With winter storm Niko heading towards the east coast, this is a quick reminder that you can use winter (and other) storms to your aadvantage. I once again used the method below to redeposit two AA award itineraries that I no longer wanted. Remember, the original itinerary has to be ticketed prior to the waiver period (found on AA.com), but agents often don’t check when the updated itinerary is ticketed. You may have to HUACA if you do receive an agent that actually looks at the re-ticketing date. Full details on the method in the original post below:
Yesterday I posted about my plan to rebook an award flight in the height of the blizzard with the hope that the flight would be canceled and our miles redeposited fee free. Well, I’m happy to report that it worked! Two days ahead of the storm and only hours after the changed flight was ticketed, the Tuesday morning flight was canceled and within minutes AA had placed the miles back in our account! In fact, they canceled the flight so early that I was able to call in before things got crazy, waiting less than two minutes to talk to an agent. Since the flight was canceled there was no redeposit fee and all taxes were refunded back to the original credit card.
Why go through all this? From yesterday’s post:
We were originally scheduled to travel during Christmas week for our annual AA Caribbean award trip. However, for the first time ever during a planned trip, I got very sick and we had to cancel the flights. AA has one of the most generous award change policies – they do not charge any fees to change award tickets as long as the origin and destination and award type remain the same. Changes to airlines, dates, times, and routings are allowed. However, if you change the origin, destination, or award type there is a change fee. Additionally, if you wish to redeposit your miles there is a redeposit fee. Both fees are $150 for the first passenger and $25 for each additional passenger on the same record. Given such a generous policy, AA was unwilling to waive the fees for this Platinum member, even with a doctor’s note.
The problem for us with the above policy is that the only other time all four family members can travel is President’s Week. However, AA has no inventory in our originally booked fare buckets for President’s Week and the validity for the tickets will expire prior to next Christmas. Sine we all used miles from our own accounts, the redeposit fee would be $500.
Snow to the rescue! There was the potential for a decently sized snow event in NYC earlier this week but it never materialized. It got me thinking though… as the season continued I’d try moving our flights to a day when a major snow storm was predicted (granted the original inventory would have to be available) but before a travel waiver was issued. Well, not even 24 hours later there was already buzz around the potential for a big storm in NYC this coming week. I woke up early this morning (before any of the airlines had issued travel waivers and before the official blizzard warning was issued by the National Weather Service) and verified award availability for all four passengers online. I then called AA to re-book our flights for this Tuesday morning. It worked!
AA, B6, and DL have since issued waivers for travel this coming Monday or Tuesday (I wanted to have our trip booked before that as I didn’t want an agent thinking it was strange that I was booking a trip smack in the middle of a blizzard).
We are now ticketed and we’ll wait to see if the flight gets canceled. If the flight is canceled or significantly delayed, we’ll be entitled to a refund for the ticket (which in this case includes a redeposit of our miles). If the flight is not canceled, nothing is lost as we’ll be back in the same situation we were before and we will once again have the opportunity to rebook or redeposit for a fee.
Be polite to your fellow travelers who actually have legitimate flights during the storm. If you plan to call in during this time, use Skype and call one of the overseas call centers!