American Airlines charging for award tickets? Lame.

close-up of an airplaneI am flying to Chicago in a few weeks to see my sisters, and today as I tried to redeem miles for a ticket I made an unhappy discovery. In the last two months (since the last time I redeemed miles for a ticket) American has started charging for awards. $20 if you are outside of three weeks from travel, $50 if you are within three weeks, and $150 if you are within 6 days! This seems extreme to me. Just another way for airlines to nickel and dime us. I would almost rather have fewer inexpensive award seats available (12.5k mile seats on American) than pay up to $150 for a ticket. When did they start doing this?  I have heard of other airlines charging for award tickets, but I thought Elite passengers were exempt. Now I’m very frustrated and wishing I could fly Southwest more. Of course, they have way fewer award seats then they used to as well…..


  1. The $20 fee for awards outside of 3 weeks is a reservation fee. These reservations are still free if booked on

  2. I just had to pay $50 but it’s in less than three weeks. I wonder if you only have to pay if it’s that close in?

  3. Close-in fees aren’t new, though United recently got rid of theirs and Delta did as well — though Delta is considering requiring a Saturday night stay on close-in award!

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