American AAdvantage has eliminated close-in booking fees, as first noticed by JT Genter. They used to charge a $75 fee for awards booked within 21 days of departure, waived for all AAdvantage elite frequent flyers. They no longer charge this fee effective today, January 15.
For now that’s good news but our experience with other airlines making a similar move suggests that it doesn’t stay that way.
- When both United and Delta eliminated close-in award booking fees, they began generally charging more miles for those awards.
- In other words, they didn’t actually eliminate the fee, they just changed the currency in which it’s charged.
- And this was a devaluation for elites whose benefits included waiving this fee, since they don’t get the mileage upcharge for close-in bookings waived.
For non-elites whether that’s good or bad depends on the amount of the premium, whether members get better or worse value for their points.
American didn’t send out a press release on this, which suggests that they may have released it into the wild technologically a bit earlier than planned. Perhaps there was going to be an announcement? Perhaps it was going to be announced as part of other larger changes?
Nonetheless, for now at least, enjoy booking awards close to departure that did not – at least yet – get more expensive than they were immediately preceding the change.