It was back in January that I started looking for flights for our trip to Japan. I originally thought we’d fly through Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, but I put off that idea because of the protests happening at the time (and that turned out to be a good decision.) I still wanted to try using my American Airlines miles for a ticket because I had plenty of them and flights to Asia seemed to be a great opportunity.
On my first search, I found two business class tickets from Orlando to Tokyo (via Dallas) on the exact date we wanted for 60,000 miles each. Not wanting to lose out, I booked them right away. I was hoping that possibly flights on JAL from Dallas to Tokyo would open up and I could change the reservation but I was happy with the redemption.
As the days, weeks and months crawl on, the trip looks more and more in doubt, possibly to be rescheduled for 2021. Until recently, American Airlines policy for no-fee cancellations for award tickets only went for flights up until September 30th. Even if I wanted to cancel the tickets, I’d have to pay the redeposit fee which was something I didn’t want to do.
American Airlines recently updated its policy and now all award flights booked before June 30th will be eligible for no-fee cancellation regardless of the date of travel. Now that I can cancel the flights if I want and get all of my miles back, there are two reasons I don’t want to cancel the flight.
I’d Need To Call To Get My Miles Back
While American will let you cancel your flight online, to get your miles credited back to your account always has required a phone call. The last thing I want to do right now is to call an airline. Apparently, American knows this as well because they put this alert on my reservation.
Canceling your reservation?
You can cancel your trip online, and your miles will be safe. There’s no need to call right now. When you’re ready to travel again, or simply want your miles back, you can contact us.
If you meet specific criteria, American’s systems will automatically recredit your miles to your account, but there are several requirements.
- The reservation is for an Executive Platinum member traveling as a single passenger.
- The traveler and the AAdvantage® member whose miles were redeemed are the same.
- Travel is on American Airlines flights only.
- The ticket was purchased directly with American in the U.S. or via our U.S. website.
- Travel for any portion of the trip has not begun.
- No changes have been made to the trip since the ticket was issued.
Even with all of that, refunds for the purchase of ancillary products such as seats, pre-paid bags or priority boarding still need to be requested separately.
Cancelling The Flight Means The Trip Is Really Done
While I know it’s unrealistic to think that somehow travel to Japan this November will be back to normal, I still hoped it might happen. If it did, we could still go on the trip I’d been planning for over a year and a half.
International travel will most likely be allowed but who knows what will be happening at the time. For a big trip like this, we’re willing to wait and hope that the experience we’re going to get will be better than if we travel now, or five months from now.
I hate to have to put this trip off, again. I know it’s the right thing to do for us but it’s still not a pleasant idea to think about.
Fortunately, there’s no rush for me to cancel the flight. American Airlines will let me cancel at any time up until the departure of the first flight. I can wait until the hold times to speak with a representative is measured in minutes instead of hours. Maybe American will even improve its website where I can cancel and get my miles back online.
Thinking about it, there’s a better chance of us going on the trip than that actually happening.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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Dude….hold time is non-existant at the moment. Just call.
When the policy change happen? I haven’t found any documentation of it. I have tickets booked after 9/30 as well, and am waiting to cancel
I was able to cancel with this email firstname.lastname@example.org, no problem, got my miles back in a few hours
Have you confirmed with AA that for award tickets booked prior to June 30th can be cancelled for free regardless of travel date? When I read their confusing “flexibility” policy, it seemed like award tickets booked before July 1st will be the current reinstatement fee of $150, after July 1st will follow the new $0 fee if cancelled 60 days prior to the flight.
YOu have to look at the COVID-19 changes page, not the regular charges page.
I called AA today twice to try and cancel my award flights going to HK in November but both reps said that waiver is only good for flights until Sept 30. .
AA’s webpage still says award tickets booked before June 30th will not have any fees. it might just be a case of HUCA until you get a rep who knows the policy or just canceling online and then calling to redeposit the miles.
A couple of weeks ago I called the Platinum desk to have the miles from a previously-cancelled reservation reinstated to my account, I expected a long on-hold wait followed by a difficult conversation with an un-helpful agent.
I was wrong — an agent quickly picked up and did the move without a hint of unpleasantness. The miles were moved within half an hour…maybe instantaneously, I don’t know.
Please confirm if this is true! I don’t see this change on the AA website?
American hasn’t updated the page about normal cancellation fees.
You have to look at the COVID-19 changes page.
Call first thing in the morning. I have had great luck with virtually no hold time.