But Delta is notorious for doing the same, charging often exorbitant rates when booking with SkyMiles within two or three weeks of departure.

So while this may be a win for using your American Airlines' miles on last-minute travel, it may be a very short-lived victory.


Bottom Line

If this is indeed the end of the story, bravo to American Airlines for doing something that makes using AAdvantage miles more valuable.

But airlines rarely do things because they're truly good for consumers. So don't be surprised eliminating close-in booking fees is just a precursor to bad news.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

1 Responses

  • I’m so grateful for this article. I literally purchased an AA flight with points yesterday and was charged the $75. Since I was within the 24hr cancellation window, I cancelled the flight to get refunded the $75 and re-booked the flight. Excited to have more money to spend on my trip or on pet hotel!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Free Flight Alerts

Cheap international and domestic flight deal email alerts

Get Cheap Flight Alerts