American Airlines Does Have A Heart

American Airlines
image: AA Newsroom

Earlier in 2016 I sadly had to call in to American Airlines and cancel an AA award to Fiji and Vanuatu. As tough as it was to cancel our flights it was for an awesome reason. It also opened the door to taking My First Father Son Trip to Poland with Lucas.

After cancelling an award flight, some of you may have wondered what happened to my miles?

I pretty much had two options:

  • Rebook our tickets for a future date
  • Pay a fee to have my miles reinstated to my AA account

I loved the idea of rebooking for a future date but the problem with this is that we’d have to fly by December 31, 2016 which wasn’t going to happen. I then figured that I’d have to pay the fee to have my miles reinstated.

I thought it over for a bit and then decided to reach out to American Airlines and asked if they could waive the fee since Kim couldn’t fly while pregnant. I was told that a fee waiver was possible but I needed to send in a doctor’s note etc…

I mailed in the doctor’s note and waited months for a response. I didn’t think much of it since we waited so long to get a response when Lucas’s stroller was broken.

Being that I waited already a few months, I decided to e-mail the same AA customer service agent to find out if my request was being processed. I was impressed to get a response within a few hours. However, she claimed to have not received the doctor’s note I had sent in!

In the e-mail I was told,

As a one-time courtesy, we will still consider waiving the fee to reinstate your miles on your award tickets… We’d like to review your request. In order to do so, we will need specific documentation. Please send documentation from your wife’s physician, on their letterhead or prescription pad, advising their recommendation that she not travel again due to her medical condition.”

Rather than mail in a copy of the doctor’s note again, I had the letter scanned and e-mailed it back in.

Just three days later I heard back from AA with some great news!

Thank you for sending us the information we requested…. In light of your circumstances, I have made an exception and authorized a reinstatement of the miles used for your award tickets, waiving the applicable reinstatement charge. You should be able to confirm this adjustment in a few weeks when reviewing your account via our website.”

I have to say that I was impressed by how quickly American Airlines responded to my e-mail. My mistake was mailing in a copy of the doctor’s note, which held up the process.

In the end, American Airlines showed that they do have a heart and not all rules are set in stone. Canceling our flight was painful enough (I’ve wanted to visit Fiji for a while), not having to pay the mile reinstatement fee of $200 ($150 for 1st ticket, $25 for each additional) made it a bit easier to stomach..

Have you ever canceled an award flight due to a medical reason? If so, did you ask the airline to waive the mile reinstatement fee?

4 thoughts on “American Airlines Does Have A Heart

  1. Yeah mailing is so unreliable so many steps in the chain its easy to get lost. Glad it got resolved relatively quickly though.

  2. My experience is that AA doesn’t give a rip about it’s passengers, frequent fliers or not. Customer service is dreadful and when problems do arise, they’re as responsive to acknowledging the problem as Baghdad Bob. Haven’t flown with them in 3 years and have no intention of doing so again.

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