While airlines have become much more flexible about ticket changes over the course of the pandemic, name changes have always been more restrictive.
I used to have an Airtran corporate account that had free name changes and it was awesome to be able to buy a cheap ticket on sale and be able to use it for anyone. JetBlue used to allow name changes for a small fee and United has allowed me as a Global Services member to make a free name change when needed, but airlines don’t generally want to be in the business of competing with their customers in selling tickets.
With current travel voucher policies, it has been possible to cancel tickets from airlines like Alaska, American, JetBlue, and United and then use those funds for someone else. But you still haven’t been able to give an existing ticket to someone else without paying the difference in fare.
However American is in the process of switching over from flight credits to trip credits. With that switch, you can combine credits from multiple cancelled flights and use the credits for anyone.
As part of that, American is even allowing AAdvantage members to make one free name change on changeable paid or award tickets, as long as the recipient is also an AAdvantage member. You can join AAdvantage before making a change in order to take advantage of this policy. Only one name change is allowed.
You can make name changes for free through 1/31/22. Changes can’t be made on non-changeable basic economy tickets, but if you’re on a changeable basic economy ticket such as a flight booked before 4/1 or a flight originating from the Eastern Hemisphere then you can make a free name change.
Will you take advantage of a free name change on an American ticket?