American Now Allows Changing Some Awards Online

American AAdvantage now allows some award changes to be made online, so you don’t have to call.

  • One passenger on the itinerary only
  • American Airlines domestic flights only
  • Ticket issued by U.S. reservations

The person whose miles were used to issue the ticket can now make changes to the booking online.

Now, American Airlines award flights are now dynamically priced. You aren’t really ‘making changes to’ the booking. Currently you can cancel a reservation, redeposit miles, and then book a new ticket. And you could do all of that online.

What’s new is that you can do this in a single transaction, without having to re-enter passenger details. You’re going to get the new price for the award, whatever it happens to be at the time you’re making the change. This doesn’t save you miles. It saves you a step, to keep traveler information stored.

This is a convenience, and should help reduce calls to reservations. But it’s a minor convenience.

American’s milesAAver (and AAnytime) awards used to allow changes, such as changing a single flight on an intinerary without changing the price of the award. That went away with the elimination of those award types in April, and the name change of web savers to Flight Awards.

Of course partner awards still can be changed. That includes where there is an American Airlines flight as part of the award. For instance if you booked Austin – Dallas – London with Austin – Dallas on American and Dallas – London on British Airways, you can make changes to the short Austin – Dallas flight if traditional award space is available. Say you made the booking and only coach was available Austin to Dallas, but it’s a business class award. If the premium cabin opens up on Austin – Dallas, you can still call to make that change for free.

Unfortunately most agents no longer know that this is allowed, and refuse to do it. You need to hang up, call back. And hang up, call back. And hang up, call back. Probably several more times to find an agent who allows you to do what is permitted under American’s rules.

The ability to make changes to partner awards online, to multi-passenger American Airlines itineraries, and to international itineraries would be a real advance. Hopefully this is only the first step – Vasu Raja has talked about allowing all transactions to be self-serve digital by end of the year, though that will never happen. You still can’t confirm upgrades on their website! But more transactions successfully completed online or via app would be progress for sure.

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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Comments

  1. Congratulations AA, you’ve finally caught up to something Delta has been doing for quite some time now.

  2. Does the number of times one must hang up and call back in an attempt to change a partner award render it unavailable? Only available to those whose persistence is unending. And for those few, the award space you saw may well have vanished by the time you get an agent willing to make the change without insisting cancel, redeposit and rebook is the only option to make such a change.

  3. Kudos to AA on a customer-friendly step forward.

    Another minor fix would complement this one beautifully. That would be to list in an award booking the number of miles that was used to book it. Bizarrely, the information is currently nowhere to be found, even tin the email confirmation for the booking (it will show in an email for a “hold” for the booking, oddly).

  4. @David Hanson – CORRECT !! I have complained to AA about this and they seemingly refuse to fix it. Every confirmation should show all elements of the tranaction: miles deducted, fees, taxes, total, etc. Complain to AA. Maybe they’ll listen to you. Such a simple fix.

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