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Airline frequent flier fees and rules

By Emily Starbuck Gerson

The airline industry is changing, and frequent flier award tickets are no longer free. Here is a chart of fees you can expect to pay if you plan to cash in your air miles. Click on the tab for your airline.

American Airlines

Award processing fee
(fee for cashing in miles):
$5 for online bookings only
Service fee
(based on how you redeem award):
Free if online, $20 if on the phone, $30 if in person
Quick ticketing fee: If you book travel 7-20 days prior to departure, $50 fee. If booked 2 hours to 6 days prior, $100 fee. When multiple awards are claimed at same time, each additional award is subject to $25 fee.
If you want a paper ticket: n/a
Fees for changing dates, times and reissuing tickets: $150
Redeposit fee (if you don't use your award ticket and want the points credited back to your account): $150
Preservation fee: n/a
Reactivation fee: n/a
Standby fee: n/a
Fuel surcharge: n/a
Partner handling fee (if you fly any leg of the trip with a partner carrier): n/a
Express delivery fee: n/a
Expiration: Will not expire unless you do not redeem or earn any miles for 18 months.
Annual fee: Citi MasterCard and AmEx: $0 for 12 months; $85 thereafter. Citi Business MasterCard: $0 for 12 months; $75 thereafter. Citi debit card: $65. Nonco-branded Citi card: $0.

See related: Is it time to cash in your frequent flier miles?, The evolution of frequent flier cards and programs

Published: August 12, 2008

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