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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
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.