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.
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®APPLY NOW
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 up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
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 15.99% – 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
15.99% – 24.99% (Variable)
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
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! :)