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American Airlines Officially Winds Down the AirPass Program

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James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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American Airlines has been operating a program for years called AirPass, which represented a great way to save money on airfare with the airline. It was also a guaranteed way to achieve AAdvantage elite status, depending on how much you spent with the program.

However, as of today, November 30, 2022, American is halting sales of the AirPass program, signaling its end.

Here’s a look at what you should know.

What Is AirPass?

AirPass is essentially a prepaid airfare program where you deposit a large sum of cash annually to pre-purchase airfare at a predetermined rate.

With a “normal” customer, the cost of flights changes depending on market rates. You can look to see the price of a flight now, and then come back to purchase that flight later and the price will likely have changed.

With AAirPass, using a rate table and formula, you could essentially purchase last-minute airfare at a rate that would likely be cheaper than the market rate.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seats 1A and 1D
The AirPass program is coming to an end. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

If you purchase enough AirPass funds in advance, American will give you AAdvantage elite status, up to and including the valuable ConciergeKey level.

One of the best perks of the program was flexibility. You could change your tickets at the last minute without a penalty — perfect for a busy business traveler who may have wanted to move flights.

However, American did eliminate change fees in 2020, so this was no longer a defining benefit of the program.

Bottom Line: To be clear, Airpass isn’t a cheap program — purchases started at $10,000 and went up from there. While the buy-in costs were steep, you could reliably purchase airfares at specific prices without having to worry about usual market conditions.

AirPass Will Be No Longer

As of today, November 30, 2022, the AirPass program will not accept any more new contracts or renewals. This means you’re out of luck if you haven’t already bought into the program. Those who already have funds in the program will be able to use the program at its current rates through 2024, or they can send a note to the airline to receive a refund.

Final Thoughts

AirPass was a program mostly for business travelers, though certain (very) frequent leisure travelers may have found the program useful as well. With AirPass shutting down, flyers will be dependent on current, changing rates for airfare or individually negotiated corporate contracts.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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