Reader Question: American Airlines Screws Up Qatar Airlines Award – Who Is Responsible To Fix?


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about maddening award issue that he is facing due to American Airlines screw up.

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I have had a terrible 24 hours trying to modify my AA award.

My partner was booked and ticketed on the following flights redeemed with AA miles as a single first class award for 110k for travel on 29-30/7.

BCN-MAD IB (u) 29/7

MAD-DOH QR (u) 30/7

DOH-SYD QR (z) 30/7

Yesterday my partner rang to reroute via London so he could fly BA F to Doha on the following flights, keeping the original QR F flight as the final leg of the booking:

BCN – LGW BA (u) 29/7

LHR – DOH BA (z) 29/7

DOH – SYD QR (z) 30/7

The agent confirmed that all segments were confirmed so he paid the $150 change fee and the agent sent the new itinerary through to be ticketed “within 2 hours” (his words) reminding him that it was all booked under the original record locator.

12 hours later he logged into his AA account to find the booking had been cancelled and my 115k points had been refunded.

Of course when I checked award space there was none available.

After 3 calls to AA we got 3 different explanations:

1) AA failed to ticket within​ QR’s timeframe so it was automatically cancelled,

2) a system glitch caused the ticket to be cancelled

3) the final reason given by a supervisor was that due to the travel restrictions put on QR by other gulf nations QR was cancelling many of their award tickets issued by AA.

Can you offer any options for recourse? Should I ring QR?

Note that U is a business class award fare class on Oneworld airlines and Z is used for first class.

There is no point calling Qatar Airways. This failure to properly reticket the reservation is entirely AA’s making. American Airlines needs to fix it. Reasons 1 and 2 and both plausible. The number 3 given by a supervisor is not.

Reader needs to contact American Airlines again. AA’s Oneworld liaison needs to contact Qatar Airways to get the award space reopened and the ticket properly reissued.


It is maddening that one needs to babysit awards that are issued using American Airlines miles but that unfortunately is reality. These AAdvantage awards go through manual “quality control” that can take forever and partners may drop segments if the ticket numbers are not pushed to them in a timely manner.

Other airlines are able to issue award tickets the moment the agent presses the enter on his/her computer. Why this mess with American that leads to these issues down the road?

I hope that the reader is able to resolve this Qatar Airways award ticket with American Airlines. I have about 400K AAdvantage miles left. Used to be a great program before all the devaluations.

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  • SydneySwan

    I don’t like the reader’s chances. There are at least two cases reported on the Australian frequent flyer website of QR cancelling bookings when amending QF award bookings even if the QR part of the booking is unchanged. Take a look at this thread;

    It seems that QR have a much shorter window for reissuing tickets than other one world carriers. It also seems that once QR have cancelled your seats you never ever get them back.

    • The problem also is the AA’s “quality control” that can sit on these tickets for a very long time.

  • Losmano Gongalo

    You’ve got a great blog with great coverage but I may I respectfully suggest you spend some time working on your grammar. It significantly devalues your work.

    • Richard

      English may not be the first language for the author. The travel blogs are primarily in English but the contributors to the travel blogs are international.

    • There was unfortunate typo on the title that I fixed almost instantaneously. It did appear on the email that went out, however. Those are automated.

  • Richard

    The idea of changing an award ticket after ticketing is fraught with danger. I finally found award space on Cathay Pacific JFK ->BKK and the agent finally found award space on Cathay Pacific JFK->BKK and the agent asked me if I wanted to book now or book later. I immediately booked the flight as an award ticket on hold is fraught with danger. Unless I have no other options I do not change award tickets.

  • Flyboy

    Same situation here. I had a QR booking on AAward.. KUL-DOH-CAI. But changed it to Oct but before the travel restrictions took place. The booking was sitting in queue till now and the booking is gone. So now I need to get AA to refund my entire booking because we can’t book DOh-CAI anymore and I specifically wanted QR due to the F inventory on a J award between ME countries.

  • Losmano Gongalo

    Are you blocking comments now?

  • percysmith

    I had the exact same case with QR redemption in July 2015 . My routing was HKG-(CX)DOH-(QR)GRU and I lost my DOH-GRU 26 hours after attempted reissue. I was using Asia Miles not Aadvantage, and was trying to reissue some intra-South America LA segments beyond GRU (no changes to QR sector but still lost it).

    I went into meltdown and forced CX to contact QR liaison and restore the QR sector. QR refused.

    I’m flabbergasted your reader lost his bookings in 12 hours. I thought the window was 24 hours. I subsequently found a replacement QR redemption sector a month later and Asia Miles successfully reissued my ticket 3.5 hours after second reissue (the supervisor promised to personally monitor it).

    Although Asia Miles also gave me some bad handling at first, the fact this case happened on an Aadvantage member suggest’s it’s squarely QR’s practices at fault here. Doesn’t change my conclusion at the end of my case that QR should be renamed Alibaba Airways.