This is a short post about an unexpected refund that we received from American Airlines. It comes with a lesson – don’t be bashful about submitting your canceled AA tickets through the AA Refunds site and seeing what happens. You might just get lucky!
The short version of our story is this: We received a full refund on a round-trip AA ticket, presumably due to a schedule change of >4 hours on our “return” flight – even though the schedule change didn’t occur until after we had canceled our ticket and after our “outbound” flight had flown.
As readers of some of our earlier posts know, we had round-trip tickets originating in Europe consisting of the following segments:
- “Outbound” leg: 7/4/2020 – Paris (CDG) to DFW
- “Return” leg: 8/28/2020 – DFW to Dublin (DUB)
We kept waiting and hoping for a cancellation or schedule change to this itinerary that would allow us to receive a full refund on these tickets (rather than a time-limited AA voucher). But, AA continued to doggedly fly a plane between DFW and CDG each day beginning in early June (despite load factors around 10% as best we could tell), and there were no changes to either leg of our flight as we approached our original July 4 departure date. With a few hours left before our flight, we canceled our tickets online.
At that point, we simply assumed that we’d have an AA voucher in the amount we paid for our tickets, under AA’s coronavirus policy. The voucher would be good through 12/31/2021.
However, after our “outbound” leg had already flown, AA made a schedule change of about 6 hours to our “return” DFW-DUB flight.
At this point, we decided to take a flyer – we’d submit our tickets to the AA Refunds site and see if we’d receive a refund based on the DFW-DUB schedule change. We weren’t optimistic, but we figured we had nothing to lose.
But lo and behold … a few days later we received an email from AA that we would receive a full refund!
This was great news. The tickets were paid fare business class tickets for about $2,800 each. We were very happy to not have this amount tied up in an AA voucher that would have to be used by the end of 2021!
There’s one more twist to the story, which also worked out well. We had booked the tickets through the Chase Travel Portal and paid with Ultimate Rewards (UR) points (at 1.5 cents per UR point since we hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve card). We received the UR points back into our Ultimate Rewards account within a few days, automatically and without any additional effort on our part.
In summary, our timeline looked like this:
- July 3 – We canceled our round-trip AA ticket online
- July 4 – Our “Outbound” CDG-DFW leg actually flew, on time and without incident
- July 5 – AA loaded a schedule change of 6 hours to our “return” DFW-DUB flight
- July 8 – We submitted the ticket to the AA Refunds site
- July 17 – We received an email from AA letting us know that we would receive a full refund
- July 22 – The Chase UR points for the refunded ticket were automatically re-deposited into our Ultimate Rewards account
We were very happy to get a full refund – unexpectedly – on this pricey ticket. For those who have had to cancel travel on AA because of the coronavirus, it’s worth a shot to submit your ticket to the AA Refunds site – especially if you know that there has been a schedule change or cancellation on one or more of your flights.
Have any Middle Age Miles readers had similar experiences? Please share your data points with us and other readers in the Comments!
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