Buried in yesterday’s surprising announcement that American would count credit card spending for million miler status, were changes to award ticket change fees.
The bad news is that American is also changing the definition of what constitutes an award change.
American has always allowed free date changes on awards, except for web specials. Now they will consider date changes to be like all other changes, except for changes to a higher cabin on the same flights which will remain free.
The good news is that all changes, including redepositing awards, will be free if done 60 days before departure under the new structure that goes into effect on 6/1. Plus, web specials will be able to be changed as well.
The bad news, aside from the loss of free date changes, is that there will no longer be a discount if you redeposit multiple awards at the same time. Previously it cost $150 to redeposit an award but just $25 to redeposit additional awards. These changes are terrible news for families traveling together on awards tickets as it will now be much more expensive to redeposit awards within 60 days of departure.
While routing changes were previously free, which meant you could switch to a nonstop flight if one opened for mileage availability, that will be now cost extra within 60 days of departure.
It’s worth noting that all awards awards that were issued by 5/31 for travel through 9/30 can be changed or redeposited for free at any time due to coronavirus waivers.
I’m not sure what will happen if your award travel was booked before these changes were announced for travel after 9/30, but the DoT is very clear that airlines must honor the rules as of when the ticket was purchased.
American also announced that starting on 7/1/20, Gold elites will get $300 off an AA vacation, Platinum/Platinum Pro will get $350 off, and Executive Platinums will get $400 off. They can travel through 12/20/21.
Unfortunately the fine print is that you must spend at least $2,500 on round-trip flights+hotels to get those discounts, which will likely make them worthless for most people. When you book through AA vacations you don’t get hotel points or hotel elite recognition or discounts. However, AA vacations does offer discounted business class fares, so there might be some value to be had.
Do you think the AA award changes are positive or negative for you?