American AAdvantage Now Waiving Most Phone Ticketing Fees

Here’s some great news! American is making some positive changes to their AAdvantage award ticketing fees, as follows:

  • Effective February 3, 2015, the Reservations Ticketing Service Charge will be waived for award bookings that cannot be booked on aa.com.
  • Effective February 16, 2015, a Reservations Ticketing Service Charge of $30.00 for domestic itineraries and $40.00 for international itineraries will be applied by AA Reservations when ticketing award bookings that can be booked on aa.com.

AAdvantage-Processing-Fee

So basically American is finally waiving their phone ticketing fees for award tickets which can’t be booked through their website. Meanwhile in a couple of weeks they’ll be raising their ticketing fees by $5 per ticket for awards which can be booked online (which shouldn’t be a big deal, since I don’t think anyone anyone savvy enough to read a blog will literally choose to throw $25 out the window). šŸ˜‰

As a reminder, awards on American, US Airways, airberlin, Alaska, British Airways, Finnair, Hawaiian, Qantas, and Royal Jordanian can be booked through American’s website.

Qatar-Airways-A350-Business-Class-28
Redeem AAdvantage miles on Qatar Airways without paying a phone ticketing fee

Now members can make bookings for travel on all partner airlines without fees, including carriers like Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Japan Airlines, etc.

US Airways hasn’t yet changed their Dividend Miles award booking fee structure, and they actually charge a “Dividend Miles Processing Fee” for all award tickets, regardless of whether they’re booked online or not. So based on this update it sure seems like American won’t be adopting these BS ticketing fees, which is great.

Dividend-Miles-Fees

With their phone ticketing fee policy they’re matching US Airways’ policy and fee structure, whereby the fee is $30/$40 for domestic/international tickets issued by phone, and it’s waived if the award can’t be booked online.

Since the Dividend Miles program will soon be merged into the AAdvantage program, we can soon look forward to redeeming our former US Airways miles without booking fees in the coming months!

And since I’m sure someone will ask, no, I don’t think it’s reasonable to request a refund on a phone ticketing fee for a ticket issued in the past. šŸ˜‰

(Tip of the hat to Gary)

Comments

  1. Frustrating. I just ticketed a Citi reduced price aware two days ago. I talked with agent about the fee and requested a waiver from a supervisor but had no success. Sure wish they had given me a heads up, but perhaps they didn’t know this was coming.

  2. American does not waive a captive fee unless it is made to do so; indeed, it was the one who introduced bag fees to (now only formerly) full service carriers and started the fee-for-everything frenzy.

    Whatā€™s the back story on this one? Who made them do it?

    The Congressman who filed the ā€œfrequent flier programs have scam-like aspectsā€ complaint?

    The DOT finally doing its job?

    Some lawsuit (or threat thereof?)

    I mean, AA/US losing revenues on the basis of integrity? Yeah, right.

    I hope you report on the back story.

  3. that’s never been an issue for me. for me, since availability always almost opens up last min — the $75 quick ticketing fee :/ is the one that really hurts. no matter if I book online or over the phone. and I’m getting hella tired of paying this tons of times. wish they would get rid of this scam. although I suppose it does deter some folks so helps with availability.

  4. @ John Tarik — Interesting indeed to see airlines cut fees, though it’s not the first time in history it has been done. Keep in mind American used to charge a ticketing fee even for awards booked online back in the day, which they eventually abolished. Let’s just view this as a positive change and call it a day, in my opinion.

  5. Not sure if you saw my tweet but AA has finally released some business class awards. Check Sept/Oct ORD-LHR, ORD-CDG, JFK-LHR, etc for 2 pax. Some routes have a ton, others only a couple days, but way more than the zero that had become the norm. (These aren’t partner flights, BA or otherwise- they’re actual AA availability)

  6. What about if we’ve already paid the fee for a Qatar award ticket in March? Is it worth trying to call to get it refunded?

  7. Oh, sure, they wait until after I booked my Cathay and JAL flights to remove those fees. I could have saved $140!

  8. @ Lucky – Interesting indeed. Fee cuts have been made to be more competitive, but that’s not the case here: I doubt anyone chooses an airline based on whether they’re charged a fee for redeeming miles.

    Back when they had to remove the newly introduced ticketing fee for all awards they were still saying that awards equated to free flying. A little bird told them that with an AA fee on all tickets, they could no longer call them free.

  9. Lucky,

    Someone told me that you can book AA one world award chart using Dividend Miles. Is that true? I’ve search and I can’t find anything on this. I see that you can do that but only online and domestic as it is a glitch.

  10. Does AA have blackout dates to Europe between 12/29/2015 and 01/05/2016? Or are they not releasing EconomysAAver rewards? There is no EconomysAAver award availability on any AA or US operated flights out of the USA to Europe during this period. I’ve been checking every day and even when the next day becomes available to book only BA flights are available…

  11. @ BT — No blackout dates, per se, but they do tend to not release saver space in advance over peak dates, so that’s probably what’s happening here.

  12. I don’t see language anymore about waiving telephone booking fees for award bookings that can not be made on their website. Did they revert back at some point? I just booked a Cathay Pacific flight and was charged $40.

  13. Never mind, it’s still on their website: “The AA Reservations Ticketing Service Charge will be waived for all members redeeming miles for awards that cannot be booked on aa.com”. I guess I now have to fight for $40 to be refunded. This will be fun.

  14. I had two experiences within the past week where I had to call to book flights I couldn’t book on AA.com (Cathay Pacific flight and an AA flight that was having errors because it was a multi-leg Business award flight where economy was only available for one leg and it wouldn’t downgrade that leg for me) and on both separate occasions, the representatives were adamant that the phone ticketing service fee would apply. I only complained about the AA one because that was out of my control.

    I didn’t know about this change or the documentation, which I do still read on the AA Award travel page. But I called just now and had no trouble or resistance getting the fee refunded. So if all else fails, just call back after booking.

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