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      How to Cancel or Change an American Airlines Flight (Cash & Points Tickets) in 2024

      Josh Patoka
      How to Cancel an American Airlines Flight

      Plans periodically change for unforeseen reasons, and you may need to cancel or change your American Airlines flight. Depending on the ticket type and situation, you can usually receive a refund or flight credit without paying extra fees. 

      As you probably booked your flight several weeks or months ago, it might seem like your rebooking options are limited. That’s not necessarily the case as you will see in our guide for changing American Airlines flights.

      American Airlines Cancellation Policy

      You can cancel an American Airlines flight purchase within the first 24 hours of booking if the scheduled departure is at least 48 hours away. All eligible tickets, including basic economy, receive a refund (minus non-refundable taxes and phone-support reservations service fees). 

      After the 24-hour flight cancellation window closes, the cancellation policy mostly depends on if you have a refundable or nonrefundable ticket. Your fare class can also play a factor.

      American Airlines Flight Credit vs. Trip Credit

      If you can’t receive a cash or points refund, you can be eligible for travel credits instead. The credit can be used to book another flight but cannot be used for extra fees or award bookings. Which credit you receive depends on when you cancel your flight and the itinerary type.

      Flight Credit Details
      Credit ValueThe entire itinerary value as you cancel before travel begins.
      Expiration Date1 year from the original ticket date
      Redemption OptionsCan be used for non-award domestic flights only. No extra fees qualify.
      Maximum Credit Per Redemption– 1 Flight Credit per passenger on 
      – Contact reservations to redeem multiple credits.
      American Airlines Flight Credit Information
      Trip Credit Details
      Credit ValueThe remaining value for unused travel. Can also be issued for compensation and refunds.
      Expiration Date1 year from the issue date (unless otherwise listed)
      Redemption Options– Non-award bookings for domestic or international flights originating in select countries.
      – It cannot be used for extra fees like checked bags or upgrades.
      Maximum Credit Per Redemption– 8 Trip Credits for up to two passengers on 
      – Must contact reservations when there are more than two passengers.
      American Airlines Trip Credit Information

      Refundable Tickets

      Refundable tickets are eligible for a full refund if travel hasn’t begun yet. The remaining ticket portion can be refunded if your itinerary is already underway.

      The refund deposits back into the original payment method. For example, that can be your credit card for cash payments or your American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty account when paying with miles.

      Nonrefundable Tickets

      A nonrefundable ticket can receive a travel credit to be used within one year on American-operated flights if you don’t cancel within 24 hours of booking. Basic economy fares are excluded from receiving credits after the 24-hour refund period ends.

      American Airlines no longer charges change fees, but you must pay the price difference if your new ticket costs more than the flight credit value. 

      It’s only possible to receive a refund if the carrier changes the departure time by at least four hours, a traveler dies, or military orders prevent travel. 

      Canceling Basic Economy Flights

      American Airlines basic economy flights are not eligible for refunds or flight credit after the initial 24-hour booking window, except for a handful of situations. 

      For example, this entry-level fare class (and all nonrefundable American Airlines tickets) are eligible for a refund in these extenuating circumstances:

      • The airline cancels your flight
      • An airline-imposed schedule change of 4 hours or more
      • A passenger or their travel companion dies
      • Military orders require canceling your flight

      Supporting paperwork is required for death and military-related cancellations. 

      If you need to rebook, same-day standby can be available at extra cost. Travelers must find their flight details in the American app, on the American Airlines website, or visit a ticket counter to request a flight change.

      It’s best only to book this ticket type if you’re comfortable losing your money paid if an unforeseen event such as a personal illness or schedule conflict happens. Buying travel insurance may help you qualify for a refund under certain covered reasons.

      Further Reading: What to Do if Your Airline Cancels or Delays Your Flight

      Fare Errors

      American Airlines may automatically cancel and refund a mistake fare if they detect a fare error, computer error, or a third-party error. 

      A full refund can be issued within 72 hours after learning about the mistaken fare or at least 24 hours before departure if you buy a ticket within three days of departure. These examples are involuntary cancellations initiated by the airline and the passenger most likely won’t be able to reverse the outcome.

