American Eliminates Telephone Booking Fees for Awards

Update: American loaded incorrect information onto its website. Telephone booking fees still apply to awards that can be booked on their website.

American has eliminated telephone booking fees for award tickets.

These were already waived for Executive Platinum members and for customers booking awards that couldn’t be booked at AA.com. A year ago American started waiving telephone booking fees for awards you couldn’t book online, following US Airways practice. At the same time they increased their telephone booking fee from $25 to $30 for domestic itineraries and $35 to $40 for international ones.

Meanwhile, the cost to book award tickets at one of four American Airlines travel centers in South Florida and Midtown Manhattan goes up from $35 to $50. The cost of airport ticketing remains the same, along with close-in booking fees and change fees.


American Airlines Boeing 787

American has simply not added partner airlines to their online booking interface in quite some time. More partners aren’t bookable online than are bookable at AA.com. Some partners you even need to ring an international call center to book.

AA.com supports redemptions for only:

Delta has eliminated all telephone booking fees last month — and fees for ticketing at airports and ticket offices (except in some European locations).

These fees used to make sense to push customers towards online booking which is less expensive (airlines used to offer bonus miles for web booking, too!). Now booking online is the default, and complicated itineraries or a limited set of customers uncomfortable with online booking are most of what’s booked in other forms.

This makes Delta more competitive reaching this segment of the market, while it’s no longer necessary to push customers to self-service. (Years ago there used to be this trick to avoid telephone booking fees on awards.)


American Airlines Airbus A321T First Class

It’s nice to see American eliminate telephone booking fees. That makes award booking more friendly, though since they already waived the fees on awards unbookable at AA.com the change is modest. United still charges $25 for telephone award redemptions.

American AAdvantage also still allows 5 day holds on awards, making them the most friendly program amongst US airlines for their redemption process.

(HT: JT Genter)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Leave a Reply

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