Update: As it turns out, American didn’t mean to remove this fee after all. See the follow-up post for more info.
A couple of weeks ago Delta eliminated phone ticketing fees. On one hand I was surprised to see Delta eliminate the fee for ticketing by phone, while on the other hand I suspect they realized that for the most part people were only ticketing by phone when they had website issues.
It looks like American Airlines is now matching this change, at least for award tickets.
American Airlines is no longer charging fees for booking award tickets by phone.
Previously American’s award phone ticketing fees were $30 for domestic travel and $40 for international travel.
This is the second positive change American made to award ticketing fees since last year. Early last year American eliminated award phone ticketing fees for reservations which couldn’t be booked through the website. In other words, if you were traveling on carriers like Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Japan Airlines, etc., (which can’t be booked through American’s website), they’d waive the phone booking fee.
At the same time they raised the phone ticketing fee by $5 for reservations which could be bookable online.
It’s nice to see them eliminate phone ticketing fees for awards altogether. One thing I’d note is that while the fees are supposed to be waived, some agents still accidentally charge them. So if you do book an award by phone, be sure you clarify there shouldn’t be any fees involved, or else you may end up with a surprise charge.
With this change, American raised the fees for ticketing via one of their travel centers (there are only four of them in the US), as well as for tickets issued at airports and in Admirals Clubs. However, there’s no reason to use either of those methods, given that you can ticket reservations by phone without a charge.
Best I can tell, American hasn’t yet changed their ticketing fees for revenue reservations, though I suspect that’s coming eventually, since other carriers seem to follow Delta’s lead.
It’s nice to see airlines eliminating fees like this. Given that it’s almost universally more convenient to book online nowadays, very few people are voluntarily booking by phone when there’s another option. I suspect American will adopt a similar policy for revenue tickets soon as well.
(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)