American has eliminated the $75 close-in fee on award tickets effective immediately.
Delta and United previously did that and proved that we should always “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”
I wrote in April that United’s elimination of the close-in fee was devastating news. They got rid of them in November and things looked OK at first, but just a day later they started charging a close-in mileage surcharge of up to 7,000 miles per round-trip. And that surcharge even applies to cardholders and elites that weren’t previously subject to a close-in fee.
As it is, American has been blocking close-in saver award space on many routes within 2 weeks of departure:
American has also been pushing people to use miles to book web specials, which are rates that follow the revenue price of a ticket. The standard award search takes you to the web special interface and you have to use the advance search option on the desktop site to access the old award calendar.
I’d say this news doesn’t bode well for the future. If fees go down then something else will have to give.
HT: Leon F.