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It is possible to avoid American Airlines phone booking fees if you know the award booking rules. The AA phone booking fee is $25 per ticket for awards that you have to call in to book. These tickets include Iberia, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines. So, how do you avoid this $25 phone booking fee?
It is important to know these two American Airline award rules:
American Airlines does not charge a fee when changing your date of departure when you keep your origin and destination the same.
They also do not charge a fee if you switch Oneworld partners. For example, switching from AA to JAL or CX does not incur a fee because they are all Oneworld partners. However, switching from AA to Hawaiian Airlines incurs a fee because Hawaiian is a partner airline, but not a Oneworld partner airline.
Here’s an example that I recently performed for someone. I wanted to book a ticket on Japan Airlines, but didn’t want to pay the $25 service fee. Therefore, I did the following:
- Searched BA.com for JAL availability. I was lucky to find a date where AA and JAL were flying business class.
- Called the Aadvantage desk to verify JAL availability.
- Booked a business class ticket on LAX-NRT on AA metal on AA.com
- Quickly called the Aadvantage center after booking the ticket and even before the ticket was officially issued. I asked the agent to switch from AA to JAL on the same date.
- My ticket was booked for JAL without incurring the $25 AA phone booking fee.
I was able to do this method to avoid American Airlines phone booking fees. I am sure that this method would also work for Cathay Pacific, but AA currently does not fly to HKG until DFW-HKG starts flying. You should be able to book an AA ticket from LAX-DFW-HKG, then switch to LAX-HKG on Cathay Pacific. I’m sure there are other ways you can use this trick. Hopefully this trick helps you save a few dollars.