Rookie Misplay #2 – Changing Award Travel Plans
With the upcoming Hilton changes on March 28th, I wanted to go ahead and book the portions of the Japan trip that I could. Specifically the Hilton four night AXON award at Conrad Tokyo, the two free weekend night Citibank Hilton Category 1-7 reward stay, and the flight home on American Airlines.
You can read more about how I initially booked the trip, but what I didn’t mention in that post is that I had backed the trip up by a week. When planning a few months ago I looked at availability on American Airlines from Tokyo and it showed plenty for the week I was interested in. When I went to book that flight last week, there was no availability that entire week! Seemed odd, but I figured maybe award seats ran out and that was it. So I booked a week later with no problems and booked my Hilton stay as well. Earlier this week I checked the American Airlines site again, and the entire week I had wanted was suddenly available again!
I had heard things in passing online about people changing award travel, but wasn’t sure if it was possible. Turns out it is! It’s also fairly easy! The rules for American Airlines award travel changes allow you to change the date for free as long as it is not within 21 days of the ticket. If it is within 21 days, it is $75. For big changes in origin/destination it is $150. I called American Airlines and was told there were 3 business class seats left on the flight I wanted to switch to and there would be no fee whatsoever to change. I then called Hilton, and while it was a complicated 45 minute phone call, all 6 nights I had booked were eventually moved up a week for free as well!
The Hilton phone call was complicated in that for AXON awards you have to speak to the Diamond desk. The first two reps I spoke with were unable to change that stay – but did change the two weekend night stay. The final rep was able to change the AXON award stay for me too.
The moral of the story is that award travel is able to be changed – sometimes very easily and for free! I think for my future trip if the dates I want is not available I will try a little harder before booking a second choice.