Early last year American Airlines eliminated telephone booking fees in connection to award bookings that included airlines not bookable on the AA web site. This was a great move by American considering that less than half of their partners, including many of their most popular ones, are available for online bookings.
The current AA partners whose award flights are currently not bookable on the AA web site are the following:
- Cathay Pacific
- Malaysia Airlines
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Fiji Airways
- Gulf Air
- Jet Airways
- Seaborne Airlines
For the first few months after this change was implemented, I noticed that almost every time I called AA to complete an award booking that included flights on partner airlines not available online they would still try to collect a telephone booking fee. Usually it was easy to convince them that AA was no longer collecting said fee. However, on occasions the intervention of a supervisor was required.
As time went on, the number of times AA has tried to collect a telephone booking fee when they were not supposed to has decreased significantly. Nonetheless, more than a year later, I would say that they still try to do it about half the time.
I understand that it takes time for their agents to get used to changes such as this one, but a year should have been enough. Most of our readers would notice every time AA incorrectly tries to collect this fee. However, I have to imagine that AA has incorrectly collected a telephone booking fee many many times on bookings completed by more novice travelers. If this has happened to you, please note that you are entitled to a full refund of said fee.
Despite eliminating telephone booking fees in connection to awards that included airlines not bookable on the AA web site, American Airlines still constantly tries to collect this fee. Therefore, whenever completing an award booking by telephone that includes flights on AA partners not bookable online, make sure that among the taxes and fees they are not including any booking fees.