Rumor: American Airlines to Eliminate Close-In Booking Fees, Make Other Award Rule Changes

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INSIDER SECRET: You can change the date or time of an American Airlines award flight for free as long as the origin, destination and cabin of service stay the same…but that all could be changing soon.

If you want to guess what move American Airlines is going to make next just take a look at what the other major US airlines are doing because they’re sure to follow suit. After JetBlue, United Airlines and Delta raised checked baggage fees, American Airlines did the same. Delta eliminated its award chart years ago and now prices award flights dynamically. Now United Airlines is ditching its award chart this fall and not long after that announcement was made, American Airlines confirmed it’s moving toward dynamic award prices.

But not all of these moves are always negative. Delta doesn’t charge an extra fee for booking last-minute award tickets and United Airlines is eliminating its $75 close-in award booking fee on November 15, 2019, when it drops its award chart (although before then you might be able to avoid the fee using this trick).

Now there is a rumor, from Twitter account xJonNYC, that American Airlines is planning to get rid of its close-in booking fee.

While this is just a rumor at this point, this account has a history of being a reliable source for American Airlines news. Currently, American Airlines charges a $75 fee for award tickets booked within 21 days of departure, although this fee is waived if you have any level of American Airlines status. By itself this is a positive change, but the rumor is that the fee is being dropped in conjunction with an adjustment in the rules for changing awards.

Right now American Airlines has a very generous award change policy that is much better than what Delta or United Airlines offers the typical non-elite flyer. As long as your origin, destination and cabin stay the same you can change the date or time of your flight for no charge (no changes are allowed for Economy Web Special awards).

I’m interested to see the specifics of these rumored rule changes. At the end of the day it will most likely end up being a mixed bag and will align American Airlines’ policies closer to those of Delta and United Airlines.

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