American Finally Lets Most Members Cancel Awards, Redeposit Miles Online – Only Through May 31

You can cancel an American Airlines award ticket online – there’s a cancel link in your account’s itineraries. Cancelling, through, doesn’t put miles back into your account. To get miles redeposited you’ve had to call American – until now, under certain limited conditions, as Zach Griff flags.

For tickets booked by May 31, 2020 for travel through September 30, 2020, some award tickets can be cancelled and miles reinstated automatically ‘within 48 hours’ (so you may need to wait to book another award). To use this,

  • The booking must be for one passenger only, who used miles from their own account for the trip.

  • The trip must be for American Airlines travel only, no partners.

  • It had to have been booked through American’s U.S. website or a U.S. call center and not changed at all since it was first issued.

  • The trip cannot have started (e.g. you’ve flown the outbound but not the return)

Even then, if you paid for seat assignments or prepaid checked bags you’ll have to call to request a refund of those fees.

The reason for the restriction on when the ticket had to be booked by and when travel occurs is because those are the dates where mileage ticket redeposits have their fees waived due to coronavirus.

After June 1 online mileage redeposit will only be available to Executive Platinum (and Concierge Key) members, since no redeposit fee applies for these members and the website apparently hasn’t been set up to collect on American’s new fee structure for changes.

And even then only Executive Platinums who are traveling alone on the reservation, used their own miles to purchase the tickets, and are flying American and not any of its partners can do this. Moreover if the ticket was purchased through one of American’s international call centers, or non-U.S. websites then the member isn’t eligible. Or if any changes have been made to the ticket since it was issued or if travel has started then redeposits cannot be done online.

So it seems like a long way away from this being ready for prime time, but as they say nearly all progress is at the margin.

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. I cancelled my award flights a couple weeks ago and it said I have to call them to rebook and that my miles are safe. There is no option currently online to get the miles BACK INTO your account for tickets that have already been canceled.

  2. Wow, did the 21st century finally call up AA headquarters…?

    Sounds like they still have a long way to go though.

  3. Hi Gary I am about to book a trip from Tokyo to San Francisco. Where does it say this? I thought I can just cancel here portions too. Please help. Thanks

    The booking must be for one passenger only, who used miles from their own account for the trip.

    The trip must be for American Airlines travel only, no partners.

  4. GARY: just as an FYI. I no longer have any status with AA. Last year (2019) I booked 2 J class award tickets with AA points on BA metal departing exactly on May 31. 70,000 each, 140k total. Earlier this week I saw the new AA announcement and I sent a message to AA on Twitter. They (within 2 hours) canceled the trip and charged no redeposit fee. The 140k miles were back in my account the same day. I am still awaiting the BA surcharge fee refund (as expected) but the message I got confirmed they will be refunded in full. I was rather surprised but very happy about the fast response via Twitter.

  5. @Brian – you can cancel any award you want, the thing that is new is getting your miles back without calling and that has conditions which I link to at the top of the post

  6. I cancelled an award reservation this week that had 2 passengers. All miles were redeposited automatically in my account.

  7. I had to cancel the return portions of 3 award tickets in mid-March because of the virus (I booked separate awards to return home from a few days earlier than planned). I’ve been trying to avoid calling them so I sent 3 emails through the system and after the first two went unacknowledged I finally got a response saying it will be 10 days.

    I expect I’ll end up having to call…

  8. Why only 1 passenger if all on the same record? Makes no sense and the vast majority of people don’t travel alone

  9. Does this apply to Web Special awards? Those typically have no cancellation without a significant fee.

  10. @dtg yes these do apply to web specials. I called yesterday and confirmed it.

    Having it reinstated automatically is the least of my worried. I’m just glad I can book my summer flights without any worries.

  11. Just an FYI, not that it super helps specifically, but I’ve had to cancel several trips that I booked with miles over the last few weeks and once I literally had no hold time, and the other time I was only on hold for 6 minutes, so if you are avoiding calling, it is really quite painless!

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