Are the rules for refunding points with no fees different from paid tixs

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by newbluesea, May 29, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    My wife (Plat) booked two award tixs to SFO connecting in DFW later this year and AA changed the sked of just about every flight the biggest change was on the return where the time between the connections at DFW was reduced from 2hrs 20mins to 40 mins.

    Saw availibilty which suited her better so I called AA ( hoping to take advantage of the changes) trying to get them to cancel and rebook.
    Spoke to three different agents and was told every instance that the free refund for award tix were for 120+ mins change as opposed to 59 mins for a paid intinerary. Is this correct, a change? I had always thought they were the same:(

    Of course they were unable (or unwilling) to provide any documentation on aa.com or upon my request
    for rules that one can actually find on delta.com

    Edited to add that the header should read "miles" instead of points
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Why delta.com? Isn't this a totally AA ticket with AA miles?

    Have you tried calling the elite line and saying that your wife is very concerned about such a tight connection in DFW, especially since SFO gets fogged in a lot, maybe say wife can't walk so fast easily, and just ask them to make the change (without you mentioning or appealing to any rule with a threshold for changes)? Explain that this was why you initially booked the flights with such a long connection in DFW. Say wife doesn't want to be stranded late at night for an unplanned overnight at DFW if there's a risk of missing the last flight of the day. Ask for a supervisor if you suspect that the agent doesn't have the authority to make exceptions.

    I tend to do well with this approach to Delta, although as one of their top tier elites (DM). I just politely explain why what I want to do is very reasonable and ask if they can help.

    Alternatively, if Plat gets a discounted change fee or if it's reasonable, why not just pick and change to the desired flights? It could be worth paying a small amount for this, even if in principle you shouldn't have to do so.
     
  3. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Ok let me clarify.
    1) The call was placed to the EXP line (my status)
    2) Her SFO flight departed about 0800 am and since she was travelling with an older relative she asked me (I did the original booking) to make a bit longer lay over to give some cushion and alleviate related stress for:
    a) Weather delay for SFO fog
    b) Weather in the DFW area
    and c) Most important.. enough time to have lunch since they were not going to reach home in Tampa until well after 900 pm and since they were travelling in coach there would be no meal service.
    3) There was no Milesaver inventory available in both coach or F (Labour day weekend??) after the sked change to satisfy the above conditions and even when escalating to supervisior it was a no go.
    4) That is why I tried the approach of cancelling the ticket and booking out of SJC where there were seats available, but I was told cancelling and rebookling would entail the $150 redeposit of miles.
    5) The mention of delta.com was solely to bring attention to fact that AA was unable/unwilling to provide any written rules governing schedule charges made by their reservations system.

    Plus I just wanted to know if the rules are different for paid vs award tickets.
     
  4. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    The closest flights that I could find to the times you cited are AA 1318, leaves SFO at 10:25, arrives DFW 3:50 PM, continuing as AA 1318 departs DFW 4:45 PM arrives TPA 8:05 PM. While it isn't 100%, chances are that this is the same aircraft and same gate. If that is the case, it takes a lot of the stress out.

    They could buy food at SFO to take on the plane with them, and eat it on either flight.

    To tell you the truth, I always thought it was 120 minutes schedule change for a paid flight to get free changes. You can also keep an eye on MileSAAver availability as it gets closer to the flight dates.
     
  5. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Kind of off-topic, but related: my biggest frustration since switching from UA to AA has been with their inability or unwillingness to be helpful with my wife. I am EXP and my wife has no status. They could gain a lot of goodwill with me if they were willing to make an effort to make my wife's travel more comfortable.

    It's not the end of the world, but my wish list might include (for spouse, partner or even immediate family):
    - fee-free changes to award itineraries (applicable in this situation)
    - ability to give status (maybe gold)
    - ability to upgrade using stickers from my account
     
  6. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Isn't the ability to gift status on United part of promotions only, and not an actual coded benefit of being 1K/GS on UA? If that's the case AA has done the same in the past in terms of offering a status gift.

    As for fee-free changes and the ability to use stickers for spouses (obviously UA is on UDU now), as far as I can tell, UA doesn't offer this either. It doesn't seem UA offers anything you've listed as a permanent feature. Have I missed something here? I'm not the most enlightened on the UA program to be honest, so I'm genuinely curious to know.

    Are you actually frustrated with the difference between the two programs, or wishing for something new?
     
  7. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Yes those were the flights they were rebooked on the connection is 50mins (not 40 min.. my mistake).
    We had already decided on the SFO food option you suggested.

    Those of us who fly regularly get accustomed to sked changes but it is fustrating when a trip is planned well in advance to make it less stressful for the infrequent fllyers and then along comes a sked change and the attitude of the carrier is "tough luck ...take it or its going cost you"

    I had thought that for some time now the timeframe where one could cancel FOC was 60 mins and that appears to be correct according to the CSRs I spoke to (assuming they were giving the right info) but based on what I was told in the case of award tickets that change has to be in excess of 120 mins ( although one CSR told me 90 mins:))
    I suppose the frustrating part of all this is that one has no idea whether the correct info is being given and there are no published rules that one can base a disagreement on.

    Lets face it sked changes are not some secret program phenomenon ala Million-miler so it shouldnt be too difficult to provide the governing rules to the pax consdering these changes are solely at the whim and fancy of AA all this bearing in mind that AA appeaers to have more sked changes that any other carrier.
     
  8. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    Can't speak to the current situation at UA, but in the past I was able to gift Premier to my wife. As a result, she always got E+ and often got upgrades. Also frequently had no problem making changes to itineraries for her that used miles out of my account without fees. Perhaps they weren't supposed to, but the attitude always seemed more willing. When I call AA, the response I always get is, "If you're not traveling with her, we can't help." Again, perhaps this is just bad customer service roulette (or exceptionally good roulette at UA).

    In any case, the bigger point is that this has been one of the only frustrations I've had with AA and it is a way they could endear themselves to me further (and, perhaps more importantly, endear themselves to my wife). At the end of the day, I'm very happy with my switch to AA and my wife thinks it has been a step down.
     
  9. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    1. You can gift Gold status to your wife, or anybody else you want. It costs 2400 BusinessExtrAA points.
    2. You can upgrade your wife using your stickers when she is traveling with you. If you gift her Gold status (see above) she can upgrade herself using her own stickers on any flight.
     
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  10. ChicagoEric
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    ChicagoEric Silver Member

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    I don't think I can earn BusinessExtrAA points on an AAirpass - I think my company gets them. Interesting idea, though...
     
  11. gemac
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    gemac Silver Member

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    I suspect you're right - didn't know you only flew on AAirpass. The BusinessExtrAA award can be given to anybody, so if you know anyone who acquires 2400 BusinessExtrAA points per year, it might be possible to induce them to turn your wife Gold.
     
  12. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    If the flight isn't until later this year I'd wait it out a bit. Keep a watch on Milesaver availability as gemac suggested. Depending how far out it is, for all you know AA could change the schedule on you yet again - for better or worse.

    I'll say that AA doesn't do well in at least some areas of publishing clear rules... take a look at the All-partner award thread on FT - lots of back and forth, and pulling together folks' individual experiences to try and divine the various rules and restrictions. My last All-partner booking would've been a lot more of a hassle had I not picked up some good tips on that thread. (And the other airlines are by no means perfect either, in some areas)
     
  13. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    Fortunately I haven't had a major paid ticket schedule change but award ticket wise I was told the change has to be 3+ hours to justify refunding the miles or changing airports (even co-terminals) w/o a fee.
     

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