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 Economy||Not permitted|
|Non-refundable||$0; fare difference may apply|
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.
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.
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).
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 Economy||Not 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|
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.
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.
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.
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 cancellation 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.
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.