american aadvantage changes
Courtesy: AA
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Earlier this year, American Airlines did a huge devaluation of their AAdvantage program, removing the ability to make free changes to awards up until the date of travel regardless of elite status (or lack thereof).

AA Eliminates AAdvantage Award Redeposit Fees

Now, just months later and assumedly due to the ongoing COVID-19 effect on travel, they have gone the other way and ended mileage redeposit fees for all members on all awards – right up until departure time of your award flight

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This means that AAdvantage members can effectively go back to the old method of booking the best award available today and hoping to optimize it later on, without fear of missing the window to freely change. In fact, this goes way beyond the original policy which allowed free changes as long as origin and destination remained the same and extends that to trip cancellations – a benefit that previously was reserved for Executive Platinum members.

This change is effective immediately and in most cases you should be able to do the redeposit online.

Award Ticket Fees Eliminated for Phone Reservations

You are probably thinking that you don’t call to book anyway. But there is one case where you have always had to book and often would not be granted a fee waiver on the $30-$40 phone booking fee – AAdvantage Reduced Mileage awards. These are discounted awards on AA metal for holders of the Citi AAdvantage credit cards.

These Reduced Mileage Awards provide a discount of up to 7,500 miles roundtrip to and from select destinations. The select destinations change every month. You must have one of the AAdvantage credit cards to book.

AAdvantage Mileage Expiration Remains Paused

Let’s be clear. AAdvantage should get rid of mileage expiry the same way Delta and United did. At the same time, AAdvantage hasn’t decimated the program as much as they have, so maybe it’s not so bad.

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Either way, they have extended the block on any miles expiring through June 30, 2021. AAdvantage miles expire after 18 months of no activity in your account (earn or burn).

MilesTalk Musings

It’s hard to find anything to fault here. These are excellent changes all around. The question is – once (if?) AA fully recovers from the pandemic, will they re-introduce the award redeposit fees?

My money is on yes.

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

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