All About American Airlines Trip Credits

American Airlines has four kinds of travel credit that a customer may have as stored value towards future travel.

The different payment methods American Airlines has, and the rules for each, can be complicated. Last summer American largely replaced ‘flight vouchers’ with ‘trip credits’.

Fortunately last fall I shared a chart that breaks down the rules for flight vouchers, flight credits, trip credits, and gift cards.

Here are greater details on how trip credits work.

And here’s what American is working on to improve the usability of trip credits:

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, 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 »

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  1. It’s been a nightmare trying to use mine. This is very helpful. Thanks, Gary

  2. Hey, AA moved my daughters inbound flight back to Seoul up by 24 hours. (Cutting short my time with the grand-babies) Any compensation appropriate or likely for the robbed day?

  3. There’s also another type, specific to AA Vacations:

    Future Travel credit (FTC). This is for a customer-initiated cancellation where Pre-Departure Protection (PDP) has not been purchased. This latter gets a full refund less the PDP fee.

    For the FTC, they issue a new Vacation itinerary number. Often the email you get doesn’t show the amount (so it’s good to keep track of the details). Requires calling to book a new vacation package, indicating to the agent the booking number for the FTC.

    I believe it’s a year from initial flight date, but I’ve never let one last that long, so not completely sure…especially in the days of Covid when rules are very fluid.


  4. Do not ever try and combine flight credits to book a new AA itinerary… Especially if one of the fl credits is intl. They have a twisted formula for what you may combine.

  5. Here’s hoping they are working to make flight credits actually usable. I tried to book a flight for late August using a flight credit, and the website applied the credit but wouldn’t allow me to actually complete the process and ticket the flight. And with a four-hour wait time to talk to a representative, calling to book the flight wasn’t practical. I gave up, and the flight credit is still sitting in my AAdvantage wallet unused.

    Their IT leaves a lot to be desired.

  6. The frustrating thing for me is that only the passenger ticketed can use the credit. For example last Christmas my family was supposed to fly to visit my wife’s family. My daughter ended up not going because she started having seizures and has been told not to fly. Then my son ended up not being able to go. So I have flight credits for both of them, one that my daughter can’t use but even though I paid for the ticket only she can use it. So AA will make $600 off of us.

  7. AA is the worst airlines I have ever used. Not only would they not credit me last year during covid, when I cancelled a flight, they made over $300.00 off me last year. They made another $600.00 off me this year. They are definitely my very last choice for flying.

  8. What about a flight credit aal canceled my wife to Philippines because of COVID-19 the insurance wouldn’t reimburse me either…. Can the credit be used for A new flight

  9. They screwed me twice, one time they canceled my flight from Miami,and I had to drive home to Connecticut with my wife and three small children. This August coming from Aruba they sent a plane with no brakes to get us off the island. Don’t find out until we got to Charlotte when the pliot tells us Don’t mind the fire trucks on the run way, we just don’t have any brakes. Then they canceled our flight to Hartford because they sold our tickets to someone else. So you will never see me on aa every again. They don’t care about safety they just want your money.

  10. We had “trip credits” for my wife and myself, but when I got to the payment page, besides credit cards, etc., it only had a clickable link to use “FLIGHT credits”. If I put our TRIP credit numbers in through that link, it gave me an error and told me to go back and select “TRIP credits”. Tried it several times. Put the reservation on hold & called cust. service (no wait @ 10:30 pm, yay!). Rep said there should have been the two options right beside each other, but she had heard of problems with it. When I retrieved the hold, to give her the info, NEITHER link appeared in the payment options. Rep had to finish entering credits and card payment for balance. Gave a weirdly allocated set of credits on the confirmation, but amounts worked out.

  11. My flight credit begins with 0012 but American Airlines says I need a number tht begins with 0015

  12. Hopefully someone can answer this. We had to cancel an expensive flight and received a flight credit. We subsequently purchased a non-cancellable cheaper ticket and received the balance as a trip credit. It now looks like making that later/cheaper flight will be impossible. I know we will lose the money on this new flight. Will cancelling the flight effect our flight credit at all? My wife thought she heard the agent say that the flight had to be taken to use the later trip credit, but I can’t find evidence of this. Would it help if we were no-shows instead? Would it help if we had already bought a future flight with that unused credit before we cancel this upcoming flight. Appreciate any info on this.

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