So You Can Take AA Awards Out of the Ticketing Queue and Not Get Dinged With a Fee

American Airlines and OneWorld are my big airline blind spot. I have over 900,000 AA miles because they and their partners rarely work for my travel patterns, and when they do, the taxes and surcharges on awards limit their value.

This week I had an opportunity to book an award on Etihad for two friends. Yes, you need to call Australia.

AA sends its awards to a ticketing queue that an stretch several days.

AA Status On Request

My friend urgently texted me last night that his wife had an unexpected work commitment and needed to change dates. We thought he would get with a fee.

I called up AA, confirmed the award had not been ticketed and requested it to be put back on 5-day courtesy hold, or, failing that, to cancel it out.

After checking around, the agent was not able to put it back to hold, however was able to cancel it out without. Yay! That rare case where sluggish ticketing is a great help.

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  • Prior to ticketing changes are free. They don’t even pull miles until tickets are issued, so there’s no redeposit that has to happen.

    Partner award tickets usually issue in ~ 24 hours. It’s generally faster when travel is imminent, and can take longer when the ticketing queue backs up.

    Usually I wish for instant ticketing. US Airways had this. United had this before moving to SHARES. As an EXP of course I don’t pay change/redeposit fees. But I’ve made mistakes on paid tickets as well, those issue more quickly, where I’ve managed to correct the mistakes before tickets have been issued so that’s nice.

    American goes through the full reissuance process with upgrades as well, queuing and everything. That means it’s inadvisable to ever try to upgrade on a fuel dump ticket since the dump gets noticed and you may be asked for an add-collect at the airport.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Gary Leff – the master has spoken, thank you, and for the Australia trip, saved big headaches. Normally the queue would drive me nuts, when I book I want things booked so I can move on and confirm other arrangements. Did not know about the upgrade/reissuance.

  • Kevin

    Also, since you said that all you needed to do was change dates, that would’ve been free regardless anyway, even if it had ticketed.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Kevin – great point and one I have probably heard before and never remembered, a lot I have to to learn!

  • Kumar

    @Gary Leff – “Prior to ticketing changes are free. They don’t even pull miles until tickets are issued, so there’s no redeposit that has to happen.”
    Isn’t that like Kevin mentioned above, the changes are free after ticketing also, as long as the origin-destination stay the same on award tickets for everyone, i.e. not only for the EXPs.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Kumar – I think the point was that any ticket can be canceled while still in the queue, while Kevin’s was specifically to date changes on same routing.

  • Kumar

    @Rapid Travel Chai
    That’s right about the post. Though I wanted to clarify about the changes also since it came up here.
    I have a trip coming up for which will surely need to change depending on the business class opening up later.

  • john

    Thats funny, I am in the same boat as you sitting on AA miles that I cannot seem to use. Now that I have been everywhere in the Americas its really hard to use these miles (being east coast based) with British off the table! I guess I will have to get creative but its annoying that the miles are not even good for Canada!

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @john – if they can get me to Margaritas Island or Robinson Crusoe Island their Americas utility would be stretched for me, those last miles not so cheap or easy.