      Prohibited American Airlines Booking Practices

      Several practices may prevent you from canceling your flight or receiving compensation:

      • Automated re-shopping tools (travel agencies use advanced software to rebook tickets for the same cabin and flight and refund the difference to the passenger).
      • Purchasing a “hidden city fare” without planning on flying the entire route as it’s cheaper than booking an itinerary where your destination is the final stop.
      • Book duplicate or impossible trips  

      You can access the American Airlines Conditions of Carriage here to dive deeper into the terms and conditions.  

      American Airlines Cancellation Fee

      The airline no longer charges a cancellation fee for domestic or international flights. You won’t pay a reinstatement fee if you paid with American Airlines miles.

      American Airlines Change Fees

      You most likely won’t incur change fees besides paying the price difference if your rebooked flight is more expensive. 

      A one-time change fee can also apply in special situations:

      • Same-day flight change: Main cabin only. $75 for domestic, Canadian, and Caribbean travel. Up to $150 for flights between New York JFK and London Heathrow.
      • Assistance by Reservations: $50 for all cabin classes for voluntary trip changes. Use to potentially waive this fee by completing the changes yourself.
      • Airport ticket counter or Admirals Club-issued ticket: Main cabin only. $35 for travel within the U.S. and Canada.   
      • Tickets issued by American Airlines Travel Centers: Suspended until further notice (ticketing fees in Colombia may still be applicable).
      • Voluntary changes to tickets the day before travel: No change fees for travel beginning in North or South America. Up to $750 for travel beginning outside North or South America in all fare classes.

      American Airlines Refund Policy

      When your fare is eligible for a refund, the airline issues the refund to the original payment source and cannot be sent to a different person. As a result, cash payments get a cash refund, and award tickets are reimbursed in miles.

      Any unused refundable fare can be refunded up until the last minute in most cases. There is no refund fee, even when canceling award flights.

      Usually, nonrefundable fares will receive a travel credit redeemable for a future American Airlines flight. Passengers can only expect a cash refund after the initial 24 hours if the airline makes a significant schedule change, a death in the travel party occurs, or the passenger receives military orders. 

      If a refund isn’t issued automatically, you can submit a request form here within one year before your ticket expires. Filing a request online is easiest, but you can mail or fax your documentation as needed.

      Refunds from Third-Party Booking Sites

      If you booked your flight through an online booking site or travel agent, you must contact that platform to start the refund process. 

      As the refund process can be a hassle as you’re not dealing directly with American, you should inquire as soon as possible. It can take up to 12 weeks to receive your refund or flight credit, although most credit card refund process in seven days or less. 

      The Vacationer Tip

      We recommend booking flights directly with the airline as opposed to online travel agents (OTAs). It is especially important when you need to cancel or change your flight. Those who books flights through OTAs must contact the OTA for support, which complicates things. Booking directly with the American Airlines lets you skip the middleman and receive faster and better support.

      Nonrefundable Fees and Taxes

      When requesting a refund on tickets booked directly from American, you may not be automatically refunded for sales-imposed nonrefundable taxes and the service charge if you booked through Reservations. 

      Destination-specific taxes might be refundable. 

      Unfortunately, some taxes cannot be refunded whether or not you fly. 

      How to Cancel an American Airlines Flight

      You should cancel your flight as soon as possible to receive your refund or flight credit sooner to receive full credit. Canceling within the first 24 hours is best as you’ll most likely get a refund, even on nonrefundable fares.

      Contact the Airline

      Start by contacting American Airlines by logging into the app, website, or calling customer support. 

      Travelers that booked a flight through a third-party portal like Expedia or Hotwire should follow the cancellation instructions with their itinerary through the respective platform. You may need to contact the booking service instead of the airline.

      Confirm Cancellation

      Canceling American Airlines Flight


      If canceling your flight online, visit the “Your Trips/ Check-In” section of your American Airlines account. Next, select the itinerary and tap “Cancel Booking” and confirm your decision.

