How To Cancel an American Airlines Flight [Points or Cash Ticket]

American Airlines Tail Fins

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Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control that can put a dent into our travel plans. The process of canceling a flight can be both expensive and complicated.

If you happened to book your flight with American Airlines and need to cancel, you’re in the right place! Here’s all the information you need to navigate its cancellation policy and determine what policies apply to your situation.

Cancellation Policies Due to COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can now make 1 change to your trip and the change fee will be waived. You can cancel your trip online and rebook at a later date, including basic economy.

The change fee is currently waived for American flights bought between March 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021.

American has also eliminated all change fees for first, business, premium economy, and main cabin (excluding basic economy) tickets on domestic and short-haul international flights for tickets issued on or after August 31, 2020, and for all long-haul international flights originating in North or South America for tickets issued on or after November 19, 2020.

American is waiving change fees on new international tickets originating outside North or South America bought between April 1, 2021, and May 31, 2021, for all travel dates.

View the full policy here. If you booked via a third party, refer to your booking provider for its policies.

As of November 11, 2020, American Airlines has eliminated all cancel, change, and redeposit fees on award tickets.

With cancellation policies due to COVID-19 being ever-changing, for the most up-to-date policies across all airlines, please refer to our article detailing COVID-19 airline cancellation policies.

American’s Cancellation Policy: Flights Paid With Cash or Points

All customers have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to cancel their reservation without being charged a cancellation fee, regardless of the fare selected.

Ticket Type Cancellation Fee
Basic economyNot permitted
Non-refundable$200 for domestic flights and up to $750 for international flights depending on fare class
Refundable$0
Award ticket$0

Basic Economy Ticket

American Airlines will not allow you to cancel a basic economy ticket unless it is canceled within 24 hours from the time it was purchased. However, there are some circumstances where you can cancel and request a refund: if American changes your flight schedule by 61 minutes or more, if you have military orders, or (very morbidly) if you or your traveling companion dies.

Non-Refundable Ticket

For domestic flights, American charges a $200 cancellation fee on paid fares, and up to $750 for international flights depending on the fare class.

After you pay the cancellation fee, you can apply the unused value of your American Airlines ticket toward a future trip as long as your new trip begins no later than 1 year from the ticket’s original issue date, and you canceled the original ticket before the departure of the first flight.

Hot Tip: Non-refundable tickets can still be refunded in the event of the death of the passenger or passenger’s traveling companion or because of military orders. Supporting documentation is required.

Refundable Ticket

If you’ve purchased a refundable ticket, cancellations can be made anytime before the departure of your flight and the refund will be issued to your original credit card within 7 days (it should appear on your statement in 1 to 2 billing cycles).

Award Ticket

As of November 11, 2020, American Airlines has eliminated all cancel and redeposit fees on award tickets.

Hot Tip: Looking for even more information about canceling award tickets? Explore our guide on canceling award tickets, including information on over 30 carriers, to learn more.

American’s Flight Change Policy

As with cancellations, all customers will have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to change their reservation without being charged a fee, regardless of the fare selected.

Further, American does not charge change fees for all domestic flights, as well as those to select short-haul international destinations, including between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ticket Type Change Fee
Basic economyNot permitted for domestic flights and up to a $750 fee for international flights
Domestic and short-haul international tickets (excluding basic economy)$0
Long-haul international tickets originating in North America or South America$0
All other long-haul routes$750
Refundable$0
Award ticket$0

Basic Economy

American does not allow flight changes for those with basic economy tickets within the U.S., Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean. American does allow changes if you’re flying between the U.S. and Europe for a fee of up to $750.

Domestic & Short-Haul International Tickets

American Airlines has eliminated all change fees for first, business, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin tickets for all domestic and short-haul international flying on all tickets, excluding basic economy.

Long-Haul International Tickets (North or South America)

American has eliminated change fees for first, business, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin tickets for all long-haul international flights originating in North or South America for tickets excluding basic economy.

