Update: American Airlines Secrets – Free Award Ticket Change For Scotland Golf Trip


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UPDATE: An American Airlines representative has confirmed that award ticket changes to tickets booked on British Airways will not incur a fee if (1) the carrier hasn’t changed or (2) the origin and destination has not changed. I asked does this mean I can request unlimited routing changes and they said “yes, that is the beauty of the award.” They also confirmed that dates can be modified without a fee as long as the above holds true as well.

Last month I booked the ultimate AAward trip, an award trip to Scotland to play golf with my brother and father.

This is truly a once in a lifetime trip so I did everything to make the flights as easy as possible. But the return trip was giving us problems and we had to book what was available in order to receive the low level award pricing.

The return trip had no direct flight award availability from Edinburgh, Scotland to London Heathrow, not even in coach at the low award level. The direct flight back to Atlanta on British Airways required me to leave London Heathrow, so that is where I needed to get to from Edinburgh. But since I could only get an award from Edinburgh, Scotland to London Gatwick, that is what I did.

Thanks to the customer friendly American Airlines award ticket change policy, I was able to change my award to my desired routing for no additional cost. We’ll share how we made the changes and ended up with the ultimate AAward trip to Scotland.

Booking Original Ticket At Low Level

The original award ticket had a routing of EDI>;;;LGW||LHR>;;;ATL. This routing required an airport transfer in London. The connection would be time consuming and costly.

I’d have to pick up my bags in London, take a taxi or bus to Heathrow, then recheck my golf bag to my final destination. But the original routing allowed me to book my award at the low level. Thanks to American Airlines award ticket change rules, I was able to make the change I wanted.

A small change for sure, but one that would save both time and money.

American Airlines Award Ticketing Change Rules

I knew American Airlines would allow me to change my London connection airport for free so I kept an eye out for low award availability.

Changes to origin/destination –

A $150 USD charge will apply for a confirmed change to an eligible origin or destination on a MileSAAver® award (waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum® members using miles from their account). Changes to an eligible origin or destination on AAnytime® awards are allowed at no charge.

Changes that require different award type –

Changes to the itinerary which involve different AAdvantage® award(s) than originally ticketed require a reinstatement of the original award ticket, payment of the applicable award reinstatement charge (see below), and a new award ticket issued (waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum® members using miles from their account).

Changes to your outbound travel date, resulting in a departure within 21 days –

A $75 USD award processing charge will apply for a confirmed change to the date on an AAdvantage MileSAAver® and AAnytime® award ticket if the change results in a new outbound travel date that is within 21 days of the original booking date (waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum® and AAdvantage Gold® members using miles from their account).

American Airlines allowed me to change my connecting airport in London for free once low award availability opened up. You can read up on American Airlines award tickets through their award ticket web page.

Making A Change To More Desirable Route

I continued to check availability on the more desirable routing. A direct flight from Edinburgh, Scotland to London Heathrow would save me a taxi ride from London Gatwick to London Heathrow. A few weeks after booking the original ticket, award availability in coach on the desired EDI>;;;LHR route opened up. A quick call to American Airlines award booking desk and the change was made for free to the more desirable route.

This change saved me an additional $50 for a taxi or about $30 for a bus ride. Now I’m able to fly home without changing airports and maintained the low level award pricing.

The final return award itinerary is in British Airways coach class from Edinburgh, Scotland to London Heathrow and then from London Heathrow to Atlanta in First Class. This one-way award itinerary cost 62,500 American Airlines miles and about $500 in taxes and fees. The coach segment is fine by me since I obviously do not have any issues with flying in coach after this past week’s Delta flight.

We are so excited to get a chance to visit some of the best golf courses in the world. Here are the courses we get to play.

  • St Andrews – The Old Course, the most famous links in all of golf
  • Royal Birkdale – A regular host to the British Open
  • Royal Lytham & St Annes – Constructed in 1897 and still one of the world’s best links
  • St. Andrews – Strathtyrum Course, There is a two course requirement to play the Old Course so this will fulfill the requirement at St. Andrews
  • Carnoustie – Championship Course, host to the 2007 Open Championship and rated in the top ten “100 Best Courses Outside the United States” by Golf Digest in 2009

Bottom Line

Knowing award ticketing rules and change rules can work to your advantage, even if you are only an American Airlines Gold member like me. By making an award that I knew I’d change, I was able to secure an award that would work at the low level and would allow me to change to a more desired routing once availability opened up.

Do you have any American Airlines award booking tricks and tips to share? Please leave a comment if you have a time or cost saving tip.

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. Um, I fail to see how this is helpful if you are not an executive platinum – which you obviously are, but fail to mention!

  2. Maybe I’m too tired, but still struggling to understand what AA rule you are trying to point out here that allowed you to change the flight for free?

  3. Exactly what award rule were you able to use to make this change without any fees?

    I read through your entire post, but totally missed the part how it ACTUALLY worked out for you..

    a little lost…

  4. It sounds like you got the 21-day change fee waived due to status, which wouldn’t apply to the average traveler. Nothing special here.

  5. Hi atxtravel – I don’t think that is it. I’m only Gold and that benefit applies to Platinums.

    Waived AAdvantage Award Ticket Change and Reinstatement Charges
    Charges associated with reinstating a fully unused award ticket that has not expired are waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum® members. In addition, confirmed changes to an eligible origin or destination on a MileSAAver award are waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum® members when the miles are claimed from their account. Changes to an eligible origin or destination on AAnytime awards are allowed at no charge for all members.

  6. I’m pretty sure that since it is a OneWorld award (booked on all BA), I was allowed to make the change for free.

    I’m looking into cite the exact rule now….will update shortly.

  7. Hi Charles – Thanks for the feedback and sorry you didn’t find value in the post. But I think this could be a good data point for others looking to book golf award trips on AA miles.

  8. If you read your own post, the italicized section, it says clearly at the end Platinum AND Gold have the 21-day fee waived:


    A $75 USD award processing charge will apply for a confirmed change to the date on an AAdvantage MileSAAver® and AAnytime® award ticket if the change results in a new outbound travel date that is within 21 days of the original booking date (waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum® and AAdvantage Gold® members using miles from their account).

  9. You didn’t change origin or destination, only the connecting point, so the $150 fee wouldn’t apply here anyway.

  10. I am by no mean an expert but it maybe related to the AA rule that you can change sister airports within the same city for free. EX. Gatwick to Heathrow, Chicago Mdw to Chicago Ohare, San Jose to San Francisco. (not sure about LGA and JFK)

  11. But this change did not result in any change of the OUTBOUND date, just the return. So the $75 processing charge would not apply even for non-elites.

  12. I don’t think that matters. The rule might be poorly written on AA’s page, but I’ve seen it mentioned on several blogs before, that changes within 21 days result in a fee, similar to what United does.

    Maybe you should just call AA and clarify this.

  13. The other possibility is that since what you did doesn’t fall in one of the 3 changes that get penalized, you don’t have to pay the fee.

  14. Wow, this really isn’t that complicated.

    Change to routing (not O/D) = free
    Change to date = free, unless it incurs the 21-day fee
    Change to origin/destination = $150 as described above
    Change carriers = redeposit/reprice

    The award above is an Aadvantage partner award, not a oneworld award, and the rules would be exactly the same if it was on American metal.

    Good post TWF; not sure what all the people commenting are missing.

  15. Good post. I like your blog. Here is another Gatwick Airport Taxi service. Where you get good and comfortable service for any travel and visit.

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