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American Airlines Coronavirus Flight Cancelations
American Airlines

American Airlines Coronavirus Flight Cancelations

Last updated: January 12,2023
Originally Published: June 08,2020
by Rosen Valchev

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The Coronavirus pandemic forced all of us to change or cancel our plans. Even the industry leader, American Airlines, had to adjust to the new reality and make amendments in their program. Find out about American Airlines Coronavirus Flight Cancelations.

We have already seen some major cuts in American Airlines’ flight volume in April and May. The company has seen a 60-80% flight decrease for these months compared to the same period of 2019. Both for domestic and international flights.

However, like most companies, they are prepared for a gradual return.  They know that for the upcoming months most of the travel will be domestic. That is why American announced they are planning to resume 55% of their domestic volume and only 20% of international flights for July 2020.

If you have already booked an American Airlines flight and you need to cancel or change it due to the COVID-19 outbreak you don’t need to panic. In the majority of cases, you will be able to get your ticket value back in some form.

Nevertheless, there are instances when you won’t be eligible to get the full cost back.

Furthermore, when you reschedule your flight you might be required to do an additional payment. Despite that American has made some great policy changes to relieve passengers in these tough times. 

Let’s find out what are these changes and how you can use them to your advantage whether you booked with cash, travel credit cards, or award tickets.

1. American Airlines Flight Cancelation

American Airlines usually charge you for canceling or rescheduling your flight, for a non-refundable ticket. If you want to change your domestic trip it will be $200 and for international flights, the fee could go up to $750.

Moreover, the remaining value will be returned as a voucher, rather than a cash refund. You should also use that voucher to travel in the next 12 months after the issue date.

On top of that, they usually don’t allow any changes or cancelations for basic economy tickets. So you can lose all your hard-earned cash if you have to cancel it.

Refundable tickets obviously have no fee for changing or canceling but they are more expensive. You can cancel your refundable ticket anytime before the flight and receive a full refund to your original payment method, typically in 7 days.

The good news is that these policies don’t apply at the current moment. The coronavirus led to some changes in American Airlines otherwise restrictive policies.

At the time of writing if you bought your ticket before September 30, 2020, or you are scheduled to travel between March 1 – December 30, 2020, the change fee is waived. That applies even for basic economy tickets booked on or before May 31, 2020.

Coronavirus fee waiver for ticket change or cancelation

However, bear in mind that you are allowed to cancel and reschedule your flight for free only once. If your new flight costs more you should pay the difference.

On the positive side, American Airlines give you time to complete your new flight by Dec 31, 2021, and you can change your origin and destination cities as a part of the offer. For up to date information you can go to American Airlines’ coronavirus travel update page

Note that if the airline cancels the flight you are entitled to a cash refund by LAW. We will show you exactly how to claim your refund later in the article. 

If you booked your airline ticket through a third-party travel agency like Expedia or Kayak you still can change or cancel your flight.  Most of these online agencies have aligned their policies with the ones of all major airlines.

You should contact them first to request your change, cancel or any form of reimbursement from the airline ticket. If they refuse to cooperate you can then contact the airline directly for further assistance. 

2. Credit card points ticket change or cancelation 

If you use the points of your rewards credit cards to book your flight, the rules are almost the same. The amount of the change or cancelation fees is as described above.

Again, American Airlines’ coronavirus policy changes are in effect and you can change or cancel your flight if you qualify. Nevertheless, in most cases, you can’t cancel or rebook the ticket directly on American’s website. You should contact your bank directly. 

Some providers like Chase allow the added convenience to cancel your ticket online. To do that you should fill out an online form using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. However, this form has some limitations and not every flight can be canceled so often it is better to call Chase directly.

Amex Travel doesn’t offer online cancelations of American Airlines’ flights so your best shot is to call. Even American Airlines’ partner Citi has a confusing cancellation process.

They only allow certain flights from certain airlines to be canceled online. And for the others, you should call.  You can find if your itinerary is eligible for a refund by going to Citi’s Thankyou website, logging into your account and pulling up your flight. 


Read More: American Express Green Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

3. American Airlines award tickets change or cancelation

Award tickets are also getting a fee waiver. For any award booked before December 31, 2020, a change or cancelation fee wouldn’t apply. If your trip is eligible, which you can discover in your AAdvantage account, you will automatically get your miles back in 48 hours after cancelation.

However, if your flight doesn’t qualify you can contact American Airlines’ Reservation department to request your miles back.

For award travels After January 1, 2021, American announced a new fee structure.

Even American Airlines’ AAdvantage members could be charged up to $150 fee for changing their award tickets depending on their elite status and the time of change. Only their highest status executive platinum members can do it completely free.


Still, the airline understands that people wouldn’t be so eager to travel this summer season. That is why they try to stimulate them. For example, American awarded double AAdvantage miles on flights purchased in June and completed by Sept 30, 2020.

Also if you are a regular traveler it may be worth checking some of these airline card offers by American Airlines and other big-name airlines.

4. American Airlines ticket change, cancelation and refund process

As promised above we will talk about the process of rebooking or canceling and getting a refund with American Airlines. Before we get into the meat of the matter we still have to mention some general cancelation and refund rules.

For instance, if you cancel your flight in 24 hours after booking,  your refund will go through automatically. Also if there is a change in your flight schedule you can request a refund.

If the delay is more than 60 minutes, for tickets issued before April 8, 2020, and more then 4 hours for tickets issued on or after April 8th, 2020, you are eligible. 

Other special cancelation and refund circumstances include military orders, extreme weather conditions, or your travel companion passing away.  Please note that for these reasons (apart from bad weather conditions) you should supply documentation as proof.

If your flight is significantly delayed or canceled here is what you should do.  First, you need to cancel your flight on the AA website or by calling American Airlines. Then you should fill out this online refund form.

American Airlines will try to sneak you a voucher instead of a cash refund. If you accept you LOSE your right for a financial refund. So if you are not 100% sure you will fly with American better decline.

Still, if you want to support the airline in these tough times you can get a voucher. All major airlines are facing extreme difficulties and don’t want to lose the money they already got. If you choose to get a refund in the form of a voucher you can redeem it on their website or call Reservations. 

5. How to get in touch with American Airlines

There are multiple ways to get in touch with American Airlines. The most obvious is to email them or call them. You can see their Reservations and ticket changes department phone numbers here.

However, American started to push forward their live chat service. They suggest to contact them via live chat even when you go to the “Email us” tab. To be able to receive live chat assistance you must download the American app.

The airline is active on all big social media platforms as well. So if you are the social media type of person you can easily reach out to American and comment on their posts.

Sometimes complaining on social media could be more effective than a direct call, because companies want to protect their hard-earned reputation. American Airlines is the world’s largest airline so they definitely want to do that.


Unsure about your future trip?

It is a complicated story. Although you already know how to handle your American Airlines flight cancelation, things are changing on a daily basis.

And we all know it is not just the airline. When you travel post-pandemic you have to take into account so many things. If you are not careful you can spend your vacation under quarantine or even end up stuck in a foreign country. 

If you need credit card and travel assistance, you can sign up for our travel concierge and get unlimited consultation for one full year.

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