American Extends Flexible Booking Policy, Will Even Allow Name Changes For Business Travel

It’s been clear for months that airlines need to continue waiving change fees in order to convince customers to buy tickets. Otherwise their plans are just too uncertain to pull the trigger on travel.

Airlines have dribbled these policies, extending them little by little. When things looked like they were starting to turn up for the airlines American even tried to exclude Basic Economy fares from the change waiver but then backtracked as Covid conditions worsened.

American Airlines has extended its travel waiver for tickets purchased by September 30 for travel through the end of the year.

I wrote about great premium cabin award availability on American Airlines Europe and Asia awards for 2021. Notably if you book award travel by September 8 for any future date American will waive redeposit fees.

And something I hadn’t realized, American is allowing name changes on business travel tickets. This applies even to tickets that just have small business Business ExtrAA numbers in the booking, per SalesLink.

Extending name changes

We have also extended name changes on applicable tickets for corporate customers, Business Extra accounts, and On Business accounts.

  • A contracted Corporate Travel Agreement ,Business Extra or On Business account must be active

  • Tickets purchased that fall under the Global Flexibility Waiver dates will be allowed multiple name changes during the validity of the ticket. This can be combined with other qualifying waivers.

  • Tickets must contain a valid CART/Business Extra number or an On Business number in the Tour Code box.

  • Your agency of record can process this complimentary name change in their GDS without requiring a waiver code.

For questions, customers within the U.S. and Canada can contact our Sales Support Desk at 1-800-621-8489, and international customers can contact their local Sales Support desk or Reservations.

Anything that makes it easier for a business to book right now, including swapping out travelers, makes sense when there’s near zero business travel. Extending it to small business accounts makes this more flexible than it might otherwise first appear. Normally the conditions under which you can change names on a ticket are more limited.

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. Thank you American Airlines for your customer and business focused policy of allowing a name change.

  2. I hope my company doesn’t use my tickets for someone else. I had quite a few trips I had to cancel this year. The good thing about having unused tickets is the agency never gave me any grief about flying AA if United was preferred carrier and I had unused tickets.

  3. Until they make middle seat blocking a policy, they can change all the names they want and I won’t be on those planes.

  4. Gary, most, if not all, of the low priced premium economy award space is Web Specials. It is my understanding that those fares incur a $150 per ticket redeposit fee, and at least when I last checked a couple of months ago when I checked, no changes were allowed. Do you know otherwise?

  5. My understanding of web specials is that the redeposit fee follows the regular Mileage award redeposit fee. So free 60 days or more out. Changes aren’t allowed, so you must redeposit (and then of course you have the option to rebook at the going rate)

    Within 60 days, I don’t know.

  6. Gary,

    Where are you drawing this conclusion from? “Notably if you book award travel by September 8 for any future date American will waive redeposit fees.”

    What is see in your link is the following: “extending its offer to waive change fees for customers booking tickets for any new travel purchased by Sept. 8, 2020.”

    Waiving change fees and allow free redeposit are two different things. I dont see anything in writing like AS or DL regarding free redeposit of award tickets. Thus, I am not too confident they will honor it down the road if one does need to cancel an award ticket say sometime next year.

    Please correct me if i’m wrong. I would love to see AA confirm no redeposit fee, alas i can’t glean that from the information here.

  7. JetBlue’s policy is even more generous. Especially considering that they are currently blocking middle seats. They waive all fees for bookings “made” through October 15. Issuing credits when canceled. AND allowing credits to be used by “any traveler.”

    I need to change/cancel my flight
    We’re waiving change/cancel fees for customers with existing bookings **made through October 15.** If you choose to rebook, you can do so on any flight through the end of our schedule. Fare difference may apply.

    For voluntary cancellations, funds will be issued as a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit. JetBlue Vacations bookings will be issued as JetBlue Vacations Credit. **Travel credits can be used for future travel to any JetBlue destination and for any traveler.**

    (emphasis mine.)

  8. This is a great move and make total scene, business will be thinking about using AA due to this flexibility. Back in the early 90’s I once had to fly as a team member (this was before they checked IDs, etc. . . but we had to do this because we couldn’t change the name on the ticket. BTW, I looked nothing like a 50 something black woman whose’s ticket I was using. LOL

  9. @controller1.

    I checked the link and see the following:

    We’re giving you more flexibility with waived award reinstatement and change fees for awards ticketed by September 8, 2020, for any future travel. Additionally, we’re waiving award reinstatement and change fees for awards ticketed by September 30, 2020, and flown by December 31, 2020.

    So if i book a flight for next year, say next march, then am i still eligible for the waived award reinstatement fee? I don’t read it that way. it would be fall under the standard policy of no award reinstatement if cancelled more than 60 days before the flight, correct?

    someone please show me otherwise?

  10. It looks like reinstatement waiver is now been extended to any ticketed award through the calendar year for future travel?

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