All Other Long-Haul Routes

All other long-haul routes not mentioned above are subject to changes fees of $750.

*American is waiving change fees on new international tickets originating outside North or South America bought between April 1, 2021, and May 31, 2021, for all travel dates.

Refundable Ticket

If you’ve purchased a refundable ticket you can make changes to your itinerary without needing to pay any additional fees. If you’re changing to a more expensive option, you will need to pay the difference in price. If you’re changing to a cheaper flight, the difference in fare will be refunded to your original method of payment.

Award Ticket

As of November 11, 2020, American Airlines has eliminated all change and redeposit fees on award tickets.

How To Cancel a Flight on American

Step 1: Log into your account on American’s homepage and select Your trips / Check in.

American Airlines My Trips
Image Credit: American Airlines

Step 2: Once you’ve selected the trip you want to cancel, select Cancel Booking.

Step 3: The next screen will ask you to confirm that you want to cancel your booking. After you click confirm then your booking will officially be canceled and you’ll receive a voucher for any remaining funds after any potential cancelation fees.

How To Use an American Travel eVoucher

You can retrieve your eVoucher number and PIN number by clicking on the link sent to you via email. On the payment screen, enter both the eVoucher number and PIN number exactly as they appear on the retrieval page.

You may use up to 8 eVouchers at one time. If the total price of the ticket exceeds the value of your eVouchers, you may use a credit card for any remaining balance.

How To Use an American Trip Credit

Recently, American Airlines introduced Trip Credits as its method for compensating customers after canceling their tickets and these are set to replace the old eVoucher method.

When you cancel a ticket, Trip Credits are automatically generated and sent by email for the unused value of a ticket (minus any fees). Similar to eVouchers, your Trip Credits have a ticket number and are valid for 1 year from the date of issue.

The 1 large caveat to the program is that any eVouchers you still have are not combinable with Trip Credits, and you cannot use both during the same purchase.

To redeem your Trip Credit you’ll need to contact the American Airlines Reservations department and provide them with your canceled ticket number to rebook. You may use up to 8 Trip Credits at 1 time. If the total price of the ticket exceeds the value of your Trip Credits, you may use a credit card for any remaining balance.

Final Thoughts

In summary, if you’re worried that you may need to cancel your flight and want to make sure you can get a refund, a refundable ticket is going to be your best, albeit more expensive, option.

Having to deal with canceling a flight can be difficult enough as it is, but knowledge is power (as are cards that provide compensation). Be certain to review fare rules closely so that you know what your options are both at the time of booking and if you end up needing to cancel.


Frequently asked questions

What happens if I cancel my American flight?

That depends on what fare type you’ve purchased and whether or not you’ve purchased a refundable ticket.

If you’ve purchased a basic economy ticket, you are not permitted to cancel the ticket for a refund after the 24-hour grace period from when your ticket was purchased.

If you have a non-refundable ticket you will be required to pay $200 for domestic tickets and international ticket fees range from $200 to $750 (depending on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare). Afterward, you will receive the remainder of your fare, minus the fee, in the form of an eVoucher for use on a future American flight.

If you have a refundable ticket, you can cancel anytime before the departure of your flight and you will be reimbursed on your original method of payment.

Can I cancel an American flight within 24 hours?

Yes, all customers will have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to cancel their reservation without being charged a cancellation fee, regardless of the fare selected.

What happens if you cancel a non-refundable American flight?

To cancel a non-refundable ticket you will be required to pay between $200 and $750 depending on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare. The remaining fare will be given to you as an eVoucher for future use on an American flight.

When do American eVouchers expire?

Your eVoucher will expire exactly 1 year after its issue date.

Will American waive my cancellation fees?

A waive of fees really will depend on your reason for canceling the flight. If it’s due to an immediate family member’s death or sickness or military orders, American may waive your cancellation fees, but they may ask for proof.

If you believe you have a legitimate reason to have your cancellation fees waived then it never hurts to call and ask!

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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