American Has Removed Non-U.S./Canada Etihad and Qatar Awards From AA.com

For the past few months there been a glitch with certain awards booked on the American Airlines website, where baggage allowance information wasn’t being added to tickets. The airline doesn’t have a solution yet, but they’re taking action to avoid spreading the problem.

  • This was for AA.com award bookings only, as far as I’m aware only for travel on Etihad and Qatar
  • And it was only for itineraries that neither departed from nor arrived in the United States< or Canada

The website ticketing path for these awards was failing to include anything in the endorsement section for baggage. As a result Qatar and Etihad were seeing no baggage allowance. Passengers were being told that they’d have to pay for baggage.

The solution was to get tickets re-issued. This was sometimes a challenge because front line telephone agents were unaware of the problem and unclear on why it would make any sense to re-issue a ticket where the itinerary hadn’t changed. Telephone redemptions and re-issues didn’t have the baggage problem, only online redemptions so a re-issue solved the problem.

American tells me that they’ve decided to remove non-U.S. and Canada Qatar and Etihad redemptions from AA.com. These awards are still available by phone, and they’re waiving telephone booking fees since the awards can’t be redeemed online.

A spokesperson offers,

Our teams are working to resolve the baggage allowance error impacting certain Qatar (QR) and Etihad (EY) award itineraries, and we have temporarily removed the ability to book those awards on aa.com. Customers may contact our Reservations department to book QR and EY awards in the interim, and we apologize for the error and the inconvenience.

Existing redemptions booked but not yet flown will have tickets re-issued. American is working on how to address refunds for anyone that was asked to pay a checked bag fee as a result of the glitch, and they’re working on a solution to bring these awards back onto the AA.com website.

American only just introduced online redemption of Etihad awards in May and it was a surprise to see at the time, since American has been in a political war with those two airlines, despite their partnerships, for the past four and a half years – and even terminated codeshares with both.

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 »

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  1. I have an itinerary from MAA to AUH to IAD i booked online last night in Business class. After seeing this article i was concerned and called Etihad to check, the agent clearly said “baggage allowance information is not added” . Also, in Etihad website (‘manage my booking’) i can see only cabin baggae allowance, under “Check-in baggage” it says “Buy baggage”. What are my options?

  2. I can confirm that this impacted US itineraries on EY. Had to pay bag fees ($800) for AUH JFK and have been working with AA and EY for months with no resolution for a refund.

  3. @Rhobby US itineraries (no stopover) should have baggage information on the ticket, since they’re piece concept rather than weight, however if yours somehow doesn’t AA can re-issue the ticket over the phone and baggage information should attach.

  4. I called AA reservation desk and they are not even aware of this problem. Rep asked where did i see this info, i mention american spokes person communicated to blogger at “viewfromthewing” and she is just dismissing 🙁 … I spoke to 2 reps both are asking me to ignore…. They said it is valid only if i see on AA website or on official AA twitter 🙁 I cant cancel or reissue just stuck with this

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