When I’m using miles from my own account I don’t pay cancel and redeposit fees on an award ticket. That’s a benefit for top tier elites at American, and it’s common at other airlines as well.
It’s a super benefit. It means I can make speculative award bookings (say, when Etihad opens up tons of availability on their First Apartment A380 flights) and figure out how to use them later. Or I can make a backup booking to get home when there’s a strike on another carrier.
Most folks though have to pay a fee. That’s still wonderful compared to paid tickets, which aren’t refundable in most cases. Mileage tickets really aren’t commitments, you’re buying an option of future travel for the cost of a change fee.
United substantially reduced cancel/redeposit fees for most members back in the fall. Before that general members paid $200 per passenger. Now it’s $75 or $125 per passenger.
When I’m cancelling an award with an airline I’m not a top elite with I wait until the last minute to do it, hoping for a schedule change, which will often allow me to cancel and redeposit for free.
American Airlines has long charged $150 for the first passenger and $25 for each additional passenger on the same reservation. This was generous compared to United’s fees (which are per passenger). But it was a reason sometimes to avoid one way tickets. You’d pay twice the cancel and redeposit fees when cancelling two one way awards compared to a roundtrip.
JonNYC tweeted about a change in policy, it doesn’t seem super recent, but I admit I didn’t realize it.
The reinstatement charge is $150 per account for the first award ticket. Additional award tickets reinstated to the same account at the same time will have a $25 charge per ticket
It’s no longer $150 plus $25 for each additional passenger on the same reservation. Instead it’s $150 plus $25 for each additional ticket redeposited into the same account at the same time.
So you could cancel 10 separate reservations and pay $25 for numbers two through 10 (instead of paying $150 for each of them).
That’s a huge improvement. Not every agent knows about this either, you may need to hang up and call back or may even need to contact customer relations to have this policy honored. But there’s real savings here.