American Airlines Eagle
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Ancillary Fees Continue to Creep Back at American Airlines

On the same day — Tuesday, April 21, 2020 — when American Airlines released a touching video which proclaimed that “You Are Why We Fly”, checked baggage fees for transatlantic flights between North America, Central America or South America and Europe increased by 25 percent from $60.00 to $75.00 on basic economy fares…

Ancillary Fees Continue to Creep Back at American Airlines

…and despite the fact that the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic is still adversely affecting the economy and the health of thousands of people and shows no signs of abating anytime soon within the United States, change and reinstatement fees have returned for select passengers effective as of Wednesday, July 1, 2020, with a new fee structure applying to changes implemented with fewer than 60 days before travel.

The good news is that for all members of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program who have ticketed award travel on or after Wednesday, July 1, 2020 — and flown Thursday, October 1, 2020, and beyond — change and reinstatement fees will be waived completely when the change is implemented at least 60 days prior to departure of the first flight of travel on the award ticket itinerary.

Elite Status Level Change 60 Days or more before travel At least 7 days, but fewer than 60 days before travel Fewer than 7 days before travel
Executive Platinum $0 $0 $0
Platinum Pro $0 $50.00 $75.00
Platinum $0 $75.00 $100.00
Gold $0 $100.00 $125.00
Regular member $0 $125.00 $150.00

Fees apply to each award ticket which has been changed or reinstated.

Fees vary by elite level status of the member using AAdvantage miles from his or her membership account; and the number of days prior to departure of the first changed or canceled flight in the original trip.

The flight award change and reinstatement fees will be waived for American Airlines AAdvantage members who:

  • Are using more AAdvantage miles to purchase a higher cabin on the same flight or flights
  • Have earned Executive Platinum elite level status and are using miles from their membership accounts — including for Web Special awards

Summary

I get that American Airlines is a business entity whose primary goal is to earn money with a profit and is attempting to survive through a global pandemic by any means necessary — but millions of people are still unemployed; and even if they can scrape together enough AAdvantage miles for an award ticket so that they can enjoy a sorely-needed escape, they are the ones who will most likely pay the change and reinstatement fees should their plans be forced to change…

…which is highly likely during the unpredictability of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, which I hoped that would cause American Airlines to extend the waiver of change and reinstatement fees for award travel — similar to how they extended the ability to change or cancel your airline itinerary on a revenue ticket — and is why I did not report on these fees earlier; but the waiver of change and reinstatement fees for award tickets for certain customers have not been extended.

With the prospect of paying up to $150.00 in change and reinstatement fees should plans be altered, I would advise anyone who falls into the aforementioned categories in the chart to hold off on booking award tickets with American Airlines — unless you do not mind absorbing the additional cost into what is likely a tight budget for the foreseeable future…

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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