Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

American Airlines eliminates the most annoying fee in award travel

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

American Airlines eliminates the most annoying fee in award travel

Joseph HostetlerAmerican Airlines eliminates the most annoying fee in award travelMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If you’re not in the habit of booking last-minute flights, you may not even know about this fee. For many of us, this change in AA’s policy will save us hundreds.

In short, if you book an American Airlines award flight within 21 days of departure, you’d be charged an arbitrary $75 “close-in booking fee.” But beginning today, Jan. 15, 2020, American Airlines has officially axed this fee.

The AA award chart has moved to dynamic pricing, meaning the airline now charges whatever it wants for each flight. Because of this, we were anxious to see if AA would slightly increase its award price for tickets within 21 days (United Airlines began this practice after eliminating their close-in booking fees). After some research, I can’t find enough evidence to convict. Here’s a sample fare a couple days from now between Columbus and Burbank (it’s an Economy Web Special fare):

Insanely cheap, both in miles and taxes. Yesterday, this ticket would have cost 5,000 miles and $80.60 ($75 close-in booking fee + $5.60 in taxes).

Last-minute travelers like myself are ecstatic to see this fee disappear. It was price-gouging at its ugliest; airlines know you’re desperate if you’re booking at the eleventh hour. Many of us have used miles and points to make unexpected emergency trips more affordable, such as the death of a loved one. It’s nice to know American Airlines miles will once again be an ally for trips like these.

Let us know what you think of the change. And subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of miles and points.

Featured image courtesy of Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 17.24% - 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

2comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I had just bought two tickets in the last month where I had to pay these fees. I was going to help my mom in hospice and for her funeral. Gouging is not good and it’s ridiculous that you would do this to your loyal customers when they need last-minute tickets.
I’ll be calling to see if they will refund.

Do you think they refund? Paid $150 earlier this month to book 2x award tickets JFK-EZE. Then had to change flights and paid change fee + another $150 in booking fees for 2x tickets (paid 2 days ago).