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 unlimited changes to your trip and the change fee will be waived (you are only responsible for paying the fare difference). You can cancel your trip online and rebook at a later date, excluding Basic Economy.

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 anywhere in the world for tickets issued on or after November 19, 2020 (view the full policy).

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.

Hot Tip: 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$0; fare difference may apply
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 4 hours 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 no cancellation fee on paid fares, and no fee for international flights.

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 any flight
Domestic and short-haul international tickets (excluding Basic Economy)$0; fare difference may apply
Long-haul international tickets (excluding Basic Economy)$0; fare difference may apply
Refundable$0
Award ticket$0

Basic Economy

American does not allow flight changes for those with Basic Economy tickets, departing from any destination.

Domestic and 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

American has eliminated change fees for first, business, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin tickets for all long-haul international flights originating in any country, excluding Basic Economy.

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
You can cancel your American flight on AA.com. 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 1 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 — 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 not be charged any change fee. You will receive the canceled ticket value in the form of an eVoucher or Trip Credit 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 can cancel without any change fee and the value will be given to you as an eVoucher or Trip Credit 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 it 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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19 comments

  1. Carol Easton May 15, 2021

    Asked a question above and after checking “I am not a robot”, I tried to submit the comment and it would not go through?

    Reply

    • Hi Carol,

      Apologies that the website was giving you issues! I do not see any other pending comments under your name, but feel free to reply to this comment and I’ll be happy to help answer your question.

      Reply

  2. Paulette K. Uvino June 7, 2021

    I am writing on behalf of my husband who did book a trip through Travelocity and because of his ongoing health issues that are still to be determined, we had to cancel our trip. We were told to contact American Airlines directly as it is Flight 382 from Boston, June 14, 2021. We would like to see if we change the date of the ticket and NOT cancel the ticket, is that possible? We have NOT canceled this flight as we would hope to go to Aruba when the doctor gives his approval for future travel. We can provide a doctor’s letter for the delay of trip if needed. My husband has been to the hospital 2 x in the past 3 months with more symptoms being looked into. YAMURF confirmation for Sam H. Uvino & Paulette Uvino leaving June 14, 2021. Please consider this request & where to send doctor’s letter.

    Reply

  3. “However, there are some circumstances where you can cancel and request a refund: if American changes your flight schedule by 61 minutes or more” This isn’t true. It is now 4 hours!

    Reply

  4. How long does one have to rebook a cancelled ticket? I can’t easily find that info.

    Is it one year from the purchase date?

    FYI, Air Canada is two years from purchase date. (I could find that easily)

    Reply

  5. Karolien De Wilde July 15, 2021

    I booked a ticket to fly from Frankfurt to San Francisco, with American Airlines, last summer (2020). As we were not allowed to fly, I rebooked my ticket for this summer, I was supposed to fly on July 24. The Airline has changed the flights a few times, but never more than 4 hours. But I am not allowed to fly, the USA does not allow tourists to fly. So now I would like to cancel and get a refund. Am I entitled? It is very unclear, our travel agency in Germany says American Airlines does not refund the tickets. But it is beyond our will that we cannot fly. Thank for your help.

    Reply

    • Hi Karolien,

      Usually, American charges up to a $750 cancelation fee for international flights depending on the fare class, and then any residual value of your ticket is reserved as an eVoucher for future travel. That said, have you contacted the American Airlines customer service team and explained your situation? They might be able to work with you to either refund or change your flight to another date in the future.

      Reply

  6. I am trying to change an existing reservation on the American Airlines website. I want to change my outbound day from STL to LGA from July 23, 2021, to July 25, 2021. I do not want to change my return flight on July 27th. There is a ‘button’ for me to select that says “change trip.” I select that option and then I can choose which flight(s) I want to change. At this point, you are required to select ‘from’ and ‘to’ destinations as well as my new travel date. I do all of that and select ‘continue.’ I keep getting the message “We couldn’t find a match” even though I know there are flights on 7/25 from STL to LGA. In the meantime I have been on hold with AA customer service for 4 hours and 45 minutes – I can’t get through to speak with a representative.

    Reply

  7. melissa bennett July 23, 2021

    I had to cancel a flight due to ID issues and I was told I could cancel and get a full refund but then they told me they would give me a voucher. So I was lied to by one operator and now I have 400 dollars wasted that I can’t ever use. They wouldn’t even let me use my credit to get my son a ticket instead.

    Reply

  8. When I attempted to cancel my reservation, I got this message: “The value of your ticket is safe. Please wait until you are ready to rebook to contact your travel agent, booking source or the airline that made your reservation.”

    Nothing on this page indicates what this means. Does this mean I do not need to cancel my reservation?

    Reply

  9. My original American Airlines flight from BGI (Barbados) to YYZ (Toronto) was:
    Aug 23 BGI -> MIA (405pm – 755 pm)
    Aug 24 MIA -> YYZ (149 pm – 504pm)

    However, they’ve now changed my second flight on the 24th so that I reach YYZ at 10:35 pm (flight schedule difference of more than 4 hours, I think?). Does this qualify for me to be able to cancel and request a refund for my basic economy ticket?

    Reply

    • Hi Carey,

      If the flight times were changed by more than 4 hours then you should be able to request a full refund per AA’s refund policy, even if it is a basic economy ticket.

      Reply

      • My nonstop international flight has been changed by AA into a connecting flight via NYC.
        The original departure time was 4.20 pm, arrival time 6:10 am the following day. I am now booked on a dept time at 1:40 pm, arr time 7:40 am the next day. Overall the new travel time will take more than 4 hours, due to the connecting flight. This is a non-refundable premium eco flight, may I request a full refund? Thanks for the advice.

        Reply

  10. Are the cancellations additive? I was cancelled and rebooked 4 times in 1 day. Each cancellation was for about an hour and a half. Totally the cancellation for the day was about 7 hours.

    Reply

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