Is this traveler asking for a $300 refund for a fee American never charged?

Sandie Knopf redeposits miles into her American Airlines account. She asks for help in getting the redeposit fee refunded. How can our advocates help?

Question: My husband and I had to cancel our trip to Europe because my husband had to have open heart surgery. I deposited the American Airlines AAdvantage miles I used to book the trip, back into my account.

The American agent I spoke to said there was a $300 redeposit fee. But, she said that If I wrote a letter asking for a refund of the fee, and included a doctor’s letter regarding the surgery, American may waive the fee.

I wrote a letter to American over a month ago and have yet to hear from them. Do you have any other suggestions for me, or should I keep calling and writing them? — Sandie Knopf, Woodland Hills, Calif.

Answer: I’m sorry that your husband became ill and that you had to cancel your trip. We wish him a speedy recovery.

When you learned that you and your husband couldn’t travel, you did the right thing by contacting American to redeposit the miles for the unused and unexpired tickets. The American agent you spoke to explained that the AAdvantage terms and conditions allow for the airline to collect a processing fee for reinstating miles. In this instance, the fee was $150 per person. The agent was helpful and suggested that you ask the airline to make an exception for your husband’s illness and waive the processing fee, which you did.

When you didn’t hear back from American, you thought that your request had been ignored. At this point, you could have tried to escalate your request by contacting the airline’s executives for help. We list executive contact information for American Airlines on our website. And, you could have posted your question to our help forums. Our help forums are staffed by travel industry experts, who may have had helpful suggestions about how you could continue to pursue your request with the airline.

Related story:   An American Airlines agent switched my ticket to a different airport and forgot to tell me

When our advocates contacted American on your behalf, it confirmed that your reimbursement request had been received, but it didn’t have a record of you paying the fee. Our advocates asked you for a receipt, but you couldn’t find any record of having been charged either. The problem with your reimbursement request was that you had never been charged for the fee.

It appears that American was compassionate and waived the charge at the time you redeposited the miles into your account. You didn’t realize that and understood that you had been charged, and would need to seek reimbursement. Our American Airlines contact informed us that he had spoken to you and that you confirmed that you had not been charged. You apologized for the misunderstanding and for wasting our time. You didn’t waste our time, as we consider it to be a learning experience for other travelers. We’re glad that we could help resolve this for you.

Diane Perera

Diane and her family love to travel, and they do so as much as they can. Having experienced the downside of travel, and having learned so much from Elliott.org, led Diane to become an advocate and to help fight the good fight. Read more of Diane's articles here.

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