      You can also request a refund for seats, checked bags, and extras (pet fees, priority boarding, same-day flight change or standby) that you purchased but won’t use.

      Receive a Refund or Flight Credit

      Refundable, nonrefundable, and basic economy fares will receive a refund when canceled within 24 hours of booking. Close-in bookings confirmed within two days of departure might be ineligible for a refund.

      After the first 24 hours, refundable fares are still eligible for cash or points refunds. 

      Nonrefundable main cabin and premium cabin itineraries will receive one of the following travel credits valid for up to one year:

      • Flight Credit: A credit for unused or canceled tickets before travel starts. It’s valid for one year from the original ticket date.
      • Trip Credit: Receive a credit amount for the remaining value of a canceled itinerary after travel has begun. It expires one year from the issue date in most situations.

      As a reminder, basic economy fares are nonrefundable and non-changeable after the initial 24 hours. 

      American Airlines processes refunds within seven days to the original payment source. It can take up to 20 days to refund cash and check payments.

      How to Change an American Airlines Flight

      You will have up to a year to redeem any travel credits you receive after canceling a nonrefundable fare in the main cabin, business class, or first class. You may be able to change your travel dates instead of canceling, which can be less hassle.

      Log Into Your American Airlines Account

      Changing American Airlines Flight


      First, you will want to access your American Airlines account. If you want to reschedule instead of cancel, tap the “Change Flight” button for your desired itinerary.

      Otherwise, you can redeem your travel credit if it’s better to cancel upfront and reschedule when you’re ready to travel.

      Select a New Flight

      This flight-changing process tends to be easier for cash-paid tickets as you can enjoy a self-service experience. 

      If you’re trying to change an award flight, having to contact customer service is likely to apply your points accurately to another itinerary.

      Redeem Travel Credits

      Before confirming the changes, there is a prompt to redeem any American Airlines flight credit or trip credits. You can enter the credit’s 13-digit number and the airline verifies the expiration date and determines if the flight type qualifies.

      You will pay any remaining price differently after all eligible credits have been applied. In most scenarios, no change fees apply. 


      Does American Airlines refund tickets?

      American Airlines refunds any ticket purchase within 24 hours of the original purchase date, assuming the scheduled departure is at least 48 hours away is possible. Even basic economy tickets are eligible for refunds during the initial 24-hour period.

      Only refundable tickets paid for with cash or points are eligible for refunds after the initial 24 hours. Nonrefundable tickets in economy, premium economy, business class, and first class will receive a trip credit or flight credit. Basic economy tickets are non-changeable and ineligible for travel credits.

      Refunds for nonrefundable tickets and basic economy tickets are only issued for select involuntary cancellations like American Airlines-caused cancellations and rescheduling. 

      Does American Airlines charge cancellation fees?

      American Airlines no longer charges cancellation or mileage reinstatement fees. However, basic economy fares are ineligible for refunds or credits except for compelling reasons.

      Does American Airlines have free change fees?

      American Airlines doesn’t charge change fees other than the price difference for the replacement fare. Same-day and day-before-change fees can apply to select main cabin rebookings. Premium cabin fares are less likely to incur change fees.

      Can I cancel an American Airlines flight within 24 hours of booking?

      Yes, you can cancel an American Airlines flight within 24 hours of booking. That includes basic economy fares. The only exception is if you booked within 48 hours of takeoff.

      The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

      Changing or canceling an American Airlines flight can usually be accomplished by accessing your itinerary using the airline website or mobile app. However, you may need to call customer support for award flight adjustments and last-minute cancellations. 

      Refundable fares offer the most flexibility yet nonrefundable tickets in the main cabin or premium cabin usually receive a travel credit without change fees. 

      Additionally, nonrefundable and basic economy fares can be refunded during the first 24 hours if you find a better itinerary or change your mind. The cancellation and refund process is straightforward but you may need to act quickly to receive the most compensation.

      Further Reading:

      Josh Patoka The Vacationer Bio

      By Josh Patoka

      Josh Patoka writes about maximizing travel rewards for The Vacationer. As well, he contributes to several personal finance sites specializing in making money, paying off debt, and investing.